Sunday, 26 July 2009

Revealed - Tories quite nice after all

Also on the subject of the Tories, the Guardian has an online piece about Marjorie Ellis Thompson, a former CND Chair and a former head of Comms at the Commission for Racial Equality joining the Tory party. Leaving aside the question as to how anyone committed to unilateral disarmament could square that with joining the Tories (and yes, I know Labour ditched unilateralism too, more than two decades ago actually, but that doesn't make the Tories the answer for a unilateralist, does it?

Also leaving aside the question of how anyone with a commitment to equalities could be comfortable in a Tory party which has consistently opposed equalities legislation, including Labour's new Equalities Bill, and a leader with a very poor voting record on these issues (look at the votes, not the spin)... Not to mention her desire to see General Pinochet arrested; let's hope she doesn't bump into Pinochet-medal wearing Norman Lamont, currently advising the Tories on economic policy, anytime soon. Or Thatcher for that matter.

What's interesting to me, more interesting than the fact that a former CND Chair has done a Melanie,* is the fact that this piece has appeared in the press, and in the Guardian of all places. Was Ms Ellis Thompson suddenly filled with evangelical zeal and a desire to convert those lefty Guardian readers to the cause of righteousness, all of her own accord and without any prompting? I very much doubt it...

It seems painfully transparent to me that this effort has been cobbled together by Coulson or one of his team, in a bid to convince wavering lefties that the Conservatives are quite cuddly really, once you get to know them. "Unlike the New Labour high command, my background in the CND is something my local party welcomes"... "The party is small, only 47 members, but it is extremely diverse in gender, ethnicity and sexuality".... "I was also extremely impressed when, addressing a group of British American Project alumni, Cameron made a veiled critique of the so-called special relationship and said: "You can be a friend, but a critical friend."

And then this, the coup de grace: "At one local meeting in autumn 2007, the arts administrator said she didn't think the post office should be privatised, she supported the NHS and she felt that the privatisation of the rail services (admittedly not New Labour's fault) had been a disaster. I agreed with all these points and told her she had spelled out exactly why I felt at home in the local party."

The message is clear - if you think New Labour is too right wing, there's a place for you in Camberwell and Peckham Tories, who will be fighting the next election on a platform of unilateralism, renationalising the railways, a publicly-owned Royal Mail, increased investment in the NHS and support for minorities whatever their creed, colour or sexual orientation.

*'Doing a Melanie', named in honour of Melanie Phillips, i.e. becoming progressively more right-wing and more mad as you get older, although progressive is almost certainly the wrong word. The opposite of 'doing a Tony'.

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