The Tories remain the party of the rich, in the view of the voters and in reality

Don’t you really hate people who are proved to be right, who say “I told you so”, and then return weeks after the event to make sure that everyone knows just how right they were?  I hate people like that, so it is surprising that I say to you, “I told you so”, “I was right”.  A poll in today’s Independent says that voters think that the Tory Party is a party for the rich, with 52% agreeing that “a Conservative Government would mainly represent the inetersts of the well-off rather than ordinary people”.

Well you heard it here first.  Back on November 12th, I wrote “All new Tory Party: only investment bankers, Lloyds brokers, and management consultants need apply”. On November 30th I posted a blog entitled “Double barrelled problems for rich, non dom Tories”. On December 12th I wrote “Today’s Tory Party remains remains anti-environment, anti-Europe, anti-gay, pro-rich, pro-bankers, and pro-toff” .  In each I highlighted the class-bias of David Cameron’s ‘New’ Conservative Party.

What the Indi’s poll confirms is that the Tories cannot shake off their image of being the party of “rich toffs”.  My November 12th post included the paragraph “Clearly the Tory’s polling must suggest that the party is seen as Tory toffs: Eton, Bullingham Club, double barreled names. Earlier in the week I posted how the Tories were advising their candidates to drop double barreled names.  So Brighton Kemptown candidate, Simon Radford-Kirby is no plain Simon Kirby, failed candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Digby Seaman-Scott, presented himself  as plain Digby Scott”.

Cameron, and for that matter Radford-Kirby and Charlotte Vere, should be worried.  The “playing fields of Eton” line worked well, and the Tories attempts to ‘class-down’ their true credentials is, and will continue to haunt them.  The alternative is no less damaging, being identified as the pro-rich Party, while trying to justify the tax arrangements of ex-non-doms.

Cameron Squirming on that 4 letter word – Eton

I have just sat through an excruitiating interview with David Cameron on the BBC Politics Show,  Where he looked most ill at ease was when Jon Soppel asked him why, on the Conservative Party website, did it mention the schools attended by all Shadow Cabinet members when they attended state schools, but when an individual had attended a private school, the school was not mentioned.

Cameron first did not answer the question, then he said he did not understand it. He finally said that the website would be fixed.  Throughout he said there was no secret as to where he was educated. But even then he did not mention the 4 letter word, E-T-O-N.  (I suspect that when ‘fixing’ the Tory website, the comprehensive schools attended by Hague, Fox, et al will be removed rather than Eton being added). 

Clearly the Tory’s polling must suggest that the party is seen as Tory toffs: Eton, Bullingham Club, double barreled names. Earlier in the week I posted how the Tories were advising their candidates to drop double barreled names.  So Brighton Kemptown candidate, Simon Radford-Kirby is no plain Simon Kirby, failed candidate in Brighton Pavilion, Digby Seaman-Scott, presented himself  as plain Digby Scott.

Brighton Pavilion candidate, Chuck Vere, responded by saying she is simple Charlotte Vere.  (I detect she does not appreciate being constantly referred to by this blog as ‘Chuck’ – I am just trying to help her and the Tories look ordinary, everyday folk). I can confirm that Chuck Vere is not the Vere-Seaman-Digby-Weale-Chirnside-Firth IV of the Royal London Borough of Uppity Class, referred to in an earlier post!  Nor did she go to Eton.  I am sure her impressive website will give a full biography in due course.

Some thoughts for Nancy, Caroline and Chuck

Here are some of my thoughts about the three candidates in Brighton Pavilion.

On issues of poverty, employment, even the economy, Nancy Platts has the advantage. This is her bread and butter. She is working tirelessly, being seen at events and meeting residents every day. She has the advantage of living on the constituency and enjoys increasing name recognition.

Caroline Lucas, for all we know, might have an equally strong track record as Nancy on , but she is not known for it locally. Other than being the leader of the Greens and an MEP for the south east, she isnt really getting through locally. As leader of the Greens she is excellent, but that is a mixed blessing. She will have increasing name recognition but she is and will be distracted and taken away from Brighton Pavilion.

