Monday, June 04, 2007

How Brady Saved the Tory Party From Portillo

Reading the Times Comment Central blog I was amused to see this quote from Michael Portillo's column in yesterday's Sunday Times.

Graham Brady, the party’s Europe spokesman, produced compelling evidence that on average all pupils in areas that have grammar schools do better than others elsewhere. Even those who fail the selection exam, and therefore go to comprehensive schools instead, do better. He refuted the Tory leadership’s argument that this is because grammar schools are found only in more affluent areas. Pupils in Trafford, where there are grammars, outperform those in Bury, where there are none, even though the cities are socially similar. Children “in leafy Oxfordshire”, wrote Brady (a dig at Cameron’s own constituents), “fail to reach the national average”. “Two brains” Willetts had been defeated on the evidence (but not necessarily the politics) by Brady, who always struck me as one of life’s plodders.
Now to the uninitiated, the 'plodders' insult will be taken at face value as just a cheap shot at Brady. It is, however, deeper than that, for it was Graham Brady who did the Conservative Party a great service and single-handedly prevented Michael Portillo from becoming its leader. It's clear that Portillo hasn't forgotten.

The story is that on the eve of the second ballot in the 2001 leadership contest Brady, who had been intending to cast his vote for Portillo, stopped Portillo in the corridor and sought reassurance that Portillo would not introduce all-women shortlists. Portillo failed to give him the assurance so Brady cast his vote for Iain Duncan Smith (I think). Portillo failed by a single vote to get into the membership ballot, which he would probably have won. And the rest, as they say, is history...
UPDATE: A reader kindly points out that Portillo did actually mention this in the next sentence in his article, but didn't give the reason...
Incidentally, Brady’s courageous defence of grammar schools, contributing
to Cameron’s limited U-turn, is at least his second decisive impact on the
history of the Conservative party. In the final hours of the 2001 leadership
campaign I failed to convince Brady to support me. I then lost by one vote to
Iain Duncan Smith.

62 comments:

Anonymous said...

and instead we have the useless Cameron!

The grammar school issue will cost the Conservatives the next election which could be as early as October 2007

Anonymous said...

To be fair, my recollection is that Portillo did mention that as well in his (not very good) column.

Anonymous said...

Yes, here’s the complete quote:

“Two brains” Willetts had been defeated on the evidence (but not necessarily the politics) by Brady, who always struck me as one of life’s plodders. Incidentally, Brady’s courageous defence of grammar schools, contributing to Cameron’s limited U-turn, is at least his second decisive impact on the history of the Conservative party. In the final hours of the 2001 leadership campaign I failed to convince Brady to support me. I then lost by one vote to Iain Duncan Smith.”

Anonymous said...

"S-A-S" Portillo - Man of a Thousand Crass Moments known to the German Defence Minister Volker Ruehe as Polly would have been a real shambles in any leading role in the Conservative Party - IDS was head and shoulders above him for integrity.

Portillo went to the same Gramar School as Diane Abbott I believe. Had he and Carolyn Eadie had children I should like to know if he would have followed the Diane Abbott route or the John Cruddas/Tony Blair route.

Someone should tell Portillo about the Tortoise and the Hare when he speaks of plodders .....they often surprise in politics

Anonymous said...

Brady also has form on another issue of conscience. He was one of those who insisted that the Conservative party have the right to stand candidates in northern ireland. this was before he became an MP. he was put under a lot of pressure by the party leadership at the time but held his nerve. this was all a long time ago and i'd need to have a good lie down before trying to recall it all. does anyone else remember? something to do with 'north down', i think, early nineties.

as for plodding, has portillo ever read the fable of the tortoise and the hare? can anyone remember any issue of conscience that he ever stood up for, apart from his own career?

Anonymous said...

My hairdresser keep telling me weird stories about Portillo - I don't believe them naturally...

Anonymous said...

Michael Portillo may be a wombat, but anyone who thinks he could have been worse than IDS really is living in Cloud Cuckoo Land!

Anonymous said...

Just when i thought Brady couldn't go down any further in my estimation - you tell us he's responsible for IDS! The only consulation is he'll still be bitching on the backbenches with your pal Derek Conway 10 years into Cameron's Govt!

Newmania said...

James Graham I was just about to say just that . IDS is the sort that moves his tongue when he is ironing and actually I quite like Portillo.Cameron has changed his spots and is a not dissimilar sort. Disraeli flip flopped all over the place and Churchill was at least one part self aggrandising trimmer. Brady is utterly wrong about Grammars and I think it might be nice Mr .Dale if you stopped stirring up the natives it seems to bring the worst out of the bucolic rump. .I wish everyone would stop posturing and drawing attention to themselves and knuckle down to the quite process of building a centre right consensus


sigh....

