Of all the people that could have been made chairman of the Tory Party, some bright spark must have thought that Grant “Spiv” Shapps (aka Michael Green) was a good choice. Sadly, this amateur human being turned out to be the modern day equivalent of Joe Walker, Flash Harry, and Arthur Daley rolled into one. But chairman he is, and so chairman’s speech he had to give today.
Roll up ladies and gents, on sale today only
Sadly, Shapps may be good at selling the dodgiest of motahs, but sounding coherent and sincere in his role as Tory chairman is beyond him. But his clumsy delivery today has been most useful in confirming one thing: Lynton Crosby is calling the shots behind the scenes. Shapps underscores this at the beginning, with a call for his party to rise from their collective slumber.
“I know the summer is not a traditional time for political speech, so apologies for rousing you from your deck chairs, but there is a certain urgency to what I want to say and less than two years left to get this message across”. As Benedict “famous last words” Brogan revealed yesterday, Crosby has been imposing earlier starts and longer hours on the Tories. That’s where Shapps’ reference comes from.
Man with hand up chairman's back
Another Crosby tell-tale is the direct and blatant use of dishonesty, and Shapps pulled this one next: “I’m not making this up – Labour has actually been working on this policy, which, taken to its logical conclusion, could allow prisoners, serving a life sentence at Her Majesty’s Pleasure, to be entitled to housing benefit [and] exploit the Human Rights Act to secure their newfound human rights to claim welfare”.
Yes folks, he’s not making this up, one careful owner, lovely runner, I’ll even throw in six months’ tax, now you can’t say fairer than that. But seriously, that’s the same kind of crap that Crosby was pulling with Bozza’s re-election campaign, with such corkers as “Ken admits Boris has built many more affordable homes than he ever did. A record 50000 in first term” (the net, and verified, number was rather less).
Then there is the exhortation not to go back to some horror story revision of what the previous Government did: with the London Mayoral election, it was “Imagine going back to the days when ...”. Now, it’s “handing the keys right back to the people who crashed the economy in the first place. Same Old Labour forcing Brits to live the pain again”. And Free Schools would be closed, to which many will respond “Meh”.
So there you have yet more evidence that Lynton Crosby is driving the Tory policy van. And, talking of vans, I do hope the UKBA staff and their “Go home” vans are spreading their search for those overstaying their visas across all racial groups. Like Australians. Not that I’m suggesting Lynt might not have got his visa up to date, you understand. I mean, imagine going back to that sort of thing!
Or, in other words, exactly what Crosby has got the Tories doing right now.