Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tory Twittery: Bleating at Clever (?) Labour Flier


Have no idea whether the Tory Toff line (e.g. flier, right) is helping in the Crewe and Nantwich. But I do think the Tories are bleating about it far too much. They have a Toff for leader riding high in the polls. Their Toff candidate has beaten Ken in London, albeit quite narrowly. And their allegedly wonderful shadow (or shallow) cabinet are mostly Old Etonians and the like. In other words the electorate, or at least the poll-ectorate, are not even slightly put off by the Toff-iness of the so-called New Wave Tories, with Morrissey on their ipods 'n'all. What's more ET only went to Uppingham and OxfordDurham, poor dear. Not even sure he made it into the Bullingdon or the Piers Gaveston as a guest. Perhaps not ET's kind of wheeze with his halo and all? Do you know different?

Anyways, it is beyond belief that Conservative Boy Bloggers or "Con Men" for short are making such a fuss about this banter.

As far as I can see there has still not been any reaction from Tory leadership of Boy Bloggers to an absolutely outrageous juxtaposition of Tory and Hizb_ut-Tahrir literature (similar to that below, left) in Manchester.

Yes, one of your candidates in Manchester's Town Hall elections two weeks ago had helpers dishing out Hizb_ut-Tahrir leaflets. These claimed the Qur'an was to be banned and coincidentally carried a picture of Brown on them (just to smear him by his being pictured with Bush). As it goes Brown is rightly unwilling to consider banning this suspect organisation without proper evidence, the BNP are worse, while Cameron would do ... yet allows his activists to consort with HuT to win votes from some small c conservative Punjabis.

Now that's what I call worrying. Calling Tories Toffs is not in the same ball park. And claims that Tamsin Dunwoody is any way more posh or privileged than ET - the heel bar billionaire - are frankly stupid. And smearing grandad ditto.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

All is saved. The Supreme Leader has pulled it off.

A poll in tomorrow's News of the World puts the Tories just 20 points ahead of Labour.

Urgent note to Brown: "Plan B is now necessary. Proceed to Crewe at best haste. You will be met by party faithful.

Dump core memory and switch your RAM coupler to 'Nearly normal but not quite' soundbite. Remmember to test whether odd jaw-drop after sentence has been erased. Remove all pancake makeup.

Important presentational advice: "Don't smile at traffic signs"

Anonymous said...

The logic behind "Edward Timpson is a great chap because he grew up with 80 foster children" is lost on me.

Laudable it may be for his parents but there can't be anyone in the north-west of England who hasn't heard this story over and over again. Every interview with John Timpson, every article he writes, the number of foster children gets mentioned.

Almost all foster parents get on with their duties without any such craving for publiciity.

What makes Mr & Mrs Timpson senior so special - the score?

Mistoffelees said...

I don't imagine there's anyone on the planet less likely to vote Tory than I am, but the whole "toff" campaign is deeply, deeply embarrassing - it just suggests to me that Labour has run out of ideas and is resorting to hurling cheap abuse and hope that some of it sticks.

And it's a bit rich calling the Opposition front bench "shallow" when they're facing arguably the weakest Cabinet of my lifetime - and I'm past forty.

Do you actually have any positive reasons why people should vote Labour in Crewe and Nantwich? Because if you don't, you're going to lose - and it will be richly deserved.

Diablo said...

I see the News of the Screws poll shows Labour down by 8%. Bit worse than the last one but going in the right direction - for the Conservatives, that is!

Keep spinning and hoping and spinning....!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mistoffelees. It is totally pathetic.
Do these politics students who seem to run our party these days not know that Clement Atlee went to Private School, not to mention Hugh Gaitskell?

As for Ms Dunwoody, well her mother supported the Countryside Alliance and supported the fur industry, so hardly 'one of us'.

I feel ashamed quite frankly.

Anonymous said...

