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Sunday 17 May 2015

Montgomerie Under Fire

Now that Young Dave and his jolly good chaps have secured an overall Commons majority, there is talk of the Tories being unleashed, free of Coalition restraint, to go after all manner of enemies, and of course the BBC. But what Cameron’s victory has also meant is that those who had been indifferent about his prospects, or even critical of the campaign, are now finding the heat turned up on them.
And that brings us to the serially clueless Tim Montgomerie, long ago promoted way beyond his abilities as a result of crawling to Creepy Uncle Rupe and securing a well-remunerated berth at the no-longer-paper-of-record Times. Monty has long been associated with Michael Ashcroft, especially when he was running Conservative Home, and both have been less than enamoured with Lynton Crosby’s campaigning.

Lynt did not mince his words: “I've been around politics a long time … And I’ve seen people entitled to comment as they wish but some of the commentators, who claimed to be Conservative supporters - like Tim Montgomerie from The Times - I think in the end, became slightly gratuitous participants … I do think it’s fair to say in politics – those who can do and those who can't commentate”. Ouch!

But what is most damaging for Montgomerie is that he has been linked to an anonymous commenter at ConHome called Ridley Grove. Yet more damaging is that the Mail On Sunday has - uncharacteristically - gone after a pundit at another paper, breaking the code of press omertà. “Who WAS Poison Pen attacking PM on Tory site? Dirty tricks row erupts over comments made on website run by Lord Ashcroft” is the headline.

The MoS sums up the row: “The outbursts on the ConservativeHome website were made by an anonymous contributor calling themselves ‘Ridley Grove’ … The dispute surrounds a leaked email which shows that the founder of ConservativeHome, Tory opinion-former Tim Montgomerie, contacted Conservative HQ from an email address bearing the same name”. So how does the Murdoch retainer plead?

Monty’s excuse does not convince: “Montgomerie admitted he created the Ridley Grove account … But he denied writing the posts, saying: ‘I understand why some people might think that but there is an innocent explanation’ … He said he set up the account to enable ‘Ridley Grove’ to post anonymously to protect his position at a think tank … And he again refused to reveal the poster’s true identity”. A big boy did it and ran away.

Montgomerie’s problem is not only that he has enemies on the right - both from his lukewarm attitude to Cameron, and his “good right” project, which has seen many in the Tory Party recoil in horror, but in the left-leaning and independent punditerati. If he fell from grace, the Tories wouldn’t miss him. And the only thing the likes of myself would be bothered about would be having one less target to take the piss out of.

The age of Tim Montgomerie was for a short time, and certainly not for all time.

1 comment:

rob said...

The Rat's Desserts?