Ed said...

Mr Newmania this isn't the Labour party, we are allowed internal debates!

Plus, if the evidence points to non-grammar pupils doing better in grammar areas than in non-grammar areas, which bit is Brady wrong about?

Anonymous said...

Is the one on the right the novelty condom?

The Hitch said...

traford and Bury the same?
hahah
just go to rightmove.co.uk and type the post code wa14 in.
Houses within a 5 minute walk of Mr Bradys old school go for up to £7,500,000
Bury is a dump.
I still agree with him though.
And what a marvelous photo of miguel , why a cynic would probably think that you chose that to suggect that the hirsute SAS fetishist is a bit of a **** ****

Madasafish said...

Fascinating irrelevant article.

The Conservative Party involved in navel gazing is a sbad as the Labour Party involved in navel gazing.

Personally if I had been involve din any way in making IDS leader I would have kept it very quiet... but I guess a muppet has to do...

Anonymous said...

"those who fail the selection exam, and therefore go to comprehensive schools instead"

No iain, they go to secondary modern schools (which may call themselves comprehensine but they cannot be)

Inamicus said...

That looks like a very esoteric sex toy on the right...

Anonymous said...

But the big question is "How come portillo did not deliver us from Brady?" What an Arse. What a complete Arse. And maybe that's te answer?

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, you don't need to lecture me on this. I failed the 11 plus and went to a comprehensive, which HAD been a Secondary Modern.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Spitting Image Tebbit doll with lipstick on it. Or a peculiar shade of blood on the lips?

Anonymous said...

Portillo or IDS, it would have made no difference, we would still have had the same disloyal MP's stabbing them in the back.
Interesting that Mr Brady has yet again shown his totally lack of political acumen. In the state our party was in at that time, he was more interested in making sure that we did not introduce women shortlists, what a plonker.
Still he has managed to become the front man this time in a pointless and damaging exercise which has served to show us that he has not gained any real idea about how to be part of an opposition party whose aim should be fighting the government. He seems to prefer to lobing grenades at his own leader and colleagues instead. I hope the whips office keeps a copy of his highly damaging Boulton interview yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused by the update. Did you stop reading the article immediately after seeing the 'plodders' comment, thus completely missing the explanation in the next sentence?

Ah, the immediacy of blogging...

Anonymous said...

Iain, how did you come to fail the 11 Plus? Would it have been fairer at 13?

If you're going to fail it perhaps Mr Cam is right! Blimey, can't believe I wrote that.

Hughes Views said...

And what a gift IDS was to the Party - a shame for you that it was the Labour Party. Thanks again Mr Brady...

Tapestry said...

In February 2003 Portillo still held out hopes for seizing the leadership. He and his cronies launched a bitter attack on IDS about his handling of staff at HQ. The media smelled blood and IDS seemed vulnerable.

I plus a few mates ran a counteroffensive, and campaigned for Portillo's deselection in Kensington & Chelsea, accusing him of gross disloyalty to the Party leader.

It was reported that Portillo was warned by his own constituents to back off IDS, and the attacks in the media stopped overnight. You may have heard me on Radio 4 PM programme or on the Today programme.

Brady stopped him in 2001. Maybe the campaign we ran in 2003 finally stopped Portillo's ambitions to lead the Conservative Party.

When IDS fell in the autumn, the attacks were not from Portillo. Rupert Murdoch's editors were to the fore leading the IDS assassination.

If Brady is sent to the back benches, I hope he carries on finding holes in policy initiatives such as the grammar school ones. After all, isn't this what democracy is meant to be about? The Conservative Party looks the better for having dissenters who improve the policy initiatives from the centre.

Iain Dale said...

I hadn't read the Portillo article - I only saw the original quoted bit on Times Comment Central. Admittedly, I should have looked up the original. That'll learn me!

Anonymous said...

actually I quite like Portillo.

Newmania we have already determined that you have a problem - genetic engineering with your wife's chromosomes is supposed to produce a generational improvement

Colin D said...

Iain : I think your ultimate sentence ought to read Teach as opposed to learn!
grammar schools who needs them??

Iain Dale said...

I was using post-modern irony!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Cameron & Co have done a hard-nosed economic analysis of the cost-effectiveness of these Academies he is so keen on?

Any knowledge on this Iain?

Paul Linford said...

Much as you dislike Portillo, Iain, it would have been far less disastrous for the Tories if he rather than IDS had got into that final public ballot in 2001. Portillo for all his faults was regarded by the public as Prime Ministerial material, which IDS never was.

