Tories in ‘Economic Plan’ Row With Campaigners

The Tories landed a cool £8,345,687 in donations last quarter, but a row has broken over whether the miserly skinflints at CCHQ are failing to pay their reams of election “volunteers”. The well respected Graduate Fog campaign site highlight how Tory HQ are advertising for young turks to “assist with different aspects of the party’s work”, an unfortunate choice of words since “work” falls under Minimum Wage Law.

Tory sources insist these are genuine volunteers mainly doing telephone canvassing – and there is of course a distinction between that an real work – but why then do they need “excellent written communication skills” and “knowledge of the Microsoft Office Suite”? “Successful candidates” are only offered “lunch and reasonable travel expenses”.

Westminster North Tories meanwhile are looking for “campaign assistants” to help with “administration, data entry, analysis and day to day running of a busy office”. How much will they be paid for what certainly sounds like real work? “Travel expenses within London” is all that is on offer. Clearly the party is clued up on the internal memo from last year explaining how to word job adverts to get away with not paying interns.

As Graduate Fog put it:

“Are interns at the Conservative Campaign Headquarters really free to saunter in and out as they wish? Having spoken to interns on previous political campaigns, that seems unlikely. They all say they worked like dogs.”

Seems there is no long term economic plan for these hardworking people…

Tories Admit New Voter Software is Busted

A leaked email has revealed the Tory field data operation is in dire straights just 98 days from polling day. With half of their associations dumping the dire Merlin voter data software for a new voter contact system, CCHQ have now been forced to admit that the upgrade is busted too. In the busiest donation period of the entire election cycle, party bosses have admitted that all donations of over £500 have to be declared manually to CCHQ with a spreadsheet rather than simply entered in the software – as promised. Which defeats the point of the expensive change over…

To: ALL CONSTITUENCY OFFICES, CHAIRMAN, DEPUTY CHAIRMAN MEMBERSHIP AND FINANCE
Cc: FIELD STAFF

As you know, the Party is replacing the MERLIN software with a new membership and campaigning system called VoteSource. Over 350 associations have already decided to move to VoteSource, and their MERLIN has not been updated with the new registers of electors that were published on 1 December in England and Wales*. For these users VoteSource must now be used for all election campaigning. Donors giving over £500 to the Association, or over £50 directly to a candidate, must be checked on VoteSource, but see below for how to report.

A number of associations have decided to remain on MERLIN. For these seats, donors giving over £500 to the Association, or over £50 directly to a candidate, must be checked on MERLIN, but only after you have explicitly been told by the Helpdesk that your MERLIN is being rolled over to the new register. If in doubt about your MERLIN’s status, please email XXXXXX@conservatives.com, or to check donors email their name and address to XXXXXX@conservatives.com

Donation reporting functionality will be added to VoteSource soon. Until then, donations over £500 must be recorded on the attached spreadsheet. We will, as usual, send a spreadsheet at the end of the quarter** showing any donations that reach us through MERLIN, but otherwise this sheet should be your main reporting form. For the password, please call us on 020 7x XXX XXX

Remember that donations for January to March will need to be reported by 10 April, ie in the middle of the peak of campaigning, and so we strongly recommend that you update this sheet as and when you receive donations in order to avoid extra stress in April. Donations that are being made directly to a candidate or the election agent account are subject to the £50 threshold for checks, and are listed on the return of election expenses INSTEAD of reporting to us.

The Helpdesk will announce when donation functionality is available in VoteSource, but until then if you have any donation or reporting queries please do not hesitate to contact us: XXXXXXX@conservatives.com, 020 7XXX XXXX

* In Scotland, registers are not due to be updated until 10 March.

** Donations checked between 1 January and 30 March will be emailed to the association office on 11 April.

There are a lot of rather irate agents out there, facing a load more hassle.

GUY NEWS SPECIAL: Free Amjad Bashir Protest Outside CCHQ

Amjad Bashir has not been seen since he was kidnapped by the Tory party. Amjad’s captors have released a hostage photo of him alongside their leader, but they are not allowing him any contact with the outside world. Protesters outside the captors’ HQ have been threatened by Tory party security. Bring back our Bashir…

100 Days to Go and Tories STILL have 96 Candidates to Select

Research shows that with 100 days to go, the Tories are still short a whopping 97 candidates. Almost a sixth of all seats…

Even if you subtract Northern Ireland, there are still 79 candidate-less seats with just a couple of months to go.