We can say what we like but a lot of people on the ground perceive that Labour has chosen a hereditary candidate and that bothers them far more than Timpson's wealth and background.

Mistoffelees said...

Do these politics students who seem to run our party these days not know that Clement Atlee went to Private School, not to mention Hugh Gaitskell?

And Tony Blair. Isn't Fettes basically Scotland's Eton?

We can say what we like but a lot of people on the ground perceive that Labour has chosen a hereditary candidate and that bothers them far more than Timpson's wealth and background.

Indeed - not only is it totally childish, but the Tories have more than one instant riposte. Talk about blowing your foot clean off with both barrels.

I would sooner try to slice my own head off with a rusty saw than vote Tory, but I can absolutely understand why people might if this is the focus of Labour's campaign: people are genuinely worried about an impending recession and all the representatives of the ruling party can come up with is silly playground jibes.

One reason why this is a truly cretinous tactic is that the dominant narrative at this very moment is that John Major/Kenneth Clarke actually did a pretty good job of running the economy, which Gordon Brown has largely squandered. Which means that someone in their twenties with no adult memory of the downside of the Tory years might well think "why not give them a go?"

Labour badly needs to take these people into account and come up with a convincing counter-argument, and going "haw haw" in a top hat is categorically not it!

Mistoffelees said...

Matthew d'Ancona says much the same thing in today's Telegraph, and it's hard to disagree with this:

The PM insists that the general election will not be a referendum on the Government but a choice between two competing parties and what they stand for. Well, in Crewe, we are being given a dispiriting taste of how the governing party intends to attack the Tories.

It may be Labour that is running a dynastic candidate – Tamsin Dunwoody, the late Gywneth’s daughter – and promoting the ancient principle of political inheritance, that seats in Parliament are passed on from generation to generation. Under the circumstances, with Ms Dunwoody effectively being presented to the voters as a political heiress, it is hugely ironic that Labour is simultaneously attacking the Tory candidate in Crewe, Edward Timpson, as a “toff”, ambushing him with Labour activists dressed in top hats and tails, and distributing spoof leaflets with question such as “Do you live in a big mansion house?” and “Do you think regeneration is adding another wing to your mansion?”

This is feebly reminiscent of Wilson mocking Alec Douglas-Home as the 14th Earl of Home – a tactic that was contentious even in 1964. In 2008, it smacks of desperation. If the electorate’s acceptance of Mr Cameron and his fellow Etonian Boris Johnson has one clear lesson, it is that voters are no longer consumed by class envy. Indeed, given a choice between misfiring Labour robots and spirited Etonians, they seem to prefer the latter.


Indeed, and there's overwhelming evidence on the ground to back this up. And unless people like Chris Paul wake up and recognise this, they're looking at a wipe-out come 2010 - and one that they will richly, richly deserve.

In fact, with regard to his dismissive "albeit quite narrowly" comment about Boris Johnson's win, it seems blindingly obvious to me that Ken Livingstone only did as well as he did because he does at least have a strongly independent streak to him - he's not perceived as being a knee-jerk Labour loyalist. Had he been a "misfiring Labour robot" (another Frank Dobson, say), he'd have been slaughtered.

Mistoffelees said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mistoffelees said...

Apologies - don't know why this appeared twice. Feel free to delete the repeat.

Anonymous said...

I see that Dale is making a complete arse of himself by reporting a supposed conversation between a Tory activist and Tamsin Dunwoody.

He's clearly never heard of the phrase "when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging."

Anonymous said...

"Tamsin Dunwoody, the late Gywneth’s daughter – and promoting the ancient principle of political inheritance"

Just a bit rich, as Dad Stanley has aims to take over Henley, and Bojo's brother is being considered for a job in the Mayor's office.

Chris Paul said...

Keep 'em coming guys and gals. I think the toff campaign is very likely a mistake, as I've blogged (with arguments incidentally), but we'll have to wait and see.

ET pretending to be a poor deprived child is more damning. Not even getting overseas holidays every year. Poor diddums. Only worth £50M at the last count.

