10/30/2009

A week with the Tories - What does it tell us about them ?

It is fascinating how the Conservative party has tried to paint itself in David Cameron's image as something new and shiny that should be trusted at a time when politicians cannot be trusted to tell the truth. However, the last seven days tell us just how much of this image is wrong.

Let's start in Norfolk. In South West Norfolk the Tories were selecting a new candidate to stand in the safe Tory seat of South West Norfolk. Their selection effectively decides who will be the next MP in this seat. Now David Cameron likes to tell us how the Conservative Party has changed, how it is opening itself up, how it is letting the electorate make real decisions. He trumpets the so called "open primary" as a sign that the Tory Party is opening itself up. However, these open primaries are being used almost exclusively in seat where the sitting MP has stood down directly because of s scandal over expenses, meaning the "open primary" can help cleanse the Tory party's reputation in that area or alternatively they are being held in marginal seats where the use of the primary can win over a few more wavering voters.

In South West Norfolk there was no open primary. David Cameron's pledges about opening up democracy, how the Tory party was changing, and how local people could be allowed to make real decisions went out of the window. The sham of what David Cameron says, and how the Tories really act was shown for all to see.

Then we saw just how hypocritical the Tory Party really is in the wake of the selection of Elizabeth Truss as their candidate. Despite "openness" being their new watchword, the closed meeting of Tory members was not briefed on who had made the shortlist meaning that local Tories did not have a chance to find out the full details on who the candidates were. Then, upon being selected, it was revealed that their chosen candidate had had an 18 month affair with a married Tory MP, which she failed to mention at the meeting, the Tory Party showed itself to be as hypocritical as any party could be.

The leadership, ignoring their pledge towards openness, said that it was in the public domain and the candidate had their full support. The local party, feeling they had been lied to, referred her selection back to the Tory Party members in South West Norfolk and, as yet, we are not to know whether she will or will not be the Tory candidate.

In short this whole affair tells us that openness and honesty cuts only one way with the Tories. It is used to whitewash the Tories words. I don't much care if the Tory had an affair or not. It is her business. However, if you are claiming to be honest and open, you have to be exactly that and not expect people to have to look up your past on the internet.

Then switching from the East to the West, we have the example of the Tories in Cornwall and their "honesty" and "openness" when campaigning. Last week, Caroline Righton, the Conservative candidate in Newquay and St Austell misrepresented her Lib Dem opponent to electors. You can find chapter and verse on it all HERE.

Now everyone makes a mistake, and Caroline Righton appears to have made a big mistake in smearing her opponent. The deliberate insertion of a swear word in to a statement made by the Lib Dem candidate is childish. The forwarding of this false statement to electors is blatant low level dirty campaigning. But it could all be settled of Caroline Righton simply issued an apology, contacted those people who received her false information to make sure they understood it was an error and she apologised, and perhaps she could also have the guts to speak to the press and explain to them what she did without refusing to comment on what she has done.

The question is though, why a someone who uses the Tory mantra of fighting a positive and honest campaign can justify to herself telling untruths, peddling muck about her opponent and then refusing to apologise unless the simple truth is that the "positive and honest" campaign is just a means to an end. In fact the aim is not to be truthful, honest or positive, but instead to appear to be so in order to win at any cost.

Moving back from the West towards the Midlands, we read about two Tory councillors caught being unpleasant about fellow councillors in the Cotswolds. Two Tory councillors referred to Lib Dem councillors as "morons" on an internet forum. Did they apologise ? Did they offer an excuse ? No. Instead they claimed that one of their Facebook friends must be a Lib Dem sympathiser, and then ranted that it showed how "low the Lib Dems would go". So no apology, not reason given. Their abuse is forgotten in their foaming at the mouth to attack the Lib Dems again.

Finally we move back towards London for our geographical tour of the Tories behaviour. Watford Tories have returned to their usual form in spreading lies and innuendo about the actions of the Lib Dems in Watford. Before we start, let's remember that it was the former Watford Tory candidate who was found guilty of running a hate campaign against the Lib Dems in Watford just a few months ago, so you might have imagined the Tories would show more care and sensitivity when campaigning in Watford. But apparently not. The Tory headlines read "Lib Dems ban parents from playgrounds". The truth, as you can read HERE is completely different. That doesn't stop the Tories in Watford from blathering about this as a case of "political correctness gone mad". Sadly, it appears that child protection issues are something, even in the wake of the Baby Peter case that the Tories still feel they can make political capital from.

So aside from worrying parents, from stirring up distrust of the council, telling lies about the Lib Dems and seeking to undermine measures to protect children, what have the Tories achieved ? Well they have gained publicity for their candidate. Their "To hell with the truth and honesty" view to politics knows no shame.

So what do we learn about the Tories from this week ?

They tell lies. They don't apologise. They mislead people. They will refuse to comment when pressed on their smears. They know no boundaries and will use issues of child protection as a means of gaining votes, and actually honest, truthful and positive campaigning are just words.

3 comments:

Quiet_Man said...

"They tell lies. They don't apologise. They mislead people. They will refuse to comment when pressed on their smears. They know no boundaries and will use issues of child protection as a means of gaining votes, and actually honest, truthful and positive campaigning are just words."

Sounds like politicians everywhere.

Norfolk Blogger said...

That's my point, in a way, but actually not all are like this. The Tories are trying to sell them selvse as none of those things, but everything they does reinforces it. But so hopeless are this government that people are prepared to but it on the basis that the other product is just as bad.

Anonymous said...

Presumably totally unlike Charles Kennedy concealing a drink problem for a long time.

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