Meet the Candidates: Team Saj

Guido brings you another one of the teams behind the Tory leadership hopefuls – this time it’s Sajid Javid who is hoping to come through the chaos as the compromise candidate. Sajid was flying high as the front-runner last summer. However his star has waned as Brexit has taken over the agenda. His unexpected decision to vote for remaining in the EU three years ago – despite once being an outspoken Eurosceptic – fatally undermined his hitherto Thatcherite brand with a substantial section of the Tory membership and will not be forgotten. Can ‘The Saj’ revitalise his leadership hopes now?

Sajid’s long-serving former SpAd Nick King is back and heavily involved, alongside his work at the Centre for Policy Studies. Sajid also has an able team of current SpAds behind him, including yet another Hanbury connection in the form of Olivia Robey as well as ex-ConservativeHome / ex-CCHQ operator Sam Coates… who very usefully knows the contours of the Tory rank and file well.

There’s also a Vote Leave connection – Sajid has snapped up former Vote Leave and TaxPayers’ Alliance Chief Executive Matthew Elliott who is providing informal advice at this stage. Guido understands that Team Saj has also recently been bolstered by the arrival of CCHQ’s former Head of Media Monitoring and meme guru Gareth Milner. Like Nick King he’s also splitting his time between Team Saj and the CPS…

On the Parliamentary side, Rob Halfon is coordinating support for Javid amongst MPs, while ministers Chris Skidmore and John Glen are also Saj supporters. Sajid will be hoping the Brexiteers take each other out, allowing him to come through as the compromise candidate with the best free marketeer credentials…


Social media support: Avid 4 Javid hasn’t quite hit the heights of Ready for Raab yet but has 218 loyal followers, Sajid himself has an impressive 112k followers and his Facebook has 14k.
Mainstream media support: Tim Montgomerie publicly declared his support for Javid last year, the Home Secretary will also be looking for support from law-and-order focused papers like the Daily Mail now they’ve gone soft on Brexit.
ConservativeHome members survey: 5.4% (5th)
YouGov public recognition: 35% (5th)
PaddyPower odds: 11/1 (5th=)

Tim Montgomerie Launching Unherd.com

Tim Montgomerie is back in new media, the founder of ConservativeHome.com is launching UnHerd.com and hiring a big team of writers for the start-up. He has got the financial backing of Paul Marshall, the founder of Marshall Wace – one of Europe’s largest hedge fund groups. Tim tells Guido he has secured a financial commitment for 4 years.

He says:

Launching within the next few months, UnHerd.com won’t chase the breaking news because the latest things are rarely the most important. Its journalists will be given the time and will possess the skills to dive deeply into their subject areas.  Together they will challenge out-of-date, incorrect and even dangerous thinking on economics, politics, technology, religion and the media. They will profile thinking and movements from around the world that do not receive the attention they deserve from the centres of political, economic and media power.

Marshall is pouring his millions into backing centrist political projects. Those of us who have followed Tim’s output over the years have detected his centre-right outlook becoming more centre and less right over the years. Nevertheless Guido wishes Tim the best of luck…

Montie Out, Iain Martin In at The Times

Tim Montgomerie’s column for today’s Times is his last. Montie says he’s off to set up a new project after nearly four years at the paper, good luck to him. MediaGuido understands he will be replaced by Iain Martin, another sensible Brexiteer whose Reaction website has published some of the more thoughtful Brexit-related punditry. Iain will be writing a weekly column starting next week. An important hire especially now the paper is losing Tim. Most of the Times’ other comment writers are zombie metropolitan columnists spouting increasingly irrelevant punditry…

Quote of the Day

Alex Massie on Tim Montgomerie’s decision to leave the Tories:

“Part of the point of the Tories being in power is that their being in office means other people are not. That has a value in and of itself too. Because however bad or disappointing the Tories may be, it should always be remembered that things could be even worse.”

