Village People: What's in a name? The enigma of the Tories called Tim

Andy McSmith
Saturday 15 January 2011 01:00

It is bizarre but true that never in the long history of the Labour Party has there ever been a Labour MP called Tim. There have been MPs who get within a letter's breadth – a few Toms, a Tam and a Timms – but never an actual Tim, or Timothy.

Yet the Conservatives are awash with Tims. There is Loughton and Yeo in the current Parliament. Within recent memory there have been Boswell, Brinton, Collins, Devlin, Eggar, Janman, Kirkhope, Raison, Rathbone, Renton, Sainsbury, Smith and Wood– every one a Tim and every one a Tory MP. Even the Liberal Democrats have their president, Tim Farron.

I asked Tim Allan, Tony Blair's former spin doctor who now runs the lobby firm, Portland, to explain. "I am nice enough but too dim to know the answer," was his unhelpful reply. Tim Montgomerie, who runs the ConservativeHome website, thought that the reason could be "sociological", Tim being a name preferred by parents in the upper income brackets.

The Labour MP Kerry McCarthy, a compulsive tweeter with an eye for trivia, is suggesting that in the upcoming Barnsley Central a suitable Labour candidate would be the local councillor, Tim Cheetham. If so, the hand of history could be on this man's shoulder.

Guido Fawkes's incendiary language sparks academic interest

The right-wing blogger, Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, is jumping up and down with delight at being mentioned in the Oxford journal Parliamentary Affairs. The opening words of the article give you an idea of its tone: "The 1990s e-democracy paradigm was preoccupied with the creation of deliberative spaces..." etc. Further down, the authors observe that "Guido Fawkes had insults in 63 per cent of its posts. Some unacceptable content was removed by the moderator yet posts containing [an extremely rude phrase about Gordon Brown] were left.... This level of offensive language was extremely rare in any of the other blogs." For Staines this is a real "Hey, someone's noticed me" moment.

Goodbye to the Lib Dem who met an alien on Winchester High Street

Yesterday's Hampshire Chronicle has an exclusive that Winchester Lib Dems have been "hit" by the resignation of one of their councillors, Adrian Hicks.

This is the same councillor who once claimed to have met an extraterrestrial in Winchester High Street, and posted on the internet a 27-minute speech in which he called upon a secret cabal of scientists, military officers and politicians, called Majestic, to admit that they have been in contact with aliens since a spaceship crashed one earth in 1947. I doubt his resignation has hit the Lib Dems hard.

Addition of a new peer signals healing of ancient Tory differences

Old rivalries were buried when Tina Stowell, the BBC's head of corporate affairs, took her seat this week as Baroness Stowell of Beeston. She ran William Hague's office when he was Tory leader. The peers who introduced her were Lord Coe, Hague's old chief of staff, and Lord Hill, who was John Major's political secretary. When the Tories elected William Hague in 1997 it was with the conscious aim of burying the Major legacy. Now they are friends again.

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