Number crunching by Peter Botting and Anthony Gearing can be found here.

There are some surprisingly marginal seats still looking for Tory representation…

UPDATE: Hold the front page… Guido is informed it’s actually 95 seats. CCHQ’s very own top spinner Richard Holden was recently selected in Preston…

UPDATE II: 5 unwinnable Scottish seats have also selected. Panic over…

UPDATE III: CCHQ claim it is only 40 odd seats that have no candidate. They have yet to send over the numbers and they seem to be missing from their own Conservatives.com website…

Tories Deny Photoshopping Miliband to Make Him Look Fat

Tory sources deny any manipulation of Ed’s face to make him look fatter on their new poster.

We report, you decide…

UPDATE:

This is the source image, via Getty:

UPDATE II:

The Tory chairman tells Iain Dale:

“This is clearly a mocked up poster and so clearly it’s a bit of Photoshop work.”

Tory Candidate Fury Mounting at “Slack” CCHQ

Given that four months out the Tories still have 81 candidates to select in England, plus all of Northern Ireland still to do, you might have thought it would be all hands t’mill over at the CCHQ candidates department. Apparently not.

According to the ‘out of office’ Gareth Fox – Head of Candidate Selection – it’s still holiday season:

“Thank you for your email, I am currently on leave until 12th January and I will respond when I return.”

Tory sources say everything is tickety boo and Fox is ‘around’ – a fact disputed by angry potential PPCs unable to get an answer to calls and emails. “This man is about as popular as herpes,” writes one co-conspiratorial candidate to Guido…

Exclusive: Tories Block Newmark Comeback

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, the selection process in Braintree to replace disgraced dick pic king Brooks Newmark has been cancelled amid speculation he is planning the unlikeliest of comebacks. Brooks was spotted holding secret talks with his local association after concerns about the quality of the other candidates. Despite him promising post-parliament penance working for charity, he saw his chance. Tory sources confirm from Westminster that Brooks had been “wavering”, however, Guido understands any attempt by him to stand again has been blocked by high command: “It’s not going to happen”. Just as Guido was preparing to stand as the Pyjama Party candidate…

CCHQ Milking Issue of Farage’s Breastfeeding Comments

CCHQ were quick to stoke the breastfeeding story by making it look like Farage had boobed again:

milking the issue

Many a slip twixt, errr, D-cup and lip…

UPDATE:

Nigel Farage took to Twitter to rebut his misrepresentation

Is this another case of media bias or Nigel commenting where angels fear to tread? The aroma, if not the precise truth of the matter, will be once again “blokey UKIP are living in the past with old fashioned values”.

UPDATE II: Nadine Dorries makes a non-partisan point:

UPDATE III: One tweet perfectly conflates the two running UKIP stories; breastfeeding and Trumpton UKIP:

No. 10 Accidentally Reveal CCHQ Writing Gov Top Lines

View the original email

Not a great start for the new No. 10 Head of News Nicola Hudson. In her first week in the job she has just sent this morning’s government toplines for the day out to all of […]

+ READ MORE +

CCHQ Throwing Kitchen Sink at Reckless

reckless-kent

This is the online version of the main local paper covering Rochester and Strood, and it is running paid for American style anti-Reckless attack ad videos. Whether this is Jim Messina’s influence or just the inevitable next step in digital […]

+ READ MORE +

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Matthew?

probelm-matthew-parris

Even if they privately agree with him CCHQ strategists don’t appreciate the media interventions by Matthew Parris. Lynton Crosby has decreed that UKIP is to be downplayed and all but ignored insomuch as that is possible. The Clacton bullet is […]

+ READ MORE +

Tories Implementing iDemocracy in Clacton

clacton-con-ads

There is a certain irony in the Tories holding an internet driven open primary in Clacton to select their candidate and UKIP HQ imposing Douglas Carswell, the prophet of iDemocracy, as their candidate. Carswell will be pleased his ideas […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Charles Clarke says Cameron is the most successful PM for over a century…

“Under Margaret Thatcher the Conservatives gained 99 seats. They lost 211 under John Major, gained one under William Hague, quickly and wisely got rid of Ian Duncan-Smith, gained 32 under Michael Howard and have so far gained 133 under David Cameron who, to the great surprise of many (including senior Conservatives), has turned out to be the most electorally successful Tory leader since 1900.”

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