June 13th, 2013

Tory Media Bitch Fight: Peter Oborne v Lord Ashcroft Round II

After round one last year, sometime Cameron loyalist Peter Oborne accuses mischief-making Lord Ashcroft of treachery in an uncharacteristically forthright piece in the Telegraph. Citing twitter, polling and his alleged loathing of Lynton Crosby, Oborne calls for Dave to withdraw the whip:

“This brings me onto the subject of Lord Ashcroft. In recent weeks, the Conservative peer … has been engaged in an open, menacing and extremely public campaign against David Cameron… 

What we can all agree on is that there is something strange about Lord Ashcroft’s conduct. He is, after all, a peer of the realm, a very substantial businessman, and a high-ranking Conservative figure. Yet he is stalking the Prime Minister in a rather cranky way… So here is a word of well-meant advice for Lord Ashcroft: it’s time to quit the Tory party. You are no longer happy in it, and it has never felt entirely comfortable with you. The time when rich men, especially those with a record of (legally) avoiding British tax, could buy a political party has gone. If you want to make persistent, childish and personal criticisms of a Conservative prime minister, it is much better that they should be made from the perspective of a private citizen. And here is a word of advice for the Prime Minister. If Lord Ashcroft carries on using this treacherous and disloyal language, stop pretending not to notice. Strip him of the Conservative whip, kick him out of the party, and set an example.”

Leading to this rebuttal from Ashcroft:

“First, my tweets are occasionally mischievous, and I am sorry if some of them have not been to Peter’s taste. But he overstates their “menace”… if I sometimes link to other articles that make unhappy reading for Downing Street – well, I’m not a Tory press officer. Second, Peter makes the excellent point that Twitter is not the ideal medium for complex or thoughtful arguments.

Quite so – which is why I write at greater length elsewhere, especially on ConHome and my own research and commentary site… I have used my more independent position to conduct political research on a scale which to the best of my knowledge has not been seen before in this country. The results are published for all to read alongside my comment. No doubt some of this is uncomfortable for the Tories but I have often pointed out that it shows Cameron to be the party’s biggest asset – hardly the “vicious and damaging public criticism” that Peter accuses me of indulging in… Overall, my political commentary amounts to a prolonged reminder that the winning party will be the one that pays attention to the voters and their priorities. I hope that party will be the Conservative Party – but I think I’m more use to it as a truth-teller than a cheerleader.”

Seconds out…

Paul Goodman, ConservativeHome editor, says calling the Ashcroft owned-website a “right-wing and often anti-Cameron website” is as fair as calling Peter Oborne a “right-wing and often anti-Cameron journalist”.  There are other similarities; The Telegraph and The Spectator are owned by secretive Tory-leaning offshore billionaires the Barclay brothers. Political publishers DODS, ConservativeHome, PoliticsHome, Total Politics Magazine, The House Magazine, Holyrood Magazine, Public Affairs News, bookseller Biteback Publishing plus a few other specialist political publications and monitoring companies are controlled by the formerly offshore Tory-leaning billionaire Lord Ashcroft. It is little known that Ashcroft was rebuffed by the Barclays when he expressed an interest in buying The Spectator…


  1. 1

    If I had to choose, I would side with Ashcroft.

  2. 2
    Hang The Bostards says:

    Ashcroft 1 Oborne 0

  3. 3
    Ed Dafty, LimpDim MP, Climate Change Chieftain says:

    It’s a good day to bury bad news, isn’t it ?

  4. 4
    Ed Balls says:

    If you’re asking is London the capital of Britain, no, I don’t think there’s any evidence for that.

  5. 5
    Maurice Minor says:

    Another Lib Dem How surprising…

  6. 6
    V1le Labour trashed my Country says:

    Agreed. I’m felling really enriched and joyful in my super diverse multicultural UK shithouse.

  7. 7
    nellnewman says:

    Ashcroft is right – leaders need folks who will tell them the truth, however uncomfortable, not just given them flattery. As such he’s a valuable asset.

    gordon was surrounded by syncophants and as such became the metaphorical ‘emporer with no clothes’. And look what became of him.

    No if cameron is to have even a smidgen of a chance of winning in 2015 he needs people like ashcroft.

  8. 8
    Ah! Monika says:

    NB ” seconds out ”

    Knock-down in the first round

  9. 9
    Desperate Dan says:

    If I has to choose I’d side with Oborne. Mongomerie and Ashcroft have been bitching about Cameron ad nauseam since the day after the General election.

  10. 10
    Owen Jones still in short pants says:

    I see this racist attack is not being reported in any media, national, regional or local.

    Can you guess why this racist attack is going unreported?


