Archive for Conservative

Tory red-bashing is dirty campaigning

Tory PPC for Brighton Pavilion, Charlotte Vere, has sunk to further depths by continuing to paint the Greens ‘red’.

She continually tries to compare the Greens to both the ‘Communist Party’ (there isn’t one in the UK, only the CPB and CPGB) and Respect, a moderate left-wing force focussed in a few areas and headed by firebrand MP, George Galloway, and the impressive Salma Yaqoob, the Respect candidate for Birmingham Hall Green.

Charlotte Vere’s logic is, that because the Greens have shared a platform with Respect (as well as CND, Oxfam, Friends of the Earth and others), and, because Respect had the participation of ‘communist’ parties, the Greens are somehow in bed with the ‘Commies’ doing the dirty. The only dirty thing here is Charlotte’s style of campaigning, which is anything but clean.

I share The Independent’s analysis that the Greens are ‘radical social democrat’, but I’m proud to say that we’re a party with clear egalitarian principles. To paint the Greens as ‘Marxist’, or somehow part of the ‘old Left’, is deceitful and sign of a paranoid hysteria. Maybe someone needs to tell Charlotte Vere that the Cold War is over and that red-bashing fell out of favour with Joe McCarthy.

Yes, there are a few reds about and yes, we have socialists and other leftists in the Green Party (as does Labour – believe it or not – and the Church of England), but the Greens are a democratic, egalitarian and open party. The ‘Policies for a Sustainable Society‘ (PSS) is open for everyone to see and our twice-yearly conference is open to anyone wishing to attend.

Charlotte’s attempts at smearing the Greens are not only deceitful, they are also laughable. It only further damages her campaign and, if she’s not careful, she might well end up getting the nickname ‘ Charlotte-does-Smear’…alot.

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Did David Cameron actually speak to the Argus?

It was meant to be a huge coup for the Brighton Argus, they were supposed to have landed an interview with David Cameron whilst he was down in Brighton at the Conservative ‘Spring Forum’, rumour has it they were even supposed to get a video of the love-in. But, it has emerged that perhaps he didn’t actually speak to the Argus, not personally any way.

Whilst there is no sign of the interview on the Argus website, Charlotte Vere has kindly posted it onto her blog, which you can view here. Seems rather elementary, doesn’t it? Seems like you can replace ‘Brighton and Hove’ with just about any other city or town, does it not? But, what do I know? I don’t work in political communications, but I think we better consult with someone who does.

Local twitter bod, Nils Bord, aka @BrightonGossip, has suggested that the interview was not face-to-face but was instead handled by his press team. In a tweet at 10.27am on Monday 1st March, Nils said:

@jasonkitcat That’s a Q&A from his pr team, not a face-to-face i/view. I’ve worked in political comms and can spot that a mile off @lmwater

In a later tweet she asked Andy Chiles, (now former) reporter with the Argus:

@AndyArgus Thanks 4 follow. Do u no if Cam gave Argus a face-to-face interview? Tory friend tells me Cam threw his toys and ignored u guys?

I’ve tried to find an answer to this one but nothing has been forthcoming.

So, it begs this simple question, did David Cameron actually sit down with any one from the Argus and conduct an interview? If not, was this interview done by telephone with David Cameron?

I look forward to hearing from someone at the Argus…or a member of David Cameron’s press team. Thanks.

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George Osborne: Best mates with big business

According to Tim Montgomerie on Conservative Home, one of the reasons why we should vote Conservative with “enthusiasm and confidence” is thetax break the Tories are prepared to give to big business.

Tim says:

George Osborne will use his first budget to cut the headline rates of corporation tax by abolishing allowances…he wants to cut corporation tax budget after budget.

At first, I assumed this was a joke conjured up by some stooge at Labour HQ. It wasn’t until I went to Google, typed in Conservative Home, went straight to the site and realised that it was not.

Tim even goes on to say this:

Also on the economy Ken Clarke will chair a deregulatory star chamber that will ensure more regulations are eliminated than new regulations enacted.

Is George Osborne (or perhaps only Tim Montgomerie) out of his mind? Does he really expect people to swallow this?

How can a Conservative Government with any kind of heart or compassion tell public workers to screw themselves whilst giving big business an easy tax break? It’s not fair, simple as.

Tax breaks for big business is why the Tories will never, ever be able to lay claim to a fairness agenda.

If this is either Tim Montgomerie’s or George Osborne’s idea of a joke, it’s not funny for anyone.

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Can anyone be a Conservative?

In a different time it’s not hard to imagine that Charlotte Vere may have ended up as one of ‘Blair’s Babes’, after all, the Tory candidate for Brighton Pavilion seems to be touching on policy issues which reflect more on Blair’s style, rather than that of the traditional Tory. She herself admitted to John Harris earlier in the week: “Anyone can be a Tory.” 

David Cameron is a Blair Mach II, the third in line to Thatcher’s throne, with promises for more market interventions into public services, greater privatisation and the encouragement of a ‘free’ enterprise mentality. It’s not that hard to think, what if this was 1997 and not 2010? Could we expect Charlotte Vere to be wearing the red rosette rather than the blue ribbon? Perhaps, but it’s worth remembering that Vere is one of Cameron’s candidates through and through, eager to ‘stay on message’, except for the diversion on fox hunting, Ms. Vere has signed up to ‘Vote Cruelty Free’ along with the other Pavilion candidates.

Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, noted this in this week’s New Statesman:

“What the language of compassionate conservatism does is reintroduce the notion of fraternity for the right…By talking about fraternity you discover a language which is kinder, gentler and more emotionally robust compared to the shrill, empty words of the focus group…Cameron speaks this kind of language. It enables him to come across as a more rounded, open, plural figure. Blair was that type of figure, once, before 2001. But now, literally, Labour has lost it’s language.”

For Cruddas, Cameron is a man to be admired. A winning man. After all, isn’t that what any comparison with Blair is really saying? If you’re Blair, you’re a winner. It’s not hard to believe that the new breed of Tories could have followed Blair, after all, he’s the reason why Cameron is looking more likely to take the keys to Number 10 after the General Election, regardless of ‘narrowing polls’ and the spin coming from Labour HQ. There is little doubt in the public’s mind that Brown will be going, one way or another.

I don’t wish to label Ms. Vere a careerist, far from it, she was one of Cameron’s new candidates who answered the call to step forward in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal. But one can’t help but feel the ‘answering of the call’ would not have happened if the wind was blowing a different way. Ms. Vere admitted that she had only been a member of the Conservative Party for two years, hardly an indication of her commitment to the party’s core values, which are quickly evaporating, much in the same way as Labour’s core values have disappeared.

Once a party committed to narrowing the wealth gap and state intervention in creating access to new opportunities for society’s least off, Labour now favours Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), a greater role of the market in determining ‘choice’ for individuals in public services and the dismantling of an education system which was once seen as exemplary and admired around the world.

I believe partisan politics are good. I’m not a fan of the centre ground. I believe the move to the centre has led to the dumbing down of our political system. Gone is great oratory, long debate and principled pleas to traditional bases of support. Instead, the change in style has led to lower turnout, unclear choices and a failure to address the needs, wants and aspirations for so many people. I believe in a left and right. I believe in progress and conservatism. I believe difference is healthy.

It’s a shame ideology is lost, it’s even more of a shame that ‘anyone can be a Conservative’, it’s sad, but true, and very disheartening.

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