Derek Draper, in a stinging rebuke to Martin Kettle who writes in today’s Guardian that David Cameron is a ‘progressive’. I know Tim is not happy with Derek, but this is precisely the sort of piece that LabourList should be publishing. I know columnists like Mr Kettle are paid to be all counter-intuitive and clever in their analysis but in the digital age, there is plenty of room for political activists to tell these guys when they’re talking nonsense.
Entries from January 2009 ↓
Not everyone seems unhappy about George Bush leaving the Oval Office.
I read articles like this and just wish we could move faster to adopt social networking principles in central government.
More than anything, you taught me to love jazz. Farewell Tony Hart.
No wonder they’ve moved Michael Spencer to one side. This story in the Independent about the Conservative Party Treasurer is utterly devastating for the Tories but doesn’t appear to have been picked up by the broadcasters.
Born under the Tories
The “Born under Labour” advertising campaign by the Tories gets a teasing on YouTube
Charlie Whelan is writing for Labour List. I’m going to sign up.
How does a political party with hardly any advertising budget – Labour, contend with a political party that has a very large amount of money for advertising – Conservatives?
They can compliment the array of propaganda mash-ups like the one above with their own, less hard hitting but still witty critique of
Conservative economic policy the Conservative policy vacuum.
NB The re-use deal with Beau Bo B’or is to link to the site. Strikes me as reasonable and I gladly do so.
Michael Crick has received a leaked document from the Tory high command which reveals a secret Conservative candidates “watch list”. Here’s what he says in full:
The Conservative Party high command is so worried about some of David Cameron’s Parliamentary candidates that they’ve started holding meetings every two weeks to monitor what they call a “watch-list” of those “have the potential to embarrass the Party”.
This is revealed in the minutes – leaked to Newsnight (download them here (pdf)) – of a meeting of senior national officials – the party’s deputy chairmen and vice chairmen – held on 28 October last year.
The minutes say:
“Care needs to be taken over the candidates that have the potential to embarrass the Party – there will now be a fortnightly meeting to assess the watch-list of candidates, and the reasons they are on the list needs to be taken into consideration.”
And the document shows that a Conservative Central Office official has even been appointed to keep a close eye on what these potential trouble-makers get up to:
“The public output e.g. blogs, websites, press releases of candidates will [sic] now to be monitored by a new member of the CRD team,” the minutes read. “Let JM or Stephen Gilbert know if there are any problems with candidates – de-selection should be the last option.” [JM is probably John Maples MP, the Deputy Chairman in charge of candidates.]
The minutes make it clear, however, that Central Office thinks that local associations are often a bigger problem than individual candidates.
“But there is nothing to deal with the awkward associations – senior volunteers to help?”
And the party is taking measures to keep their potential candidates on message, even before they have been elected, according to the leaked report – by arranging for candidates to meet the Chief Whip at Westminster, Patrick McLoughlin:
“The Chief [Whip] is keen to meet with the candidates so they can get used to being line-managed by the Whips’ Office.”
Line managed? An interesting phrase.
The minutes show that despite David Cameron’s slogan of ‘Power to the People’ – reiterated in spirit in his economy speech this week – when it comes to his own party organisation he is more centralist than ever, and that Central Office doesn’t fully trust its candidates or local associations. In monitoring candidates and their output so closely, the Conservatives have clearly adopted many of the techniques honed by Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair for New Labour in the 1990s. These were designed to ensure that the new Labour MPs elected in 1997 were less troublesome than many of their predecessors.
What will also concern many candidates and grassroots activists is the suggestion in the minutes that extra resources may have to be pumped into constituencies which have candidates who are female or come from ethnic minorities. This seems designed to save the party from the potential that such seats might be lost in disproportionate numbers.
“Of 250 candidates, 70 are women and 10 are of an ethnic minorities [sic] – something extra needs to be done to ensure that these ones are not lost.”
In response to a questions from Newsnight, a Conservative Party spokesman refused to identify the candidates with “the potential to embarrass the party”.
But he said: “It is quite standard for political parties to monitor their candidates – it would be extraordinary if they did not.”
Iain doing his usual to Labour (labour spin etc) but pitching in heavily for David Davis AND Ken Clarke in David Cameron’s juddering reshuffle. I wonder what Dominic Grieve thinks of that?
There is no doubt in my mind that ConservativeHome reflects Conservative Party grass roots. And they want David Davis back. Let us see whether Iain’s campaign is a success.
JP: Why won’t David Cameron let you make these announcements publicly?
GO: Well I…was there today, I’ve been involved in all these things…
JP: Yeah, you were listening, he was speaking?
GO: Well he is the leader of my party.
JP: OK. There’s a problem isn’t there? Something has happened since you had your unfortunate difficulties on a yacht and since then you have made one public speech about the economy, which is the role of the shadow chancellor, and he’s made nine?
GO: Well first of all I just completely reject, I don’t know where you’ve got that from.
JP: By totting up the number of speeches that have been made.
GO: Jeremy everyday, indeed today if you open the London Evening Standard there is an article by me which actually came out before David Cameron gave his speech, I was on the World At One, I have just done before doing this a whole stream of interviews on not only the BBC but believe it or not some other news organisations…
JP: You’re like the man who walks behind the horse with the bucket?
JP: All these media interviews afterwards, the actual announcement of policy is made by the party leader. Why not by the shadow chancellor?
GO: Well I have to say this is the most meaningless line of questioning I have ever heard from you. The shadow chancellor and the party leader in this party, the Conservative Party, unlike what we saw with the Labour opposition ten years ago work incredibly closely together.
JP: George Osborne thank you.
Polly Toynbee, November 2006: If Cameron can climb on my caravan, anything is possible
Polly Toynbee, January 2009: It might sound appealing, but this is populist poison