"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Cameron Scores Another Bullseye

Has the gulf between Conservative activists and supporters and their Leader ever been wider? There had already been an outcry from local associations when Conservative Central Office tried to impose all-women shortlists so in response, and to show the grassroots what he thinks of them, last month Cameron introduced 'emergency powers' to impose the pre-approved shortlists regardless. As a result there is now another backlash, this time in Surrey East where Cameron's shortlist comprises three women, one Muslim businessman, one black businessman and a gay man (our very own blogging Iain Dale).
"There is a suggestion that Peter Ainsworth MP, whose resignation triggered the contest, was encouraged to delay the announcement until January to give Cameron time to be able to use the new centralised emergency selection procedure.

A similar turn of events happened in the Warwickshire constituency of Stratford-upon-Avon, where Tory MP John Maples announced his decision on January 10 to stand down at the next election. The short-list for this plum, traditionally Conservative constituency contains four women, one Muslim, and the white chairman of the local association.

Meanwhile, in Bromsgrove, in the West Midlands, there were furious protests that no local candidate was on the Central Office short-list put forward to replace Tory MP Julie Kirkbride, who is standing down after being mired in the Commons expenses scandal.

The local Bromsgrove party had no choice but to accept London’s list of six, which included the three obligatory women as well as a Muslim man, one gay and a non-local party official. In the end, the Muslim was selected to fight the seat at the election.

In Sleaford and North Hykeham, Lincolnshire, the selection process took place before Central Office took complete control. Even though this was before Cameron’s intervention with new powers to try to guarantee candidates of his own choice, Central Office whittled down the locals’ list of 24 to six — none of whom was local. The eventual winner was a London-based adviser to the shadow cabinet.

As a result, the local newspaper was deluged with letters from Tory voters objecting to the fact that there were no local candidates on the list.

In exactly the same scenario, Esher and Walton in Surrey, another true-blue constituency, was given a final approved list which didn’t include any local names. The procedure was described as ‘an abuse of local democracy’.

In Suffolk Coastal, when former Cabinet minister John Gummer stood down, his replacement was Therese Coffey, a BBC property finance manager from Hampshire, who was selected from a list finalised by Central Office and which contained three women and a Lincolnshire head teacher, a Westminster professor and a London-based Muslim businessman.
Only one candidate was local. There was another rumpus in Macclesfield, where the veteran MP Sir Nicholas Winterton is standing down. Two members of the council resigned over the short-list process that eventually led to the selection of a former Asda supermarket director..."
And so it goes on, up and down the country. It's a bad time for Cameron to be picking fights with the faithful: I thought one of the inherent planks of Conservative policy was individual freedom but it seems rights and responsibilities don't extend as far as his own Party's members.

UPDATE:  More Conservative policies and William Hague in  the news, here  and here:
Some pearls of wisdom:

“It’s between change or ruin.”
“It will be too late to come back in five years’ time.”
“For all those who are not sure, for all those who may dabble with a fringe party, who think voting Liberal is a halfway house to change, none of that will work, none of that will help the country."
“We are not going to fight another election on immigration. It would not reflect the nation’s priorities.”
Sorry, it isn't enough to get me back in the fold.


  1. I might have a chance of being chosen, as an endangered species?

    I am cute.

  2. Dave is creating what Tony Bliar has done before him, creating a client parliamentary political party.

    Dave is no more a true voters democrat as Tony Bliar or Gordon Brown.

    He is a upper middle / lower upper class control freak.

    Welcome to La La Land.

    All the Tory candidates will soon be politically correct and with no real life outside politics before they became lobby fodder. They will owe their salary and their expenses account to Dave. They will be as much prisoners as we will be.

    Burn the fucking House down I say, only joking M'lord, only joking.

  3. The only option to change our Country is to first annihilate Labour and then The Tories. One at a time, however

  4. If, by bullseye, you mean that Cameron has a large target painted on both feet and scored two dead-centre direct hits, GV, you are spot on!

    I knew I didn't like the smarmy git.

  5. DUH!....just seen the cartoon!!

  6. I thought pandas were nasty, bad-tempered bears of very little brain, Bugger? We already have one of those as PM.

    OR - I know what you mean but the Conservatives have a lot to overcome, not least the derision and contempt of politics and Parliament engendered by Brown & Co. It would help if Cameron didn't shoot himself in the foot with stupid HQ pre-approved shortlists, sidestepping Local Associations and giving out mixed messages to the electorate. Perhaps things will firm up as the election draws closer?

    :-) Spidey - you got the message right - you should know my soh my now!

  7. I know about JGBrown GV, you are forgetting that we were both baptised By Ebenezer Brown in Govan Parish Church and on the same day!

  8. And has the Curse of Jonah stayed with you until this day? Poor Bugger :-)

  9. You obviously don't know how I garnered my name?



  10. You're right, GV, I really should know by now. ;-)


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