I am not at all sure Portillo would have won the ballot anyway - the membership deeply distrusted him by then and might have swallowed their euroscepticism and given Ken Clarke the job. Either way, your party would have been in a healthier state come 2005 than it actually was.

Colin D said...

Sorry Iain: I did think the error was done in haste. The wit was lost on me in the first instance. Just one of my many handicaps. One of the others being a "B" streamer from a secondary modern here.
I like the subtle droll. Pity it nearly got wasted on me!

Tapestry said...

Paul Linford - apart from IDS' supporting the Iraq war when he believed the false intelligence garnered by Blair and Campbell, it is always forgotten how well he was doing when he was 'assassinated'.

He had taken the Party from 20% behind Labour when he took over from Hague to 5% ahead. Howard never equalled this performance, and Cameron is only now eclipsing it, when Labour's popularity has gone through the floor.

IDS was the most recognised individual politician by all ages, well liked and respected in surveys.

He was got rid by a small balance of Conservative MP's, after two weeks of heavy handed propaganda against him, launched after the party conference. If the Murdoch editors had not gone for his throat, he would have survived and might well have won the 2005 election.

Under his aegis most of the new policy initiatives began - localism, decentralisation and the social justice agendas.

He was a poor presenter, but the fact that he cared was written all over his face. Against the falseness of Blair he was dynamite, and had a wide-ranging appeal to people in all parties.

Portillo would not have done any better.

Anonymous said...

I groaned when I read the Portillo article. He could possibly have won the next general election.
He's not everybody's favourite, but he has wide appeal and is a skillful communicator.
So he was stopped by a man called Brady. And this man emerges again to torpedo David Cameron.
When will the stupid berks on this site realise that you have to get into office before you can move any agenda?
With politicians like Brady and editors like Paul Dacre and Will Lewis (The Telegraph), the Tories will be in the wilderness for ever.
I urge fellow bloggers to boycott The Mail and The Telegraph until they start to support the Conservative Party.
By the way; I've been taking The Independent for the last three days. It's not bad!

Anonymous said...

Tapestry, anyone who can't remember his first name and makes up his second is always going to be a liability.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be pedantic, but Bury does indeed have a Grammar School. It goed by the title of "Bury Grammar School". Not the most imaginative of names, I'll grant you, but fairly easy to find for anyone who bothers to do a bit of research.

Anonymous said...

Portaloo still looking good but that dummy on the left is terrible.

Anonymous said...

I can't be the only disillusioned lifelong labour supporter who would have voted for Portillo if you Tories hadn't have shafted him. He seemed to talk sense to me, and probably to millions of others.

By the way. Where is Verity? I haven't seen her posts in ages and I'm missing them.

Ed said...

traford and Bury the same?

One wonders whether this difference has anything to do with people moving to Trafford for the schools?????

Liberal Neil said...

I'd be surprised if Oxfordshire pupils are below the national average - they might be if you only include state schools though - there is a very high number at private schools.

Anonymous said...

By the way. Where is Verity? I haven't seen her posts

She's deliriously happy with Laban Tall

title of "Bury Grammar School". Not the most imaginative of names, I'll grant you,

Good enough for the Finance Director of Tesco plc I believe

Anonymous said...

I urge fellow bloggers to boycott The Mail and The Telegraph until they start to support the Conservative Party.

I'd rather they became newspapers with content rather than Comics for Cameron

Anonymous said...

Portillo for all his faults was regarded by the public as Prime Ministerial material,

I would rather have Hazel Blears than Portillo - I still watch Bremner's "SAS Sketch" of the Caudillo at the Tory Conference.

How I loathe Portillo and his strutting little Galtieri Act

Anonymous said...

And ther's me thinking, that the reason why the Tories didn't want Portillo, was because they thought he was a dago poof.

Giles Marshall said...

Good grief tapestry, talk about rewriting history, which little fantasy world have you been inhabiting? IDS was a disaster as leader in two pretty fundamental areas. For the public, he never convinced as leader, and his set piece speeches at conference were greeted with derision. For his parliamentary colleagues, he never won their support, failing to impose his authority on them ,because he was, alas, a second rater. His only role before becoming leader had been as a rebel - not the best background for someone needing loyalty, unless they can make up for it with substantial amounts of charisma, and not even his best friends would claim he had that!

Portillo v. Clarke would have forced the tory grassroots to vote for a potential election winner, and it is to the MPs' shame that they sent a second rater into battle against a pro-European who was never going to be accepted by the party members.

