All new Tory Party: only investment bankers, Lloyds brokers, and management consultants need apply

There has been an unprecedented response to yesterday’s blog regarding the Conservative shortlist for Brighton Pavilion. This blog was accused of taking ‘cheap shots’ at the six prospective candidates.  I promise not to take any cheap shots at them in this post.  I’ll leave them to do that themselves, by quoting from their own blogs or those that will have their blessing.

Charlotte Vere is the ‘Chairman-elect’ (sic) of the Conservative Women’s Organisation. On the CWO’s website is a report of the launch of the Richmond Park CWO which was, you will be relieved to hear “a resounding success”.  The report says “With 30 ladies in attendance and after a sumptuous buffet lunch, the group heard from the Association Chairman, Cllr Pamela Fleming, who organised the lunch, then from the Chairman-elect, Charlotte Vere. Lady Annabel Goldsmith has agreed to become President of the CWO Committee”.

Scott Digby has made the most impressive start, having launched his own website  he appears to have the most professional campaign.  Well, why not.  He is a management consultant.  “One of my clients is the Conservative Party where I act as their Commercial Director, managing their procurement processes, suppliers and the commercial side of the conference activity”. He has already engaged with this blog, providing a robbust and amusing response to last night’s blog which commented (took a cheap shot, actually) at him changing his name from Scott Seaman-Digby to plain Scott Digby. He signed his comment “Scott Whatever-you-wish-to-call-him”.

Mary Weale is joint MD of Lloyd’s Insurance Brokers, and clearly a candidate in search of a constituency having been included on the Hammersmith shortlist. In 2004 she was beaten by Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the former foreign secretary, when trying to become candidate in in Kensington. After that selection meeting one of the younger members of the association, Paula-Ann Hawkins said she was impressed by the youthful Ms Weale. “The average age in there was about 70. You could say Mary has youth on her side and she is so good she has time to get another seat. You could say that he [Sir Malcolm] had age on his side tonight,” Ms Hawkins said.

Last night I reported that Anna Firth has been described as “a leading campaigner” for better early years education. However, she started off her career in the City where she worked as investment banker for two years before changing to become a Barrister. She was called to the Bar in 1991 and specialised in medical negligence law (although it is unclear whether she represented victims or insurance companies).

Douglas Chirnside, as reported last night, is a TV producer. Does anyone know what else he has produced other than “Sex and Shopping”? (That is a cheap shot, BPB).

Finally, there is local Tory Boy, Andrew Wealls. Well not that local., having moved to Hove in the last couple of years from London. “Andrew Wealls worked in the investment management industry for almost 20 years, most recently at Barclays Global Investors where he gained experience in portfolio management, client relationship development and business planning and management”.

Investment bankers, an insurance broker, a barrister, a management consultant, and a lady who does scrumptuous lunches (while not forgetting Sex and Shopping) – this is David Cameron’s new Conservative Party, opening up the selection process to all comers. Thank goodness it doesn’t look like the old Tory Party that was made up of investment bankers, Lloyds brokers, and management consultants.  Nice one, David!

8 Responses

  1. Dear BPB,

    🙂 you are very funny! ‘Chair-elect’ of the Conservative Women’s Organisation where I currently live and shock horror the mother of our PPC wants to do her bit too? And that proves what exactly? I honestly think you are going to have to do a bit better than this.

    Yes, I am a key campaigner for environmental guru and Conservative candidate, Zac Goldsmith, (hence the connection to his mother) and up until the summer I was CEO of a socially responsible organisation helping people with depression and poor mental health. Yes, I have a business background and a MBA from a top global business school – and I am proud of both of those things – I think these two things and many others will make me a good candidate for MP for Brighton Pavilion.

    I am very much looking forward to meeting you.

    Best wishes,

    Charlotte Vere (Shortlisted candidate for Conservative PPC for Brighton Pavilion)

  2. Come now BPB, I was a buyer at M&S and better from a mirth point of view at Knickerbox before I became a ‘consultant’. The phrase ‘travelling in ladies underwear’ must have sprung to mind? Management Consultant is hardly a crime, or posh, or exclusive? Crikey now days some of the big firms employ consultants straight from university (never understood that – what do they consult on, essays?).

    Shall I extoll my charmingly cockney sparra’ virtues again? Seriously, I have had jobs from the shop floor to buying director, cleaned school toilets as a summer job when at uni, worked on building sites mixing plaster (quite a dab hand I have to say) and picked up litter at market sites. That said, when one raises one’s head above the parapet to stand for office it is expected to be shot at. Glad that by your reckoning the time I have spent in Brighton since 2001 probably qualifies me as equally local, on the ground pretty much 4 days a week at present and before the selection opened I was working down here on events.

    I am, going to enjoy the campaign I am sure if selected if the chatting today is anything to go by! The blogging environment is good (needs a strong Tory site though – hmmm who would do that well I wonder?) and I hope to meet you in person and say hello at some point.

    Thanks for the kind words on my campaign too. Hope you are registered for the primary if you live in Pavilion…



  3. BTW that’s my email address not site address. Any chance of an amend to give the site?



  4. OK BPB.. Today, unlike yesterday, your blog did actually make me smile, as did your recognition of your own cheap shots. So, I am not feeling in quite such an indignant mood today.

    You have certainly started to generate a bit of debate and it’s good to see one of the other shortlisted candidates involved as well. With reference to the comments on yesterday’s blog, I have to say that I certainly don’t see anything wrong with being polite. Or should I be worried – does having manners, being polite and being well brought up make me a Tory toff? If it does, it’s a good job I’m not standing..

    Hang on, I am not a banker though, or an insurance broker, or a lawyer or, for that matter, a management consultant, so actually maybe I’d be OK if I wanted to stand?

    But wait, my parents have their own house, I have an education, a degree and I have worked hard all my life to earn what I have. Damn. I should have thought about that hard work that I have done, in case I ever wanted to stand as a conservative PPC.

    I’m confused BPB – can you help me out? What or who should I be if I wanted to stand as a conservative PPC? I’m having a minor identity crisis.

    Here’s a thought.. What if I was a human being like everyone else; what if I had solid political experience; what if I had good business experience; what if I was eloquent, intelligent, cared about people, listened to people, had drive and determination and had proved that in what I have done with my life so far? What if I was prepared to act in the best interests of my constituents at all times? Would that make me a good PPC? If so, maybe we should concentrate more on what the candidates have to say for themselves and how they demonstrate that in their actions and less on their names and their jobs. Just a thought.

  5. […] for Brighton Pavilion continues, with Brighton Politics Blogger stirring up an unprecedented number of Tory comments to his/her blog. Good luck to the candidates, selections are a nerve wracking process. I must flag one issue I have […]

  6. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this lately, and I think it’s something that more people should be focusing on. We can’t expect to get anywhere if we just keep our heads buried in the sand.

  7. I like the style you took with this article. It’s not typical that you simply find a subject so concise and enlightening.

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