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Thursday 16 May 2013

Dorries And The Election Endgame

That went well, then: hardly had George Young caved in and given the Tory whip back to (yes, it’s her again) Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries, than she was displaying the kind of awkward squad behaviour – some might call it flagrant disloyalty – for which she is rightly, as Russell Harty might have put it, “famous, nay, notorious”. Yes, the fragrant Nadine is now courting UKIP.

That is, she is courting UKIP as well as remaining the Tories’ official candidate for the next General Election. Confused? Well, the thought did enter that she might be, but as Clive James may have said, I digress. Ms Dorries is suggesting that she should be permitted to run in 2015 and be endorsed by UKIP as well as her own party. Why this should be is not immediately apparent, but stay with me here.

Although she is sitting on an apparently comfortable majority of over 15,000, achieved last time with securing over 50% of the popular vote, as Unity at Ministry of Truth has pointed out, Tories recently polled were split on whether she should have been allowed back into the party. Moreover, most UKIP supporters prepared to venture an opinion backed the idea that she would make their party less credible.

Someone's starting to flap ... yes, it's her again

All of which suggests it would be possible for that Tory vote to become split, given a suitable inducement. So what might cause Mid Bedfordshire’s Tories to look elsewhere? Simples. A credible UKIP candidate would doubtless build on the mere 5.1% of their 2010 vote. And a single mainstream alternative to lever away less happy but more centrist supporters could do the trick.

That single mainstream alternative is already in place: step forward Lib Dem candidate Linda Jack, who took second place in 2010. Whatever populist credentials Ms Dorries puts forward, the Lib Dem matches them: former serving member of the armed forces, experienced former teacher and youth worker, trade unionist, and adviser to the Financial Services Authority.

Linda Jack: Popular and agreeable

If there was a serious chance of getting Dorries out, Labour might be persuaded to give Mid Bedfordshire a miss next time. None of this, though, seems to have permeated the fan club at places like the Spectator, where Isabel Hardman describes her as “probably the most interesting and warm politician I’ve ever interviewed ... in person she’s normal and friendly and funny”.

Of course, Isabel, because right now you are useful to her. Those who pick apart the routine Dorries dishonesty, call out her logic fails, and otherwise criticise her see a rather different picture: a manipulative, greedy, viciously vindictive player of the victimhood card who is in politics for one thing, and one alone: the continuing success of Herself Personally Now.

And UKIP are most unlikely to accommodate her wishes. Roll on 2015, then.

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