Tim Montgomerie Quits Tories

“after 28 years of membership, I’m resigning. I’m not joining another party but don’t want to give another penny to the Cameron project”

Europe the final straw:

“And nothing registers more strongly on the social injustice front than recommending staying in the EU. It remains the greatest source of social misery on the continent — requiring intense austerity in countries such as Greece and causing terrible youth unemployment across southern Europe from which millions will suffer lifelong scars. I’m just glad that Mrs Thatcher cannot see what her party has become.”

Read his full devastating critique of Cameron and Osborne here

Labour Cuts!

Tim Montgomerie is first to throw Gordon’s words back in his face.  He won’t be the last…

The Heirs to Blair Should Fight Labour on Tax and Spend

Matthew Parris yesterday called on the Conservatives to come out of the closet, and behave like conservatives, Guido would be happy if they just behaved like Blairites. The symbolic 63.8% tax rate* should be opposed. Everyone can see that for the government to take more than half your income is not social justice, it is ritually sacrificing the successful on the altar of socialist dogma. Blair would never have countenanced it, he ruled it out in every manifesto that he signed.

Heir to BalirThe Cameroons have yet to shake off their awe of Blair, who was admittedly a political genius when it came to strategy. Brown is not Blair, when it comes to strategy he is a political idiot, he may be half blind but his bigger handicap is that he is tone deaf to popular feeling. Guido will frame his argument in terms that may resonate with the Cameroons better than Tim Montgomerie’s obituary for New Labour.

Osborne should ignore the siren calls from the likes of Polly and the Fink for acquiescence, there is no need to draw close to Gordon’s dividing line. Labour in government has once again ended in national financial disaster. Think what would Blair do in this situation?

The New Statesman’s James Macintyre, who often takes his copy straight from Mandelson’s friends with whom he has had a close relationship, says that Mandelson wants to fight on a programme of “prioritisation”. Mandelson wants to change the narrative to accept cuts in spending, in this he is supported by the surviving Blairites including Purnell. The Cameroons must not cede this territory to the Blairites in government. Mandelson knows the time for tax and spend is over, buried in debt and deficits.

So accept Gordon’s dividing lines. Think strategically “what would Blair do?” Now is the time for a clear message of fiscal conservativism and sound money.

*That is what the top marginal rate really amounts to when you include the combined NI of 13.8%.   Feudal serfs had to work 3 days a month for the barons.

Draper Site Crashes Live on TV

Isaby Joins ConservativeHome

What does it say about the decline of the Daily Labourgraph and the rise of the blogosphere that a journalist would move across to ConservativeHome?

Congratulations to Jonathan Isaby, will he be doing the 6 a.m. news links shift? Isaby is rarely missing from a politico-social event, it won’t be easy to combine late nights with early starts…

ConservativeHome is an example of how the news market will become fragmented in the future. High quality, focused niche news boutiques will displace traditional generalist news sources. Nobody watches the BBC for business reporting when we have CNBC, nobody reads Bloomberg for sports reporting. You wouldn’t expect the Guardian to have a clue about the intricacies of the Conservative Party’s internal affairs. Best of breed online news sources can rapidly replace the dead tree press – however well established. The Telegraph has certainly been replaced as the house journal of the Tory Party by ConservativeHome…

Previous Isaby stories here and here.

Handbags Over at the Speccie

Kite v Dale Round II : Melissa got Fisked and she didn’t like it. Tim Montgomerie and Alan Duncan get a swipe as well. Horrid Tory boys…

And Lo, It Shall Come to Pass…

On the first day of this year Guido made 5 predictions. Including this one –

2. Following a surge to the SNP in local elections the Conservatives will finally move away from Unionism and towards spinning off Scottish and Welsh sister parties as part of their localism agenda.

ConservativeHome and the Speccie are now confirming this will happen.

Osborne’s approach to David Laws means that another prediction has already come off –

4. Informal Tory approaches will be made to leading LibDem figures as to discussions on the shape of the future governing coalition.

Watch out Mystic Meg…

C4 News on Political Bloggers

See GuyNews.TV for the extract :

Laura Sandys is the Thanet South Tory Candidate

Which means Mark MacGregor is not. Guido reached Tim Montgomerie for a comment “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah” was all he said. Never speak ill of a fellow Conservative said Ronald Reagan…

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