End of the RoadTrip Cost Tories This Time Round

Since the election there has been much talk of the need for a “Tory Momentum”, a grassroots, youth-based movement to hit the streets and take the fight to the Corbynista hordes. The problems with this are numerous. The Tories are not in vogue. There is no young, modern leader and the boring old grey hairs are in charge. Labour has the marketing advantage: it is much easier to capture youthful imagination with idealistic fantasies about writing off student debts, than honest and uninspiring messages pointing out the other lot would ruin the country. And there is also another issue which Tory MPs have identified…

There was a Tory Momentum in 2015. It was called RoadTrip, organised by Tatler Tory Mark Clarke. With the promise of free booze and getting laid, it inspired hundreds of young Tories to sign up. Like Momentum it aroused media attention and controversy: bullying, factionalism, rule-breaking, lines crossed, wrong ‘uns misbehaving. Yet it was punchy, aggressive, ideologically committed, hugely successful and played a significant role in the 2015 election victory, managing to get large numbers of activists to travel across the country and help Tory candidates. It then became mired in scandal – battle bus expenses and the death of Elliot Johnson – so was shut down and not replaced at the 2017 election. 

A number of MPs believe the RoadTrip scandals and ensuing collapse of a pugnacious Tory youth movement cost them the election. MPs felt outnumbered and outgunned by Labour’s highly organised young activists, yet there was no Tory equivalent because replicating RoadTrip had become politically impossible. Flashy Twitter graphics and videos produced centrally from CCHQ are one thing, they don’t compare to an organic, genuine youth movement which can push the boundaries with a degree of plausible deniability for HQ. If RoadTrip 2015 hadn’t ended in disgrace, RoadTrip 2017 might just have tipped the Tories towards a majority…

mdi-timer 18th July 2017 @ 3:09 pm 18th Jul 2017 @ 3:09 pm mdi-comment Comments
Mark Clarke’s Ex-Lover Launching New Tory Youth Group at Conference

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Conservative Future, the youth wing of the Tory party, disappeared in disgrace following the Elliot Johnson suicide, with CCHQ cancelling its events at last year’s conference. 12 months on it is quietly returning in all but name. A series of events are planned in Birmingham using the name Conservative Youth, starting with a late night ‘Youth Reception’ hosted by Justine Greening. Justine is a former lover of expelled Tatler Tory Mark Clarke, so she’s in a (not so) unique position to offer advice.

Other sessions include “How we can make a positive difference” and “Your first step to becoming a Parliamentary Candidate”. An email address has been set up using the new “Youth” name. Every decade the Tories have to close down a youth-wing that gets out of hand; the Federation of Conservative Students, Conservative Collegiate Forum, and lastly Conservative Future. The problem with not having a youth wing is who will deliver the leaflets?

mdi-timer 30th September 2016 @ 12:19 pm 30th Sep 2016 @ 12:19 pm mdi-comment Comments
Tory Report Clears Feldman and Shapps

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Clifford Chance’s investigation has dropped in the middle of August while most people in Westminster are on holiday. It completely exonerates most of the key players in the Tory bullying scandal. Here are the top lines:

  • 13 victims of bullying identified, six potential sexual assault victims, five of which weren’t covered by the inquiry. The other withdrew their complaint.
  • No evidence Lord Feldman and Grant Shapps were aware of allegations of bullying or harassment of young activists by Mark Clarke. They did however both know Clarke had been involved in inappropriate behaviour around the Conservative Future elections, including adding ineligible voters to databases.
  • Grant Shapps’ then chief of staff, Paul Abbott, had received complaints containing allegations of bullying by Clarke. He confronted Clarke over four out of five of the allegations and forwarded one of them to Clarke.
  • No evidence to support allegations that CCHQ or Baroness Pidding had leaked names of the preliminary investigation’s interviewees
  • No evidence that Lynton Crosby was aware of allegations of bullying or harassment of young activists by Clarke

Expect cries of a whitewash…

Report in full below:

mdi-timer 17th August 2016 @ 3:13 pm 17th Aug 2016 @ 3:13 pm mdi-comment Comments
Elliott Johnson: No Link Between Redundancy and Bullying

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The coroner has ruled that that there was no link between Elliott Johnson being made redundant from Conservative Way Forward and alleged bulling by ‘Tatler Tory’ Mark Clarke. The inquest heard from CWF’s Paul Abbott about a bitter feud between him and Clarke, however the coroner warned the Johnson family QC that linking the redundancy and Clarke was “irrelevant… I will not allow this to degenerate into a trial of Mark Clarke”. Clarke was accused of saying that he “squashes” young activists “like ants when they are small and young”. There wasn’t much said today that we didn’t know already – the coroner was never going to lay the blame with any individual or group. The coroner ruled that Elliott Johnson took his own life…

H/T @jamiegrierson, @tombarton, @benando
mdi-timer 31st May 2016 @ 5:18 pm 31st May 2016 @ 5:18 pm mdi-comment Comments
CPS Says Up to Cops to Pursue Tories

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The Tory expenses affair takes another turn, the CPS says:

“Following a constructive meeting with the police and Electoral Commission, it has been agreed that each relevant police force will consider what action to take. This may Include making an application to the court under s.176 of the Representations of the People Act 1983 to extend the time allowed to bring a prosecution.”

Looks like the curse of Mark Clarke has hit a wall despite his best efforts in briefing Michael Crick… 

mdi-timer 4th May 2016 @ 5:09 pm 4th May 2016 @ 5:09 pm mdi-comment Comments
Twist in Tory Suicide Case

A twist in the Elliott Johnson suicide story on Friday night as Newsnight asked his father Ray why he never mentioned his son’s previous mental health issues. On Sunday Elliott’s lover Andre Walker said he had not revealed their relationship because he didn’t want to upset the family. Walker says he has been accused of bullying because “fat people from the North of England in politics are always called bruisers”.

The coroner’s inquest begins on Wednesday…

mdi-timer 29th February 2016 @ 10:41 am 29th Feb 2016 @ 10:41 am mdi-comment Comments
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