Thursday, 26 June 2008

Cameron's worst week?

Six hours on the sofa and I can proudly report I'm down to 12 emails in my inbox, only one of which could conceivably be dealt with tonight. By way of light relief, here's a little something from Matthew Parris' column in today's Times:

The blow that wasn't
Brownites look away: what follows is directed only to Conservatives. Isn't it lovely, fellow Tories, after all these years, when media bias starts to work our way for a change? This month David Cameron has faced a serious and continuing sleaze row about his MEPs' expenses, dragging in both his (former) group leader and (former) group chief whip; his party chairman is under investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards; and a key aide in his London mayoral team has had to resign after a (silly) “race row”. Oh - and his Shadow Home Secretary has quit not just the front bench but his parliamentary seat.

But has the headline “Cameron's worst week ever” appeared anywhere? Have those telltale journalistic clich├ęs “fresh blow”, “new setback”, “yet another”, “plunged deeper”, “reeling” or “hapless” surfaced in the newspapers?

Don't you think that what we like to call the news is really a kind of topiary? The raw data are a shapeless wild yew bush, which we clip into peacocks, pigs or palaces, according to mood.


nickyboy said...

Cameron's worst week, that doesn't come close to losing your deposit and finishing behind the BNP.

Kerry said...

As ever, my timing is impeccable.

nickyboy said...

Seriously Kerry, I think you are out of touch as to how much people can't stand Gordon Brown. You have to ditch him.

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. Henley's proved Gordon is far more popular than Bananaman Owen of the Monster Raving Loony Party. While Harry Bear of The Fur Play Party took one helluva beating from Labour and two Miss GBs trailed well behind Gordo's gang. They even narrowly beat UKIP!
Surely this is a platform for recovery? Ho, ho, ho!

Kerry said...

Exactly. Top half of the table!
And it's still only mid-season.

Seriously though, it was obviously a very poor result for us, 'though we could probably have hauled ourselves up into third place if we'd run a proper campaign. I didn't even know the by-election was on until I asked a colleague why there were no Tories or Lib Dems at DIUS Qs on Thursday. They'd all pulled their questions to go to Henley. One exception, John Whittingdale rushed into the chamber with 2 seconds to spare; he'd been no. 24 on the order paper the day before, but had jumped up to no. 14 overnight. And some of those 14 had pulled too. (This is something you have to watch - you might think they'll never get to you, but sometimes they do).

Not to belittle the outcome for Labour, but it was Henley after all. Crewe and Nantwich was much more significant. The main lesson of this by-election is the damage a resurgent Tory party is doing to the Lib Dems. Several people who saw Question Time this week - TV, not PM's - have commented to me that the Lib Dems were wrong not to go for Chris Huhne, as he'd have put clear (what? yellow?) water between his party and Cameron's Conservatives. Doing a deal with DD over his by-election hasn't helped them either.