- Experiment with aversion therapy. Attach electrodes to Basher’s ears, every time during rehearsals that he says “uhhm” or “errrr” flick the switch. His SAS training will mean he will be able to withstand the pain. This is still your only hope of getting him to stop stumbling and mumbling. Basher may think rhetoric is not important, but it seems a lack of rhetorical ability in modern politics only qualifies you for the office of deputy-PM. Aim for the top.
- Tell him to stop laughing nervously at his own jokes. They are not funny and it makes people think he’s a wrong ‘un. Its also ruining his macho image.
- Think about what questions will come up – clues: tax, cannabis, some quirky thing from the tabloids like Blunkett. If you prepare a jokey response, make sure he remembers (2)
- Although its not only Tories who will be watching they will be the only ones voting, don’t let him come over all Northern and chippy, its southern Tories who have all the votes. Kensington and Chelsea Conservative Association has more votes than the whole of the North (approx).
- The “Blair heir” thing – Blair wins elections and voters prefer him to Brown, they may also prefer his heir. Tricky admittedly, given even some Tories wish Blair was leading the Conservative party. Some of the older members get easily confused, they may mishear and think Cameron is Euan. Be careful.
- The age issue – don’t call Cameron “son”. Basher mustn’t try to make out he has cabinet experience, shadow cabinet doesn’t count. Consider dying his hair / getting him a better toupee.
- That Heineken analogy – nobody drinks Heineken anymore, its naff. We all smoke dope instead. Could he maybe be an Ipod candidate instead? Get one of the spin team to think of a more “with it” brand. Better still is he perhaps a Bacardi Breezer Geezer? He is the Vinny Jones of Tory politics and Vinny advertises Bacardi. Worth considering.
- Careful on the tax cuts thing – Chatshow Charlie buggered it up completely when he couldn’t do his sums on local tax. Its probable that Brown’s wheels will have fallen off and the economy will be declining in three years time. So how would the growth rule work without growth?
- Consider getting him to show his more human side – perhaps a novelty tie?
- Don’t blame the media, its your own fault.
Further investigation resulted in an explanation centred on Nick Wood, Basher’s newly recruited spin merchant. He was formerly IDS’ spin merchant when he was Tory leader and latterly has been spinning for IDS’ Centre for Social Justice run by Tim Montgomerie.
Tim, who used to run Conservative Christian Fellowship, had lent his old laptop from his CCF days to Nick Wood, on which Nick writes press releases for Basher. “Nick Wood – a friend who has just joined the DD campaign – has an old laptop of mine. End of mystery. I am definitely not working for the DD campaign!” Its a small world, eh?
But now Guido wants to know, what taxes would Jesus cut? Or would he render unto Gordon what was Gordon’s?
The Sheffield Socialist’s Belgravia and St Jame’s high-life puts a lot of financial pressure on him, so Gordon Brown’s crackdown on the use of trusts to avoid tax on share options presents an interesting challenge for Blunkett. It used to be said that money scandals brought down Labour politicians and sex scandals brought down Tories, in Blunkett you may get double the scandal.
Cameron is no wet, he occupies neo-con territory on foreign affairs, he is resolutely Euro-sceptical (forget that youthful heretical memo to Lamont about the ERM, that was in the past and was a private mattter). The right has noticed he is up for re-negotiating the relationship with the EU and shifting Tory MEPs out of the “Quisling” EPP. He would privatise more council houses and cut taxes lower than Thatcher.
This has slowly seeped deep into the consciousness of the right. Guido was at a wonk-fest lunch on Friday at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the 50 year-old think-tank that spawned a thousand free-market wonks. Chatting to a Tory special adviser, a right-wing anti-Euro campaigner and an IEA staff member, the feeling was Cameron may not be one of us, but he might win. These are the people who hated John Major, the ideological die-hards of popular capitalism are just fed up with being powerless, which is why they have gone Cameroonie. Never mind the policy substance, feel the power surge.
Compared to the Fox and Cameron sites it is still pretty lame. Its a gentler, lighter blue (like Cameron’s site), a little less boxy, some better pictures, but still the same limited content, apart from a reduced number of MPs listed as DD backers…
Still more MPs listed as backers than actually voted for him. So despite the thumbscrews, not everyone has apparently confessed.