  11. 11
    Jabba Le Chat says:

    I suspect what primarily rankles with Oborne is that Ashcroft can get his message directly out to the world, without having to talk to the likes of Oborne, or any other member of the dead tree press, as a haloed intermediary…

  12. 12
    albacore says:

    Batman and Robin, Cameron and Owen Jones
    Real dark crusaders to the marrow of their bones
    This duplicitous duo don’t need masks and capes
    With bare faces hung out they can con the pleb apes

  13. 13
    Anonymous says:

    Home rule for London. Send Parliament and the Civil Service to Birmingham and turn Westminster and Whitehall into accommodation for business visitors and tourists.

  14. 14
    Dead in the Water Dave says:

    I think in would be nicer if the pink deckchairs were alternated with the blue ones instead of being in a separate row. Where’s the band got to, by the way?

  15. 15
    Ah! Monika says:

    Ah! Monika says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    June 13, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Just received the Duresta Sofa from Sal ly.

    Covered with numerous suspicious st ains, not mentioned in the description.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Oy Vey,Oy Vey,Oy Vey says:

    Owen Jones,chief economist at The World Bank said in a report that the global economy will expand 2.2 percent this year, less than a January forecast for 2.4 percent growth and slower than last year’s 2.3 percent. It lowered its projection for developing economies and said the euro area’s gross domestic product will fall 0.6 percent.

  18. 18
    Stating the Obvious says:

    Forget it. Camoron has got absolutely no chance of winning a majority in 2015. The spendthrift gay luvving incompetent is going to get chucked out.

  19. 19
    Incapable Vince, deputy Chief Cockroach says:

    Mark Oaten, Mike Handycock, Lard Rennard: the list continues to grow…

  20. 20
    Anonymous says:

    Lets face it -with friends like oborne cameron can’t afford too many enemies.

  21. 21
    Justice is blind says:

    Youthful hi-jinks.

  22. 22
    bin over-laden says:

    tim yeo for RBS ceo?

  23. 23
    The EU has failed says:

    Me too. The last thing the Tories need are more ‘yes’ men. When the ship is sinking you want someone to take you to a lifeboat not back to your cabin because the captain said the ship is fine.

  24. 24
    The EU has failed says:

    Haven’t we all?

  25. 25
    Captain Calamity Cameron says:

    The Tory party is unsinkable, let the band play on and can someone rearrange the deck chairs.

  26. 26
    Anonymous says:

    If i had to choose i would side with Oborne, i really hate the disloyalty of the Conservatives, types who even have a peerage (in this case) but who would slag off their leader for very little benefit. You would never hear the Labour party behave like this, and God knows they have the 2 EDs !

  27. 27
    Anonymous says:

    Values. That was sickening for multiple reasons.

  28. 28
    Anonymous says:

    No we havent, actually. Considering Dave has Clegg to contend with he is doing *loody well.

  29. 29
    Owen Jones still in short pants says:

    Fwck me, 13 years in the wilderness, you’d think that they’d be desperate to hold on to power and have another term. And how could you not win a majority against Brown.

    Hold on, I know the answer to that one. It’s because you’re a lying mendacious two faced hypocritical twat that doesn’t listen to or care about your voters.

  30. 30
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Right these two pupils insist on fighting, so I suggest that they retire to the school gym, assemble the boxing ring, strip off get into the ring and have a bare knuckle fight, with all the school watching, the rounds to be decided on the old rules, a round only ends when an opponent is knocked to the ground, the fight only ends when one of them is knocked out, no biting or gouging allowed, run along there, Fawkes you will act as referee. Come on we are all waiting!

  31. 31
    @cllrwarren says:

    I’m with Ashcroft on this one without a doubt.

  32. 32

    You seem to be on your own so far but I respect your different choice. Inasmuch as Cameron has been heir to Blair, well after the arse fell off Blair’s due date, then Ashcroft is right to criticise Cameron.

    My feelings about Oborne are very mixed. Sometimes he pens stuff where I say Yeah! Spot on! Other times, it as if he has come from another planet. So I see him as grossly inconsistent.

    He might just think likewise about me!

  33. 33
    Anonymous says:

    Actually David Cameron has every chance of winning a majority in 2015! the wheels are coming off Nigels lot, and God help them, Labour still have Milliband.I mean its no contest ! (by the way, your spelling is fecking awful)

  34. 34
    Anonymous says:

    Wow ! thats an original one.

  35. 35

    Are you claiming that it is not right to slag of the leader even if such leader is demonstrably wrong?

    If so, then I disagree. The age of deference is long over.

  36. 36
    Anonymous says:

    So you finally show your true colours, I have been waiting a while, now I know why you are very very anti-UKIP.

  37. 37
    anon says:

    Is this Ed Balls showing us how to do it on holiday

  38. 38
    Owen Jones still in short pants says:

    Cameron is toast, there is no discussion to be had.

