Some time ago, I tried to persuade my party to support X rather than Y, but I failed, so I then went around saying that Y was right and that we would do it and I would definitely oppose X. Now I’ve agreed to do X.
I’m sorry about all that Y business, but things have changed, you see. There’s another party that likes X too and I’ve made a deal with them, and I’m sure my party and the public will understand that I couldn’t possibly break my word on that. Plus, of course, I’ve thought all along that X was right.
However, I realise that my party still supports Y and opposes X, and so just to make them happy, I’m thinking about not voting for X, even though I’m the individual who’s personally in charge of doing it. But I’ll still publicly support it, and certainly won’t vote against it, and will encourage my party colleagues not to vote against it either, so that we guarantee X happens even while making an incoherent gesture in the vague hope that someone might think it leaves our hands clean.
Thank you and goodnight.
In fairness, this sort of thing goes on in politics all the time. But it’s happening rather more publicly than usual at the moment.
Update: Chris has a good post on this.