I see no-one on the Tory side will respond to the issue of Tories using Hizb pamphlets to get an advantage in Manchester ...

Mistoffelees said...

Just a bit rich, as Dad Stanley has aims to take over Henley, and Bojo's brother is being considered for a job in the Mayor's office.

Stanley Johnson hasn't been selected yet, and "being considered" doesn't mean "has been hired". Whereas Tamsin Dunwoody is the official Labour candidate for her mum's old seat.

In any case, the "well, yes, it's a fair cop, but the other lot might be doing the same sort of thing if you don't look too closely!" is a pretty feeble platform on which to build a plausible campaign.

Anyway, if Matthew d'Ancona isn't your political cup of tea, here's Andrew Rawnsley - who's normally much more sympathetic to Labour. In fact, he initially seems to be taking your position when he writes:

Mr Cameron likes to chortle that he has heard of a hereditary monarchy, but hereditary MPs are something new. Let us agree that the Labour leadership, which liked the independent-spirited and cussed Mrs Dunwoody so much that they tried to sack her as a committee chair, has shamelessly traded on her name to try to save the seat. But excuse me while I laugh to hear criticism of political dynasties from the Tories. Mr Cameron's frontbench contains at least one MP whose father was also an MP.

But then, he puts the boot in:

The Labour campaign is worse. It is, in fact, a disgrace. What was once regarded as the cleverest electioneering operation in the democratic world has descended into a crude parody of the silliest and nastiest aspects of political campaigning. Labour activists dressed in toppers and tails stalk the Tory candidate to attack him as a 'toff' because his family built up a successful chain of shoe repairers. It's not Edward Timpson who is made to look like the nob by these puerile games.

When not playing the class card in a juvenile way, Labour has been playing the race card in a poisonous way. The BNP is not standing in the seat, but you could be forgiven for thinking that you were looking at their stuff when you read some of Labour's campaign material. One Labour leaflet invites a vote against the Tories on the grounds that they 'oppose making foreign nationals carry an ID card'. The Tories actually oppose making anyone carry an ID card. Labour should be ashamed of stooping to xenophobia to try to cling on to the seat.


Indeed they should.

Mistoffelees said...

I see no-one on the Tory side will respond to the issue of Tories using Hizb pamphlets to get an advantage in Manchester ...

Given Labour's track record of sucking up to Islamist extremists, do they really need to?

Here's Nick Cohen, also in today's Observer:

Since 9/11, not only police officers, but New Labour ministers, the Home Office, Foreign Office and pseudo-left journalists and councils have sought to promote 'cohesion' by appeasing Islamist groups which aren't quite as extreme as al-Qaeda. They have turned them into the sole authentic representatives of British Islam, although as Haras Rafiq and Abdal-Hakim Murad show, they are nothing of the sort, and branded serious investigation into obscurantist politics as religious prejudice.

Elements within the government thought that if they could co-opt the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-i-Islami and ignore their foul beliefs, they would isolate the terrorists to their right. Even Labour now admits that the policy has been a practical failure and moral shambles.


So how exactly are Labour activists in any position to occupy the moral high ground?

A plague on both your houses, indeed.

Anonymous said...

Chris- you haven't read Iain Dales post about the Tory liar and deceiver infiltrating Ms. Dunwoody's privacy yet? Not happy bunnies over there.
mistwhatsits talking about high moral ground - oh dear ;0(

Mistoffelees said...

Instead of continuing these cretinous tit-for-tat battles that leave both sides looking equally shabby to genuinely disinterested observers, how about addressing my question several posts above and coming up with a positive reason to vote Labour on Thursday?

Why is Tamsin Dunwoody better suited than anyone else to be MP for Crewe and Nantwich? On her own terms, not when set against the calibre of her opponents?

Bill Quango MP said...

When the result comes in, the truth may finally dawn.

