Writing in The Times Mary Ann Sieghart sheds some light on matters and hits the nail on the head for the modernisers. Who to do it, not what to do, is their problem.
My new source was correct apparently about a meeting of the modernisers on Monday. Sieghart says Maude, Dorrel and Andrew Tyrie discussed who they should support. She says they opted for Andrew Lansley. Dorrell told Alan Duncan and Damian Green their views. If Sieghart is correct it seems very unsporting that Francis Maude, party chairman, is getting involved in intra-factional infighting. Her judgement however has to be questioned since she backs Willets.
Guido has a simple suggestion, it will bring increased involvement in the party, and it would emulate the most successful right-of-centre political party in the world, the Republicans. Hold primaries, let the membership choose two leadership candidates who would be voted on by their MP colleagues. In the twenty-first century, democratic parties require democratic procedures, any attempt to edge out the membership’s primary role is ridiculous. If you want to be leader, communicate your message around the country to party members at hustings, get their support, don’t get yourself foisted on the membership by the parliamentary party.
Yes, IDS was a disaster chosen by members, but Major was chosen by MPs. You don’t want a leader in this day and age who is not trusted by the party membership. Unless you are Tony Blair of course.
A name mocked by the CBI as “old-fashioned corporatism” (the CBI attacking corporatism, that is the kettle calling), the unions weren’t keen on the productivity bit either.
Alan Johnson declaimed all responsibility for the idea in the FT “I don’t know. It certainly wasn’t mine.” So who had the dippy idea of the DPEI? Was it Hewitt? Leaks to the usual places (see the box on the right).
For those of you who miss the election campaign, the Beeb has some of the best moments on its website, the Reg Keys speech in Sedgefield, Howard’s resignation, Galloway v Paxman, Tony Blair on Question Time, and sleepless Kennedy unable to explain LibDem policy.
Some other juicy bits ‘n pieces as well, enjoy.
Letwin has confirmed he is out, “I am not going to contest this time. I think one has to know one’s limits.” Quite.
UPDATE: Tebbit to ITV on Rifkind “I don’t think a Scottish lawyer would win an enormous amount of seats in England. We’ve forgotten that we have a majority of votes in England – we’ve polled more votes in England than Labour. Now we have got a problem, but it is not one which I think the Scottish lawyer would be the natural to resolve.”
Some real modernisers have been writing in the anti-Tory press about what they think the Tories need to be doing. John Bercow has been putting himself about telling the Indy and anyone else who will listen what needs to be done (he won’t run, but might be a key lieutenant). Tim Yeo said similar things in the Guardian, Alan Duncan got profiled in the Indy, Malcolm Rifkind in the Observer signaled he wants to go back to watered down socialism. All very well, but do Tories read those papers? Chaps, who elects the next Tory leader?
Guido thinks it amusing, and a sign of shrewder judgement, that only David Davis has thought to write in the Torygraph for the benefit of his potential constituency. Maude and Stephen Dorrel, neither of whom are running, are the only others to do so. Of everything so far, John O’Sullivan talked the most sense in the FT about what is going on.
Can it be true that he still lives with his mum?
Nick its time to leave home, you are 30.
UPDATE: Could someone clarify this story about our hero declaring in the Oxford Union bar that he wanted to be known as “Shezza”?
Guido plans to post daily but not five-times-a-day as before. Those of you who don’t subscribe to the syndicated feed are recommended to do so – it saves checking the blog. Guido uses Bloglines to monitor all the blogs he reads, it saves clicking from site-to-site amongst favourites, only to find them not updated and valuable click time wasted. Click on the little [SUB-BLOGLINES] subscription button in the right-hand column half way down and follow the instructions – it makes life easier.
Apparently Guido won the Guardian’s Political Commentary Blog of the Year Award – for what its worth. My view of the Guardian is that they have been trying to feed vampirically off the buzz and energy of the Blogosphere for whatever edgy cachet it has, to “get down with the blogs”. Despite loathing its public-sector politics, Guido admits it is the most web-savvy serious paper, but whilst many of my fellow bloggers are seduced by the hope of a mention on the Guardian’s website and the traffic it brings, personally I’m not really impressed by the Dead-Tree-Press hacks who attempt to patronise bloggers. Unlike bloggers, journalists may have a sub-editor, but not a proper job. Admittedly bloggers failed during the election to claim any scalps, unlike in the US where they got Dan Rather and helped destroy Kerry. Hopefully Guido will do better in the next parliament…
Michael Ancram goes to defence, ‘Two-Brains’ Willetts, gets to shadow the new government department of productivity, energy and industry (the most unlikely name for a department of the civil service). Alan Duncan goes to transport.
Francis Maude becomes party chairman – a position that will be handy for the modernisers, given that Francis is the moderniser par excellence. It will be interesting to see if C-Change (the provisional wing of Nicholas Boles’ Policy Exchange think tank) lines up differently to CWF in the leadership battle for the hearts and minds of the grassroots. Maude was involved with the establishment of Policy Exchange which has a Portillista agenda, and was not a million miles away from the wielders of the knives that were stuck in IDS’ back. CWF has a more Thatcherite / libertarian agenda. If ‘policy not personality’ is important, these pressure groups will be important. Guido suspects it will superficially be about policy and message, but really about personality and style.
Howard has adroitly given a number of front-runners a chance to shine. Big money went on the absent Hague today at the bookies – does somebody know something? David Davis is favourite, followed in order by Hague(?), David Cameron, Fox, Rifkind, Lansley, Osborne, Yeo, Letwin (rumoured in the City to be off back to Rothschilds). Teasy May, Ken Clarke, Duncan, Willets, Redwood, Damian Green, Ancram and Boris Johnson make up the rear.
Loaded now, he gave another £500,000 donation to New Labour, and got made a life peer by Mr Blair six weeks later. He sold his company two years later, trousered £100 million and joins the government today. Hey, that’s politics with integrity…
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Nigel Farage hits the nail on the head:
“This olive oil ban was virgin on the ridiculous.”
Ned Flanders – Clegg
Lisa Simpson – Natalie Bennett
Milhouse – Hilary Benn
Martin Prince – Andy Burnham
Edna Krabappel – Luciana Berger
Crazy Cat Lady – Glenda jackson
Comic book guy – John Prescott
Carl – Chucka
Lenny – Philip Hammond
Willie – Eric joyce
Poochie – Gordon Brown
Reverend Lovejoy – Tony Blair