The true cost of the Conservatives problems in South West Norfolk may not be known for some time yet

The local news today has been full of the smiling face of Liz Truss in the wake of the confirmation of her selection as Tory candidate for South West Norfolk. Congratulations to her. However, depite the seemingly "resounding" victory she achieved, it seems there was a price in terms of how many people in South West Norfolk Conservatives feel further alienated from David Cameron and Mrs Truss, and also in financial terms.

It appears, from reading e-mails sent to me and from comments to my blog, that Mrs Truss appears to have won her victory very much on the back of a concerted campaign from Conservative Central Office. People have commented on being phoned several times from a phone bank (presumably in London), and a massive "Get Out The Vote" campaign also being run from CCO. This, of course, does not come without its costs. But what is the cost to Mrs Truss locally ?

If comments I have received are anything to go by, there a a good number of Tories in South West Norfolk who feel absolutely disgusted by the methods and tactics of the Tory party in London who have in effect forced an A lister with no local roots on to them, in great part by intimidating locals by saying that they would in effect impose another candidate on South West Norfolk if they dared deselect Mrs Truss.

One wonders what a good candidate with strong local credentials might be able to achieve in South West Norfolk if they chose to stand as an independent if Mrs Truss's party fail to back her with the delivering and canvassing required at the next general election. The so called "Neanderthals" and "turnip Taliban" might just choose to send the Tory party a message in response to the barbs the Conseravatives have thrown at the good people of Norfolk.


Linda Jack said...

It is ironic isn't it, the champions of localism wanting to control from the centre. I often quote an old friend - we need to be tight on values then we can be loose on everything else, but often we are loose on values and tight on everything else! This betrays the reality of Tory values, it is a metaphor for the consequences of a Tory government - leave the locals to make a decision? Never!

And let's not be deceived, this betrays the hard underbelly of the Tory party - already having resulted in a Lib Dem win in Bedford........March, April or May election may not quite turn out the way they expect :-)

Anonymous said...

Interesting Nich. If people were called from London then there had to be access to the Association's database. I understand that an offence may have been committed by letting a third party have information stored on that database. If anyone who was called is concerned about this they can contact the Information Commissioner on 08456 30 60 60 or 01625 54 57 45 or log on to www.ico.gov.uk and ask them to investigate. This is something that puzzled me when Mrs Truss was supposedly going round S W Norfolk knocking on people's doors. How on earth did she know who to contact without the members' list or was it extrasensory perception?

Anonymous said...

It seems to me very hypocritical to want a revote after a slimy article by the Daily Mail. After all,there were 6 candidates in the selection meeting,and Liz Truss was deemed to be the best candidate on the night. To have a sudden change of mind smacks of oppurtunism and factionalism.

People in GB are basically decent,and I'm sure that they will be very sympathetic to Liz Truss after having to go through this unpleasant ordeal.

Anonymous said...

This "best performance on the night" rubbish has got to be dealt with. The 'A' list candidates are given lessons in public speaking and acting and have a tribe of researchers helping them with the possible questions that might come up giving them impressive answers to hoodwink the stupid. It would be inconceivable for an 'A' lister, however unsavoury, not to give an Oscar winning performance. Let's say this once and for all, if the selection committee had been dealt a straight hand by the CCO and given all the information they required on the night they would not have voted for her. And to fold now shows how easy it was for CCO to manipulate and intimidate the local Tories. Let's hope the wider electorate aren't so stupid and sheeplike.

I note in the EDP today that Ms Truss has announced her intention to leave her children in London for their education thus at a stroke announcing she intends to treat her Greenwich house as her main residence. Christopher Fraser/Liz Truss - spot the difference. Oh no, that's right there isn't any. Another absentee MP hits Swaffham.

And please don't insult anyone's intelligence by saying she'll cart the kids up to Norfolk at the weekends. My children want to see their friends at the weekend. They like going to birthday parties and other social occasions at the weekend and I would not dream of denying them that. It would be to turn them into social pariahs amongst their friends and that would be very cruel. What's wrong with Ms Truss making a proper life for her family in Norfolk?

Anonymous said...

What a load of speculative bollocks.She has been voted for twice,the second time in spite of the most negative publicity you could imagine.

Anonymous said...

The problem with the Tories is that they do not learn from history. The last time they were in power sleaze brought them down and it will again. The Mail etc will not leave this type of story alone as it fascinates people as much as the expenses scandal. All it needs is for Cameron to mention 'family values' or 'support for marriage'and Liz Truss will be all over the papers again.
Tip for DC- have a word John Major and he will tell you about 'back to basics'.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

I'm still amazed by one factual statistic, which has to come from official Tory sources: Ms Truss was endorsed by 132-37.

So: after the most extraordinary few days in recent SW Norfolk Tory history, there were just 169 paid-up votes.

Not surprisingly, those who think in terms of political machines hit on the tension between centralizing power (in this case, Tory Central Office) and local activism (here, the "Turnip Taliban"). I remember the reach and grasp of the Norfolk squirearchy half-a-century gone: so, I would suggest that far more significant is the dynamised Tory membership in SW Norfolk being reduced to a couple of double-decker bus-loads.

Furthermore, we can reasonably extrapolate from that Association vote. A fifth of the core SW Norfolk Tories feel roughed up, put upon, and are sufficiently pissed off not to be too vigorous in supporting their "official" candidate. UKIP doubled their vote last time: next Spring they could erode another 3-5,000 Tories who have nowhere else to go (that could be half the notional majority).

Conclusion: SW Norfolk will need a substantial tranche of "Lord" Ashcroft's dosh: after all, having imposed their chosen one, Central Office must regard this constituency as a "dare-not-lose" marginal. For any Labour or LibDem candidate, exposed to the inevitable metropolitan media glare, this one -- win, or more likely, lose -- is a real opportunity.

Richard T said...

I noticed on the Wardman Wire that a job which appears to be the same as that currently occupied by Ms Truss is being advertised. Perhaps the people of South West Norfolk might revert to their old voting habits and do different to punish the early counting of chickens.