A win of less than 4000 majority for labour shows a 50% fall in popularity
in the safest region of safe seats.

Fell free to delude yourselves that 'its the result that matters' and ' any method of winning is fair' and even "people will never remember the tactics, only the result."

See how well you do with it nationally.

CP writes this toff attack may be a mistake. He is right, unless that attack is going to work nationally.
Will voters, feeling the economic pinch from Brown's failed policies,
be reassured that , well he may be a totally incompetent prime minister, but at least he didn't go to Eton.
Doubt it.

Mistoffelees said...

CP writes this toff attack may be a mistake. He is right, unless that attack is going to work nationally.

It demonstrably didn't work in London - as I said above, Livingstone only did as well as he did because he had a huge personal following. Had he stepped down and a generic Labour candidate had fought for the mayoralty, Boris would have won by a landslide. I have no doubt about this whatsoever, as it's backed by Ken's result going against the national trend (despite losing).

Will voters, feeling the economic pinch from Brown's failed policies, be reassured that , well he may be a totally incompetent prime minister, but at least he didn't go to Eton.

More to the point, if Boris doesn't totally screw up London - and I doubt he'll be allowed to, given the stakes - this alone will defuse that argument.

In any case, snobbery aside, isn't Eton (sotto voce) actually quite a good school? In other words, can't you be reasonably sure that one of its products probably won't be a complete imbecile?

So for me, it's a complete non-issue - I care about the qualities of the candidate, not about where he or she went to school. Which in any case is rarely a decision that's theirs to make, so it's a particularly pointless charge.

Anonymous said...

The next time that the Tories want to accuse Labour of dirty tricks, Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party should re-print that disgusting post that Ian Dale put up today. And they wonder why they get called Con Men?

Mistoffelees said...

The next time that the Tories want to accuse Labour of dirty tricks, Crewe and Nantwich Labour Party should re-print that disgusting post that Ian Dale put up today. And they wonder why they get called Con Men?

Yawn. Yet another yah-boo tit-for-tat comment that will be aped on a Tory blog, only with the roles reversed. Meanwhile the nation heaves a mighty yawn.

And I notice that my request, made three posts into a 21-post thread, for a single positive reason to elect Tamsin Dunwoody as Labour MP for Crewe and Nantwich (over and above "she's Gwyneth's daughter" and "she's not a Tory") remains unanswered.

Which is a pretty revealing answer in itself.

Anonymous said...

"Why is Tamsin Dunwoody better suited than anyone else to be MP for Crewe and Nantwich?"

She was democratically elected by the Labour membership in C/N.
It was entirely their decision.
Are you questioning their right to do that?
I imagine the Tory candidate went through a similar process?

Mistoffelees said...

She was democratically elected by the Labour membership in C/N.
It was entirely their decision.
Are you questioning their right to do that?


Not at all. I couldn't care less who the Labour candidate is, as the original wording of my question made clear. By "anybody else", I was actually referring to her rivals from other parties, not to any other putative Labour candidate.

But what neither you nor Chris have come close to answering is why anyone should vote for the party, as opposed to voting against the Tories?

The messages I'm picking up are entirely negative - "vote for our candidate because she's not one of them!" - and it doesn't suggest to me that Labour is trying to get an especially constructive message across.

Which probably explains why you're looking at a thumping great defeat on Thursday - and will continue to face (and deserve to face) similar disasters until you realise just how much these tactics are turning people off. Voters don't like being taken for mugs.

Chris Paul said...

I rather think Mistofellees that the Labour material going out will include plenty that includes the real political messages and lessons of the last 11 years. I have posted a single sentence on my next post on this nonsense. I do think we agree about that me old china.

Having learned of my spoof this week I am also really chuffed to find myself having a personal rebuttal campaign running against me and my commenters. Hurrah!

PS Bill a fall of majority from 8000 to 4000 does not equate to a 50% fall in popularity. That is Dale-esque in its innumeracy,