Tory MP Robert Halfon has apologized about as much as any member of parliament might (i.e. barely) for calling Sunderland fans "Hooligan Scumbags" this weekend.
On Saturday night Mr Halfon was having some tea in Covent Garden when he tweeted that his evening had been "ruined" by "football hooligan scumbags" -- aka the Sunderland fans in attendance celebrating on the eve of the Capital One Cup Final.
Fans had planned to attend Trafalgar Square, as is tradition, but plans were thwarted by some Russian pancake festival or something which had already been arranged, so not wanting to cancel anything outright, fans came together and decide that Covent Garden, with it's open spaces and string of bars, was a good idea.
Halfon however was not impressed that the vocal but not in anyway trouble-causing crowd interrupted his evening meal with friends.
As is the case with these sorts of people, he proceeded to call the actions of some people in the streets having a good natured sing-song as "scumbag hooligans". Something he now claims was an off-the-cuff remark which meant no offence.
Difficult to decipher that when he spent time later in the evening and the following morning agreeing with a minority of supporters and trying to back up his point.
Halfon said today of his actions;
I would like to stress that in no way did I single out any Sunderland fans or any other fans from any club, but I accept the way this has been interpreted.
I do regret most sincerely that my emotive tweet did not reflect the distinction between a minority who had smashed glass and the majority of decent fans who were just celebrating as any fan would do.
I am very sorry for the difficulties and offence this has caused.
So there you have it. I don't believe for one second that a few smashed glasses quantified 'hooliganism' nor that he was in any way 'misinterpreted'. It was a very clear message he sent.
The reality for anyone in attendance was nothing more than people enjoying themselves en-masse. There was a fair police presence who were over-seeing things and not one single arrest was made of these "scumbag hooligans" which Halfon claims were in attendance.
Equally all bins were used and a lot of fans carried around their empties from what I saw. Yes, there was smashed glass on the ground, but none of it intentional or done with any sort of violent action. Street cleaners were also in attendance and by the small hours of the morning you wouldn't have known anything had even happened.
No matter what poor excuse Halfon opts to come out with, he won't have won himself or his party any friends in the North East... if indeed they had any left in the first place.