The increasingly lame Maily Telegraph has today figured out that the Tories are sending rather a lot of MPs and activists to Newark-on-Trent to see off Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers from UKIP and thereby ensure holding on to the constituency, following the by-election precipitated by the departure of Patrick Mercer. They’re a little slow on catching up here.
Grant Shapps: one dodgy motah duly sold to the gullible fool from the Spectator
Because the campaign effort, overseen by party Chairman Grant “Spiv” Shapps, had already been covered in fawning detail on Monday by the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole at the Spectator. Master Cole – who normally hides behind the persona of Mr Steerpike when contributing to the Speccy – had supposedly been grilling Shapps, but came away conned into writing a puff piece.
Moreover, his article shows once again that the Tories are in hock to organisations in the vanguard of the New Conservatism, something that will be music to the ears of their opponents. One look at the photo accompanying Cole’s optimistically titled “Grant Shapps has built an activists’ team to fight for the Tories in Newark – and in 2015” tells you all you need to know.
I can't get conned, cos I'm on telly!
There at the front, alongside Shapps and MPs like populist Rob Halfon, is one Mark Clarke (on the right, and indeed on many peoples’ right), who stood against Sadiq Khan in Tooting in 2010, only to be kicked off the Tories’ prospective candidates list soon afterwards. Clarke has been active within the Young Britons’ Foundation (YBF), the self-styled “Conservative Madrasa” led by Donal Blaney.
The idea of Shapps’ “Team 2015” and “Road Trip 2015” is to get lots of extra activists into constituencies the Tories need to hold or win in order to gain a majority in next year’s General Election. The YBF’s idea has always been to get “ideologically sound” Conservatives (note “Conservatives”, and not necessarily “Tories”) into all walks of public life. Cole does not tell his readers about this.
So, alongside populists like Halfon are those trained by the YBF, whose CEO is in favour of dismantling the NHS and providing health care on the US model (which yields less good outcomes and costs almost twice the percentage of GDP). Such mere details are not covered by Cole – himself a good friend of the YBF – who would rather sell the idea of young activists finding love while campaigning.
Yes, join the Tories and cop off during a by-election campaign – a desperate ruse to sell activism from a desperate party Chairman. And what nobody seems to have noticed is that in Newark the Tories are defending a whopping 16,000 majority. Mercer scored over 53% of the popular vote last time. Pouring hundreds of bodies into the place is not a sign of strength, but of desperate weakness.
And all the while, the Tories are dependent on right-wing entryists. Not a good sign.