Andy McSmith's Election Diary: The Conservative sense of entitlement to have the 'competitive advantage' in the polls is telling


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Lord Ashcroft, who bankrolled the Conservative Party when its fortunes were at rock bottom, is no longer on speaking terms with 10 Downing Street. This is inconvenient, because he is working on a Cameron biography, entitled ‘Call Me Dave’, which will appear in the autumn.

Approaches to the Prime Minister and others who know him well have got nowhere. Writing on the ConservativeHome website, Michael Ashcroft reckons: “Cameron’s strategy appears to be: put up the shutters, then rubbish the book on the basis that we have had no access.”

To make their silence all the more galling, everyone in David Cameron’s circle appears to be talking freely to the historian, Anthony Seldon, whose study of Cameron’s premiership is due out in July.

It is not entirely surprising that Cameron is wary of the his former Deputy Chairman. At an award ceremony last January, Ashcroft told a packed house that his book was going to be “the obit…sorry, David the biography.” Yesterday’s Financial Times suggested that the Tory high command is also not pleased with the exhaustive polling operation Ashcroft now funds. “He is giving away polling that only we can afford to do to our competitors. It kills our competitive advantage. For a Tory peer to do that, well, it’s annoying…” a ‘senior cabinet figure’ is quoted as saying.

It says a great deal about the Conservative sense of entitlement if they think that have a special right to hold the ‘competitive advantage’ over other parties, or that Lord Ashcroft is in any way beholden to them, when he is not even a ‘Tory peer’ any more. He retired from the House of Lords earlier this month.

Interestingly, the Financial Times story was repeated on the Politics Home website. The site is owned by Michael Ashcroft.

Quote of the Day

“Enough is enough, Mr Farage. So what I'd like to do is to challenge you to a duel. I'd like us to meet in Hyde Park one morning, with our swords, and resolve this matter."

Janek Zylinski, son a Polish war hero, does not like the UKIP’s leader attitude to immigrants. Mr Farage declined the challenge of a sword fight.

Reason No. 6 – or not

Asked by the Harrow Times to give five reasons why the voters of Harrow East should re-elect him as their Conservative MP, Bob Blackman put at the top of the list the fact that he voted against legalising gay marriage. He did not mention – though Pink News did – that soon after he had taken this principled stand on the sanctity of marriage, an angry woman named Carol Shaw talked to the Sunday Mirror about her 11 year extra-marital affair with Bob Blackman.

Best Candidate Description Ever?

“Neighbour from Hell”

Joby Akira, running for a seat on Rustington Parish Council, in West Sussex, uses the ballot remind voters of an old headline from the Littlehampton Gazette. Spotted by the blogger, Mark Pack.

Who will judge Mr Misick?

A date has just been set for a fascinating hearing in front of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Michael Misick was Prime Minister of the former British colony, the Turks and Caicos Islands, when it was visited by the Commons Foreign Affairs committee in 2007. They alleged that it was riddled with corruption. The Foreign Office took over the islands’ governance. Misick went Brazil, but was extradited back to the islands, where he is due to stand trial. The argument that will go before the Privy Council is whether he and his fellow defendants are tried by a jury or by a judge sitting alone. He wants a jury: the government argues that a jury trial is not possible in a case like this, in a state with a population of just over 33,000. The hearing is scheduled for 11 May.

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