Newmania said...

Ed , that bit about attention seeking was intended to be ironic . There are IMHO two parts to an answer .The first is that areas that retained Grammar schools do not do so by accident and the appearance of w good results in such areas is not unsurprising . You might conclude much from of N Ireland which carnage and mayhem aside produces excellent selective results because of its extremely conservative society. So these results can prove nothing and are at least to some extent being read the wrong way round. They suggest that our society has been badly served by forty years of progressive thinking but nothing about types of school specifically. I think to be kind to the Grammar enthusiasts it has come to stand for a golden age . A Conservative never believes in a golden age . You might just as well take your country back four centuries as they have in Iran. This is a Romantic and religious style of error that tends towards fascism
The second part of the answer is that theoretically Grammar school and secondary moderns probably would be better than what we have which is selection by wealth in an unaccountable bloated failing system. I am not comparing to the disaster New Labour have wrought but with what we can achieve and what is politically possible . Grammar schools are quite obviously not politically possible as no politician is seriously going to ask for a return o f the secondary modern . Such is the opposition of the teaching profession to even setting that despite its clear advantages it is only 30% present at the moment . Solutions are ‘composed of people not imposed of them’ . This is the Conservative response not unrealistic yearning however appealling
So we cannot go back to Grammar schools , there is no evidence that they actually improve results if you discount for the intake .They represent the wish of the lower middle classes to compete at the states expense with the Upper Middle classes and nothing to do with the 80% who will have no access ( but will be paying nonetheless) . This remnant will not have access because of the housing markets and the disintegration of the coherent society we once enjoyed
Grammar schools then have become a shibboleth of the lower middleclass and a tribal memory of the mythic 50s which has no relevance to today . The principle of selection can be maintained by setting but nothing will be possible without looking closely at the intake and the accountability of teachers .
This is my prescription briefly .

1 The NUT and teaching colleges are the progenitors of endless error . Part of anything positive must involve a clash with their interests. If at all possible national pay bargaining should be broken allowing for recruitment in unpopular subjects and better material in the first place.
2 The intake to Comprehensives is such now that widely different jobs are expected of teachers who become disillusioned and satisficing . The Lottery intake system over wide catchment areas together with a reform of examinations would provide all the testing required and vast amounts of “target “ based bureaucracy could be removed at a stroke .
3 The different performances at schools would then be transparent allowing for good practice to be shared and reinforced.
4 .The voucher idea would operate well at the margins spreading competition through the state sector which must remain the guarantor of a good standard for all. It has worked this way elsewhere .

None of this involves yet more increased spending which has done little or no good The great advantage is that having provided an approximation of equality of opportunity the moral case for a reduced state and benefit system is commensurately stronger. Personally I would favour the removal of charitable status at least from the Public schools which are not charities they seek to give even greater advantage to the privileged and operate as “Opportunity Monopolies” . They will directly undermine the market and competition that is required


The tattered flag of the Grammar school sentimentalists is perhaps an understandable emotional response . David Willets has obviously realised that serious discussion of where we go next cannot include this magic totem and he is to be applauded.

He and David Cameron deserve support on this . The Conservative Party has to have something to say about the whole Nation , not just 20% .

Newmania said...

BE BOPPER_.By the way; I've been taking The Independent for the last three days. It's not bad!

I agree with some of what you say but the Independent is a lifestyle magazine for women full of garbage. Read the New Statesman as i do to know your enemy but not this drivel it will rot your brain

Newmania said...

Tapestry I admire your sentiments but IDS was a buffoon . If you tell me he cunningly hid his light under a bushel I will admit he was a genius in the matter of diguise , but thats all. His job was presenting and he was appalling at it . In retrospect it was perhaps not his fault that the votes of 156000 Party members ( being so out of step with the country) undermined any authority he might have had with MPs but that is to say he should never have been leader in the first place.

I agree with you that he did show the way in concerning himself with the poor . I particular he recognised that the fight with the Unions was both won and forgotten. To have no compassion for those who lost out when the economy restructured looked heartless.

There are lots of well meaning people . I am one myself as no doubt are you. Hardly the point

Anonymous said...

I like Portillo too, newmania - he is drop dead gorgeous. Not sure what sort of leader he would have made though, as he would probably have spent all of his time polishing up his chat up routine.

Ed said...

That's all good Newmania I agree with 99% of what you are saying but why have a policy of NEVER?

If there are parts of the country where politicians do want to stand up and say "selective education works" why prevent them with a centralised policy?

Please see my posts on the subject for a more lucid explanation.