  39. 39
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Cameron like it or not is the best of the lot of them as he has the most support and probably most acceptability to Cons and non Cons, just look at what went before him, his biggest negative is that he has so many of his public school, Oxbridge, not had a real job, chums in his cabinet (this has been mentioned by Geedo ad nauseam)

  40. 40
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    SC you mean a sort of loose canon?

  41. 41
    RED ED - SON OF BROWN says:

    Yeth. Can you thee me in the background ?

  42. 42
    Anonymous says:

    The irony is your actually right this time, there is very little evidence London is anything to do with Britain.

  43. 43
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Monica this is a bare knuckle fight, a man knocked down in the round ends the round, the fight is not over until one of the opponents is knocked out and senseless

  44. 44
    Anonymous says:

    Ha ha more anti-UKIP drivel all of which is pinned on a single poll that doesn’t prompt UKIP carried out by the Guardian. #desperate.

  45. 45
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    They are in all parties, not just the LimpingDems, it seems to be one of the qualifications for being a politico, sexual peccadillos used to be the Cons speciality but has apparently been caught by the other parties.

  46. 46
    Enough is enough says:

    CaMoron is a joke and one of the worst leaders ever.

    What has emerged is the consensus politics where LibLabCon are 3 cheeks of the same arse, but when 80% of laws are influenced by the EU, and all the pro EU party’s can argue about is the rump 20%…. Is that any surprise..

    CaMoron has to go, I only hope so after the election as is he UKIPs best recruiting sergeant, thereafter a wholesale clean out of the failing Tory party is urgently required.

  47. 47
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    I agree move parliament away from London northwards, I have no objection there as long it is not in my backyard, build a 10 metre wall around London the M25 would do, charge tolls for imports and exports in and out of London, great.

  48. 48
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    The big trouble is that because the governments and national press in the past 40 odd years have been so London centric, they think because London is doing well it applies to the rest of the country.

  49. 49
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Yup, a black square

  50. 50
    Anonymous says:

    Facts rarely are.

  51. 51
    Dave, the Tories' biggest asset says:


  52. 52
    Bleeding Obvious says:

    If Ashcroft hadn’t dropped Cameron in the shit by lying about his intentions to “come onshore”, we would have had a Conservative majority, and no Liberals to mess up the Government.

  53. 53
    fearless Frank says:

    Two weirdos in a bitch fight: who cares? Oborne is a third rate scion of a second tier public school ( Sherborne) who would have made a decent deputy commissioner in an obscure African colony when the Empire was up and running and still think the world should be ruled by upstanding chaps like him. He’s totally inconsistant in his politics one week Cameron is a baddie, next he’s a saint; one day he’s writing a pamphlet saying the EU is a bad idea; the next he’s praising it to the skies. An eejit if there ever was one.

    Ashtray made his original fortune out of funeral parlours and his much vaunted ‘patriotism’ consists of tax dodging in Belize and buying up VCs because he thinks it makes him look good. Seems to think being a rich man gives him the right to dictate politics. Was a moderniser when that looked good, has become a camoron critic now that that’s all the mode.

    Together they are a fair representation of the headless chicken state that Dave and his pals have reduced the once proud Tory party too. Once they realise that they’ve been decapitated, they’ll all fall down.

    We’d be better off without the pair of them. Vote UKIP for a full nosebag.

  54. 54
    graham smith says:

    When is Dave initiating his spadger cull?

  55. 55
    Stating the Obvious says:

    You obviously believe in fairies.

  56. 56
    Raptor says:

    As a commentator, Peter Oborne is all over the place. He is one of those journalists who likes to seem provocative, and in fact is merely irritating. Simon Jenkins is another such. Their by-lines at the top of a column invariably mean one can safely skip the rest of it.

    Apparently he has also published a book claiming that Iran has the right to nuclear enrichment, and that the West is wrong to be opposed.

    One might be tempted to employ the well-worn term “useful idiot”, but the correct translation of Lenin’s original phrase is “servile idiot”. A more apt description, in this case.

  57. 57
  58. 58
    John Tandy says:

    No contest Lord Ashcroft for me….

  59. 59
    The Puppet Master says:

    I like Lord Ashcroft, he see’s the bigger picture.

  60. 60
    Lord Arsecroft says:

    Lord Arsecroft is a shit stirrer.

  61. 61
    Lord Arsehole says:

    He is certainly doing more harm than good with his silly, immature, tactics. They are not the signs of a well balanced, mature gentleman.

  62. 62

    Handbags at 50 paces. Innit?

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Jimmy says:

    Shoes undropped. If his Lordship’s access is diminished, there may be a reason for that. I always held Michael Howard in high regard. Fortunately for us the voters never warmed to him. Howard wouldn’t touch him with a bargepole. He was no fool.

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