Scotland’s Top Tory Spinner in a Spot of Bother
Tension Added to Tomorrow’s Leadership Face Off

Another Sunday and another hit on “Dave’s candidate” for the Scottish Conservative Party leadership – Ruth Davidson. The Herald team report:

“The Conservatives’ top spin doctor in Scotland is under intense pressure over claims he has been advising a candidate in the party’s leadership election. Ramsay Jones, who as head of media has to be neutral in the contest, recently attended a meeting at Ruth Davidson’s home with her campaign strategists.”

The controversy focuses around a meeting on Sunday September 18 at the Cameroon former BBC journo’s Glasgow home. Jones, a party official paid for on short money, did a 150 mile round trip to attend. Officially, it’s  no comment all round, but Guido has spoken to other Scottish Tory figures who are fuming…

With one candidate ready to start all over again with a new party, and presumably new staff, the phrase “self-preservation society” is being thrown around an awful lot up north. Murdo Fraser’s plans have defined the entire debate to find a new Tory leader, and Davidson immediately became the “stop Murdo” candidate for those looking to save their own jobs. This meeting isn’t the first sign that the Tory establishment is backing Ruth, but it is the proof of the pudding.

While Cameron wants to keep out of this race, the timing of this story couldn’t be worse for him given that the candidates are going to come face to face at a conference hustings tomorrow afternoon in their first high-profile ding-dong. Given the temperature of the briefing going on this weekend it could get very messy…

UPDATE: Tory Party Chairman Baroness Warsi just told the Politics Show that she though Davidson was “fantastic”. There was no such praise for any other candidate. Seems the impartiality of the Party is well and truly out of the window…

Indy’s Independence Whacked

Have you noticed anything different about the Indy in the last couple of days?

Well it seems that the paper has finally conceded that it is politically biased and susceptible to proprietorial influence. Given Evgeny Lebedev “speaks regularly” to the editor Chris Blackhurst, it was only a matter of time before the paper would have to quietly drop their lofty pretensions…

UPDATE: Co-conspirators point out that the change coincided with the arrival of Chris Blackhurst in the editor’s chair.

Follow Friday FoI

Paul Waugh has confirmed that a locked and hidden Twitter account is in fact that of the Downing Street Director of Communications:

Given that Craig Oliver is using his job title and place of work in his Twitter name, Guido feels we have a right to know what he’s pushing. As well as being nosy…

Nick Boles a Wide Ball

Nick Boles has taken to the pages of the Telegraph to give a not-so-coded warning that Tory MPs should behave themselves at their conference and not to rock the boat:

” …what we need now is to put away our favourite ideological hobby horses, ignore the political positioning of the other parties…”

Heaven forbid that a newbie MP might dare utter something vaguely ideological to the party faithful. Even worse they might try to tackle an issue close to the heart of their party in a pamphlet. It’s probably best not to mention that this time last year “Enoch” Boles was being praised for the “radical approach to immigration” set out in his pre-conference book “Which Way is Up“ then. What a difference a year makes though, eh Nick?

Yes Campaign Attempts to Rewrite History

John Denham, Labour’s anti-Business Secretary, told an electoral reform fringe meeting yesterday that the:

“Lib Dems were totally kippered in Yes campaign by thinking ‘We mustn’t do anything to upset the Tories…'”

N02AV veterans have barely been able to keep a straight face at this one, especially given that Chris Huhne was sitting on the very same panel. What was it about Huhne calling other members of the Cabinet Nazis that suggested he was reining in his behaviour?

Rory Unreal: Ironic Tweet of the Day

Except his own private and grammar school one presumably… 

“Something for Something” or Something

In an attempt to mop up the mess that yesterday’s speech has made, Red Ed took to the airwaves this morning and received a savaging on the Today program. His “not anti-business, but anti-business as usual” soundbite is neat, but the rest of the performance was pretty dire. When told focus groups find him weird the Son of Brown took his political father’s stance of pretending not to care and claiming that:

“It is absolutely about substance. I’ve got an old-fashioned view: substance wins out”

Which is weird giving the most insight and policy depth that we got from his speech was the revelatory “something for something”. Possibly the worst line going, after a “new bargain for Britain” of course…

Burnham Muddled and Cook’s Motives Revealed

With Burnham going on the attack over the Department of Education email leaks all day, he’s managed to get himself in a right muddle. Firstly he suggested that when in government he used his departmental email address for everything including, we must presume, political activity, which would be against the rules. And this evening one of his spinners has told the BBC‘It’s pretty hard to separate purely party political issues when in government’. Well that somewhat dampens the attack.

With the Tories expecting other leaks to surface in Chris Cook’s FT copy, Guido is wondering quite what this former Tory education advisor is up to. The Information Commissioner has confirmed that they are not running an investigation, contrary to Cook’s report this morning and the whole story has unravelled rather quickly. Toby Young thinks he might have worked it out

Huhne’s Brass Neck

Chris Huhne is about to lecture you about the economy, suggesting that it’s evil “Tea Party” Tories who are threatening the economic recovery by calling for less tax and a look at our position in Europe. Of course his own […]

Back to Spin School for Belardinelli

The spinning antics of Ed Balls’ minion Alex Belardinelli are a continual source of amusement in the Guy News room. Sometimes his cavalier attitude to the truth is outdone by a spectacularly poor effort. This morning he was tweeting about […]

Vince Attack Shafted By History

The most memorable sound-bite from Vince Cable’s speech will be his attack on his coalition partners and the right in general:

“What I will not do though is provide cover for ideological descendents of those who sent children up chimneys.”

[…]

Huhne’s Greek Fears

After being probed by Andrew Neil yesterday, Chris Huhne squared up to Brillo again on the Daily Politics. He accused the Greeks of making false statements to the authorities about their economy. Guido agrees that such false statements […]



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Quote of the Day

Tim Shipman to Adam Boulton on the TV debates…

“If Cameron gets in a car to go to the debate, Lynton Crosby will stage a car crash.”

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