Tapestry said...

gm - i was at the party conference in 2003 at Blackpool. IDS' speech was inspirational. It was a great moment to experience. What a shame you heard the media reports which bore no relationship to the real event. The campaign to get rid of IDS was being put into effect, and to this day the media narrative is remembered and believed. For those who were in the hall - maybe 3000 people, it was not like that.

have you noticed how they use Party conference speech reporting to promote or destroy politicians? David Davis was pushed down in 2005. Cameron was deified. IDS assassinated in 2003. So few people actually see the real speeches, they say whatever they want to orchestrate the outcome they want.

The media monopolies should be broken up - Murdoch and the BBC especially. They have too much power to orchestrate events.

Anonymous said...

Anon said:

By the way. Where is Verity? I haven't seen her posts in ages and I'm missing them.


Yes, I miss her posts too. Where are you, Verity?

Anonymous said...

Tapestry said:

If Brady is sent to the back benches, I hope he carries on finding holes in policy initiatives such as the grammar school ones. After all, isn't this what democracy is meant to be about? The Conservative Party looks the better for having dissenters who improve the policy initiatives from the centre.


Brady's certainly given a tiny bit more confidence in politicians. Nice to know there's one MP who puts his constituents before party.

Iain Dale said...

Tapestry, what a rewriting of history. I was in the hall with Adam Boulton commentating on it for Sky. I kept thinking to myself, what on earth am I going to say? It was awful, awful, awful. Remember the orchestrated standing ovations? The speech was deservedly panned in the media.

Anonymous said...

Graham Brady (who he Ed?). Never has so little been heard in the North West of one of its very few Conservarive MPs. His support for IDS and Grammar schools shows how out of touch he is with what really matters in the North West. The same goes for Tatton's little Lord Osborne. If only the North West had an equivalent in local politics of Yorkshire's Eric Pickles, then Manchester and Liverpool would not be the Tory no-go areas that they will for the forseable future.

Anonymous said...

I agree - El Senor is a hottie. How I wish he was pawing me instead of Diane Abbott on the couch. So you see Iain, I am not the only one!

Anonymous said...

If only the North West had an equivalent in local politics of Yorkshire's Eric Pickles, then Manchester and Liverpool would not be the Tory no-go areas

Eric Pickles - that twerp who destroyed Bradford Council and has made Labour dominant....yes - MP for Herts isn't he ?

Yorkshire doesn't know him, doesn't want him, and does not favour his party

Anonymous said...

For those lost souls seeking intercourse with Verity, please visit Croydon. Alight at Croydon East and turn right out of the station.

Anonymous said...

And since when was Trafford a 'city'?! MP once again shows his superb knowledge of anywhere North of Watford.....

Anonymous said...

My guess is that a Portillo led Tory party would have lost to a two times winner,Blair.

I can't say that Brown would devour Portillo in the fourth round.

I can say that about Dave, though.

I just don't see windmills and the rest in Portillo.

It's always your funeral in the Tory party and you get to choose all the hymns.

I'm just happy to attend.

Gary

Newmania said...

I can't say that Brown would devour Portillo in the fourth round.I can say that about Dave, though.

The fact that Gordon Brown is dancing around desperately trying to avoid any open engagement with Cameron shows how scared he is . Brown can’t extemporise lucidly he is rightly ashamed of his record and has nothing in common with anyone outside his own Party. Cameron couldn't handle him you say , be serious , I could slap him around like a little whiney bitch with five minutes of radio time . He’s a freak a liar and a bully . Only requires to be politely told to sod off and he’ll go yelping home to his mither.
I cannot wait for him to look the fool he is . At the moment reminds me of the way the BBC and so on used to fawn around Maxwell , a not dissimilar character.


Desist your nonsensical prattle Elsby or be sent to bed with na Supper. Your choice

Tapestry said...

Iain, I genuinely loved the speech. And checking with others around me, they too were impressed. I was quite shocked by the TV coverage by Boulton afterwards.

If IDS had survived, Britain might have survived. Once he fell, it was clear that Howard wasn't going to stop the irrversible slide into the EU's grip. It was the last monet of hope before I gave up on Britain personally.

Delighted to hear that you hated it. You are the first person I've come across to date.

It would be a dull world etc.

Newmania said...

The last Monet of hope


Thats rather poetic I `m seeing impressionist Water Lilies holding out against the inexorable march of ugliness.


( Heartless snicker )

Tapestry said...

Give me the microphone next time. I'll put the romance back into politics for you, you cynical lot.

Have a look at this if you're feeling cocky

http://www.ukip.tv/?page_id=74

(and no - i am not a ukipper)