15 March 2009

Rawnsley’s important article! You're kidding me

This has just appeared on The Spectator’s Coffee House blog:

An important article by Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer, setting out the "clique of four" at the heart of the Tory party - David Cameron, George Osborne, Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton - and the deleterious monopoly they have on decision-making.  This passage outlines the extent of the problem:

"Some shadow cabinet members report that their leader can be good at soliciting the views of colleagues and treating their portfolios with respect. Others complain that they are so frozen out of the inner gang that they have never had the opportunity for a one-to-one discussion with him about their policy areas."

The claims of the latter shadow cabinet members flag up something Cameron should fix - and sharpish.  Not only will the current set-up foster internal resentment against the Tory leader, but it lessens the chances of the right decisions getting made and could create great vacuums in the party's thinking.  Indeed, there are worrying signs that those vacuums exist already.  I leave you with a quote from a shadow cabinet member, told to Rawnsley: "If you look at our legislative programme for the first year, it is a blank piece of paper."

What is so important about this?  Rawnsley’s article was a long rambling piece that said very little.  I just shrugged my shoulders and thought, ‘so what’.

What organisation is not run by a small group at the top?  Political parties are no different and never have been.  As to the sentence about the legislative programme being a blank sheet of paper.  So it should be at this stage.  No one knows when the election will be (not even Brown) and what state the economy will be in when it is called.

Sorry.  There is nothing in this article.  Move on.

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  1. Actually, the party policy isn't blank, it's simply dynamic rather than set in stone, for the very reason you correctly state.

    There seems to be an anti-Conservative drive on in the broadsheets today. Philip Johnson's item in the Telegraph was no better than Rawnsley's (possibly worse!), using incorrect assumptions and misleading figures; and this all suggests to me that there is real fear of a landslide Conservative win at the General Election to come.

    By the way: one useful clue about attitude is whether the writer refers to the party primarily as "Conservative" or "the Tories". If the latter, it's almost certainly someone with a strong Left-leaning personal bias, or under strict instructions from an employer with a just-as-strong corporate bias.

    There has been no UK party named "Tory" (or variant thereof) since the 19th century; and it is known to be used exclusively as a kind of insult. Therefore an impartial writer would generally avoid the term where possible.

  2. Agreed. I would also point out the it is not only the broadsheets that are having an anti-Conservative drive. The BBC is as well. See my earlier post on the Marr programme. Also see Dale's post on the same issue.

  3. I've always used the word tories for conservatives and don't consider it an insult in the least. Maybe it's an east of Scotland thing.

    EDB, now the tories will understand the years the SNP have had from so much bias from both the broadsheets and red tops. The Scottish papers are the worst.

  4. Rawnsley is a well-known left leaning journalist and friend of the Labour Party. Never believe a word he prints - and that often includes the stuff on PoliticsHome website.

    Quite correct, EDB, pinch of salt stuff!