Sir Michael Clarifies His Mistooks

In a piece mocking my old friend Sir Michael White earlier this week, Guido incorrectly suggested that at a fringe  meeting he mistook someone for Ray Lewis, when in fact he says he mistook them for Shaun Bailey.  On the Guardian politics blog this morning Sir Michael writes that Guido is a loyal and credulous Tory on the basis of this logo posted after the Cameron speech:

its-in-the-bag

Which is of course such an off message piss-take, rather than a credulous knicker-wetting show of enthusiasm, that it made CCHQ press officers wince.  Sir Michael should really count to ten before writing his 1000 word huffs…

Change You Can Believe In?

ready-for-changeReflecting on Cameron’s speech it strikes Guido that it had some good themes, particularly the attack on Big Government; “government got too big, promised too much and pretended that it had all the answers” and the little reported promise of a return to sound money policies.   The emphasis on the family unit as the essential foundation of society, the emphasis on lower taxes for the lower paid and the education reforms which are the most exciting manifesto promise from the Tories, all sound good.

What is a little unconvincing is the idea that in government the Tories will roll back Big Government, policy after policy is statist; the Tories are proposing 17 new quangos, threatening to put up taxes and devoid of privatisation proposals. When the leader of the LibDems is sounding more right-wing on taxes and implementing “savage spending cuts” than the leader of the Tories, you wonder who is really offering real change?

Prime example of the Tory credibility deficit: it was George Osborne who committed the Conservatives to match Labour’s spending plans until 2011, to howls of outrage from many of his supporters – Tim Montgomerie was very vocal that this was a big mistake, John Redwood was diplomatically unimpressed.  Now the Tories decry Gordon Brown’s past overspending and his fiscal recklessness in every speech. Do they think we have forgotten that it was they who supported those very same spending plans?  They were asked repeatedly at the time what would happen if there were no “proceeds of growth” to share and ducked the question.  The Cameroons have bought into the Finkelstein argument – which is entirely political – that it is expensive to be radical, that it is nigh on impossible to dramatically change the course of the ship of state, that  across the board tax cuts are politically and economically too difficult.  So much so that these aspirations are hardly voiced.  If you don’t aim for the stars you won’t even get off the ground in  government, the civil service and vested interests will thwart pragmatists every time.

Except in education policy the rhetoric of change is not matched by commitments to really radical change.  The rhetorical onslaught on Big Government is not matched by a commitment to shrink the proportion of GDP swallowed by the state.  In some parts of Britain, particularly in Scotland and Wales, the state sector is of Soviet proportions to the local economy, with public sector employment dwarfing the productive sector of the economy.  That has to change, Cameron half-quoted Martin Luther King; “When you are right, you cannot be too radical…” – so offer radical change.

Tories Ecstatically Optimistic

its-in-the-bag

The party faithful who have just heard a solid speech are not just happy, they are bopping around to the tune of “I’m a believer”. This party really believes it is on the way to victory.

+++ Cameron Speech Welcomes General Dannatt +++

Confirms he will go to the Lords.

+++ Cameron : “Steep Climb to the Summit, But It Will Be Worth It” +++

Last Clean Shirt

Managed hopefully not to look too hungover on the Daily Politics, shirt was last clean one.

Half the conference is leaving Manchester to beat the rush and watch the leaders speech on TV back home, the queues began an hour ago for the hall.  Guido will be staying back late to avoid the herd…

Attack Dog Chases Own Tale

Growling Chris Grayling was out of the loop doing his own speech to conference when it was leaked that General Dannatt was joining the Tories in the Lords.  He told the BBC’s Emily Maitlis

sad_grayling“I admire the work of General Dannatt and other senior generals who’ve done so much in Afghanistan and done so much to lead. I hope that this isn’t a political gimmick. We’ve seen too many appointments in this government of external people where it’s all been about Gordon Brown’s PR. General Dannatt’s an experienced figure and should rightly be working alongside government. I’m always suspicious of government’s motives when it does things like this.

Except it wasn’t the government making the appointment, it was to be Cameron in his speech tomorrow.  Ouch.

He has had to do another interview explaining that he doesn’t really think it is a PR gimmick now he knows he is going to be working for a future Tory government. We are at war with Eurasia, we have always been at war with Eurasia…

Sir Michael Multi-Tasking

Snippets from Bars

From the Fringe Guido heard a great story about Sir Michael White last night; Sir Michael was chairing a fringe event, and when it came to the Q&A section, he pointed towards the back of the hall, saying “You, the […]

+ READ MORE +

Why is the Mirror Wasting Money on Champagne?

With losses of £73 million last year can the Mirror group really afford to be buying champagne for Tories?  They just tried a stunt to send over a couple of glasses to George Osborne for breakfast.  They should perhaps […]

+ READ MORE +

Cameron’s Drink Problem

FIZZFraser Nelson says that “When David Cameron turned up to The Spectator’s party last night, I thought it only decent to ply him with a glass of fizz. After all, a magazine whose motto is “champagne for the brain” can […]

+ READ MORE +

What’s Hot on the Fringe Tomorrow

fringelist-buttonA little bit earlier than midnight, here is what is hot on the Tory fringe based on registrations with FringeList.com:

The Top 10:

  1. Iain Dale’s Blog Readers’ Party
  2. Tweet for Change/Bloggers meet up
  3. Trust in Politics: How to get

[…]

+ READ MORE +



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