Will the result be all about green politics? I doubt it. Nancy would be well advised to avoid trying to out-green the Greens and the Tories. No matter how good her green credentials are, and they are impressive, this is an issue where she will come third. She should let Caroline and Charlotte slug it out, hopefully from her perspective splitting the green vote.

Caroline Lucas is yet to counter the allegation of being remote and distant. She isn’t even doing the simple things right. For example, when writing to residents in Brighton Pavilion in her capacity as an MEP, she still uses a London address rather than one in Brighton Pavilion. It isn’t a big thing but it all goes towards creating an impression.

As for Charlotte, it is very early days. The open primary was, stating the obvious, great for her but does not seem to have given the Tories the ‘bounce’ they may have hoped for. She is in Brighton today looking at properties to rent or buy. This will give her an advantage over Caroline Lucas. With just 6 months to the election she won’t have time to draw level with Nancy Platts in this respect.

Class-wise, Charlotte is no Mary Mears or Maria Caulfield. She may struggle, as might Caroline, in Hollingdean and other estates in the constituency. Digby Seaman Scott tried (unsuccessfully) by becoming plain old Digby Scott. Perhaps Charlotte might try something similar. How about becoming known as Chuck?

Brighton Pavilion: I apologise for getting it so wrong

Charlotte Vere has been selected as the Tory candidate in Brighton Pavilion. Throughout the process I had predicted a one horse race with Tory insider Digby Scott certain to win. He had had a head start and was well resourced. In the event he was knocked out in the second ballot.

Charlotte Vere is the first woman Conservative ever to be selected in Brighton Pavilion. It makes the Brighton Pavilion fight even more fascinating with three strong women candidates: Labour’s Nancy Platts, Green Caroline Lucas, and now Tory Charlotte Vere.

Congratulations, Charlotte. Please accept my apologies.

Brighton Pavilion: One thoroughbred and five lame donkeys

Tomorrow is the so-called ‘open primary’ to select the Conservative candidate for Brighton Pavilion. I have spoken to 3 people who applied for tickets but have heard nothing. I personally didn’t even bother . In an earlier post I said that the ‘open primary’ is closed to most people, either through advertising wrong phone numbers or wrong email addresses.  It has been a shambles, deliberate or otherwise.

The reality is that this is a one horse race. Digby Scott was was out of the starting stalls and had a substantial lead well before the other five candidates even knew they were shortlisted. Some have yet to find the starting stalls.  Little has been seen or heard from any of the other five, although the only local candidate, Andrew Wealls, was seen leafletting in Regency Ward.

Even if you have, somehow, managed to get a ticket for the Grand Hotel tomorrow night, don’t waste your time.  This is a stitch up. This time tomorrow, Digby will be the candidate for Brighton Pavilion, and he will be able to continue his slick campaign that he launched in October while five lame donkeys were still enjoying the last of the summer sun.

Brighton Pavilion – ensuring that ‘Open Primary’ is closed to outsiders

There is a lady living in Crawley who is really fed up with Digby Scott. On his website, the candidate who professes to be local didn’t get the dialing code for Brighton correct. Rather, he lists a Crawley number on his website, Crawley being 01293 as opposed to 01273 which, as locals will know, is the Brighton code.

Digby, you owe her an apology and perhaps a bunch of flowers.

The number given is supposed to be the one needed to book a place at the Open Primary meeting for Brighton Pavilion this Wednesday evening. I tried the 01273 version, but it just rang and rang. I tried to reserve a place at the Open Primary using the email address published in the Argus, but all that produces is the following Mail System error –  “This Message was undeliverable due to the following reason: Each of the following recipients was rejected by a remote mail server. The reasons given by the server are included to help you determine why each recipient was rejected. Recipient: <> Reason:    Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable”. 

Great work. One might begin to wonder how ‘open’ this selection process actually is. Is it that Digby and Conservative Central HQ only want carefully handpicked attendees?