Video of losing Tory candidate Maria Hutchings gives new meaning to 'no comment'

The tally of the Eastleigh by-election in Britain this week is in, and the results are ugly for David Cameron's Tories. The Conservatives got absolutely hammered, falling 14 percent in the polls as the Lib Dems miraculously held on to a seat they have controlled since 1994. The culprit behind the Tory slide is the UK Independence Party, an anti-EU, anti-austerity protest movement that gained 24 percent at the polls to notch a narrow second-place finish.

Understandably, Cameron's Tories are currently in crisis mode -- a position that was all too clear on the face of the losing Tory candidate in Eastleigh, Maria Hutchings, earlier today. In the bizarre video below, she is escorted from the election hall, wordlessly refusing to answer questions with a rigor-mortis smile that may very well become the enduring symbol of the crisis in British conservative politics.

Watch for yourself. It's almost too good to be true:

Hutchings has been compared by some observers to Sarah Palin -- a characterization that she dismisses. But the fact that the ruling party's candidate in a crucial by-election can be compared to the American politician Europeans love to hate speaks volumes about the state of the Conservative party. Recent polling shows Labour with a 12 percent lead over the Conservatives, and David Cameron's recent efforts to distance himself from a pro-European agenda appear to have paid scant dividends. Cameron has promised an in-or-out referendum on UK membership in the European Union by 2017 after extracting concessions from Brussels.

If the Eastleigh results are to judge, Brits aren't buying it.


Al Qaeda condemns Obama, Catholics for supporting gay couples

The latest issue of Inspire magazine, al Qaeda's English-language propaganda rag, hit the Interwebs last night, and it's just as quirky and brooding as previous issues.

Besides rebuking France for its military intervention in Mali or calling for the kill or capture of Florida pastor Terry Jones, the issue takes direct aim at Barack Obama and a "majority" of Catholics for supporting "same-sex relationships."

A darkened image of Obama features the somewhat erroneous quote from the president: "My stance is still evolving ... I think same sex couples should be able to get married." (Not like it matters, but those two remarks were not stated in the same interview.) Below the quote is an image of U.S. bishops next to the factoid, "LESS THAN A QUARTER OF U.S. CATHOLICS ATTEND MASS EVERY WEEK ... MAJORITY SUPPORT SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS."                  

Perhaps most disturbingly, the magazine features a side graphic that reads "JUST MARRIED" in blood-stained letters next to an image of former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and his husband Jim Ready. The image appears to be a Photoshopped version of a photograph taken by the New York Times at Frank's wedding in July of last year. Below the image, the script reads "Barney Franks, Gay Congressman, Symbol of the American Dream."

Apparently, the "Vanity Fair of terrorism" is adopting gay-baiting as its latest tactic.
Elsewhere in the latest issue, it accuses France of only caring about liberties for gays and fornicators.

"Does Bashar Al-Asad [sic] respect human rights which France claims to defend?" reads an essay by Abu Abdillah Almoravid. "Where is it from the massacres in Burma? Where is it from Palestine which is bombarded day and night? Which freedom and rights is it talking about? The freedom of living in peace with adequate resources? Or the freedom of adultery, homosexuality, interest and other impurities?"