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Wednesday 3 March 2010

Smelling The Coffee In Belize – 3

For someone who gives the impression that he is media friendly, Young Dave is being strangely reticent when quizzed on the subject of Michael Ashcroft – something that has happened a lot this week, and is not about to go away. Sad to say, the Tory leadership appears not to get it. They might just do, and sooner than they think.

The admission forced out of Ashcroft on Monday, which I mentioned at the time, came because a Freedom Of Information (FoI) request was about to be answered. Given the “assurances” provided by Ashcroft to then Tory leader William ‘Ague, more questions have been raised, generally on the subject of what Master ‘Ague knew, and when he knew it, about Ashcroft not being “resident and domiciled” – with the tax benefit I touched on yesterday.

The Guardian has been asking a short list of questions of the Tory leadership, and will no doubt continue to ask, despite the stonewalling from the party. And it’s not just one paper: this week’s issue of Private Eye (number 1257, page 29) has a piece by “Slicker” which carries the suggestion that the Eye will be bringing the matter back to the table.

And, with the General Election maybe just nine weeks away, there will be the inevitable avalanche of FoI requests. So do the Tories not understand that having information forced out of them drip by incriminating drip in the run up to a poll that they are clearly desperate to win might just put the electorate off delivering that “Vote For Change” they crave? Or do they think they can bluff their way out of this corner and put off the requests until after they get into Number 10?

The best course of action appears to be this: come clean, answer all the questions, allow the media frenzy to run its course, and hope that it all gets forgotten two of three weeks down the line. And that Pa Broon sticks to an early May General Election.

Or are the Tories not such jolly clever chaps after all?

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