The defence secretary Michael Fallon has been ordered by Number 10 to try harder in future to cover up his disdain for foreigners, following an unprovoked outburst.
Speaking on the Prime Minister’s EU wishlist, he told Sky News on Sunday: “The Germans haven’t seen our proposals yet and we haven’t seen our proposals yet, and that’s still being worked on at the moment to see what we can do to prevent whole towns and communities being swamped by huge numbers of migrants.”
“In some areas of the UK, down the east coast, towns do feel under siege, [with] large numbers of migrant workers and people claiming benefits, and it’s quite right we look at that,” he said.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: “There is a problem with the script we gave him. It is very unfortunate that Michael chose to use those words, and not some other words. If he had used different words to describe how frightened he is of people who were born in different parts of the world, then it may not have made him, and by extension us, look as bad as we look right now.”
He added: “Sure, some people have reacted negatively to what he said, but other people have reacted positively, and we want those other people to vote for us again because they used to vote for us but they are now voting for another party that are saying those kinds of things instead of us.”
Meanwhile, an aide close to the Conservative MP said: “No. Of course Michael did not mean what he said. Let me try to explain this to you.”
“When Michael said ‘swamped’, he did not mean to say immigrants were literally forming small, dark swamp-like dwellings in towns and communities. Don’t be silly. He used the wholly negative connotations to which with the term ‘swamp’ alludes – like filth, disease, and ogres – to illustrate the discomfort he experiences when he happens upon the migrants he so readily associated with the term.”
“Right. I need to clear the other thing up. When Michael said ‘under seige’, he did not mean to say that foreigners were literally arriving in Britian with battering rams, seige towers, and catapults. No. That would be absurd. To use ‘under seige’ would be to attach warfare-like imagery, such as pillaging and conquest, with the aforementioned foreigners, thus introducing a sense of threat.”
“The use of ‘seige’ as opposed to more modern lexicon like ‘trenches’ serves to refer to an ancient, crude, relatively uncivilised method of warefare, further enhacing this previously established sense of threat gleamed from the mere mentioning of those people.”
“Okay I see your point. Let me have a chat with the minister, and I’ll get back to you.”