Sunday, June 24, 2007

Why I Tire of Portillo's Bitterness

Several people have asked for my views on Michael Portillo after his odious column in the Sunday Times today. I can do no better than point you towards THIS post from last year. It ends with these words...
Next time he appears on television and thinks about kicking the Conservative Party in the balls he should remember this. It was the Conservative Party that made him, not other way around. The least he owes it is some semblance of loyalty.

What gets me is that he castigates Cameron for following the very agenda which he himself espoused and alleges that Cameron is now about to abandon the progressive politics he has followed for the last 18 months. Did he not listen to Cameron's speech last Monday?

Portillo seems to be harbouring a real hatred for William Hague. Just look back at his articles and he can never bring himself to say anything good about him. I suppose it may be because Hague got the leadership in 1997 when Portillo thought it was his by right. Trouble was, he lost his seat.

I don't pretend to understand the psychology of Michael Portillo. All I know is that he has been disloyal to the last four Conservative leaders. It was too much to hope that his loyalty to this one would be any different.

38 comments:

Observer said...

I don't think Portillo ever knew what he really wanted. Who was that right-wing patron he had ? Portillo simply got on the catwalk and did whatever his mentor wanted, and one day he woke up and realised he was going nowhere except round in circles - he is probably bitter because he wasted his life on a pointless exercise trying to be something he wasn't......he simply isn't a hard-nosed operator, he is rather effete and weak but played the part he thought would get him somewhere where he could find an identity.

Portillo is typical of those who leave university aimless but think greatness is the next diploma

Votedave said...

"Next time he appears on television and thinks about kicking the Conservative Party in the balls he should remember this. It was the Conservative Party that made him, not other way around. The least he owes it is some semblance of loyalty."

So has Portillo gone right-wing again?
I'm very disappointed in him. Who's side is he on?

simon said...

I really don't understand all these demands for loyalty, whether levelled at Portillo or the Telegraph.

Portillo's a journalist now and his duty is to report and analyse what's going on and to be interesting when he does so. The last thing the Sunday Times and its readers want is some slavish Tory cheerleader. If he annoys some of his old colleagues, then that's life (just like Roy Hattersley on the other side of the fence).

jailhouselawyer said...

Bob Piper is suggesting that there will be a new conservative leader before the next election. As Blair has almost gone, and Cameron is in effect a Tone clone, perhaps it would not be such a bad idea to look around for a suitable replacement?

Colin D said...

Is there something going on between him and the talking hands of "this week fame"?? aka as ?????

Anonymous said...

"Did he not listen to Cameron's speech last Monday?"

NOBODY with a life listened to that speech!!

Man in a shed said...

For many years after 1997 the BBC and its lreft wing co-travellers could always wheel out a Tory Grandee who's ego was bigger than their sense of loyalty to do damage to the party.

Michael Heseltine springs to mind - though Ken Clark and Ted Heath deserve mentions in dispatches here.

Ross F said...

Why doesn't Gordon Brown offer Portaloo a job! It would be a brilliant move for both of them, at the moment Broon must be feeling a little rejected after rebuffs from Ashdown, Stevens etc, and Portillo would have an opportunity to allow his bitterness to fester just a little bit longer.

Tory Blast From The Past said...

Maybe Portillo is right.The Mori Poll due or nearly due is putting the Tories 2% behind Labour.
Too many good Conservatives and activists are not supporting Dave Cameron, full stop..
Have you ever thought you are wrong with your Opinions, Iain

GS said...

Portillo's a sore loser.

The Hitch said...

"loyalty"????
The Conservative just like the Labour party is a brand , when it starts selling rubbish people vote with their feet(or stay away) , as they have for the last 10 years.
The main parties are all in Kwik Save mode at the moment.
Maybe Marks & Spencers Staurt Rose could offer some tips ?

The Hitch said...

gs
he also has a sore bottom.

Judy Garland said...

Portaloo is obviously not a fan of Hague and is churlish and dismissive of him. That is because Portaloo is a bitch with a grudge.

However, I do not go with the "odious" thing about the column. There are fragments of truth about his views. It's just that he is not bowled over by the Cameroonian charm offensive as you are.

The only solution I can think of is handbags at dawn between you and him Iain, to settle it once and for all. Hampstead Heath would seem appropriate.

the ghost of liberarce bandit said...

Ms Garland
I volunteer to be Miguels second.

Alan Cramer said...

"Portillo's a journalist now and his duty is to report and analyse what's going on"

This is certainly how he writes - more than that, he writes as if he is universally acknowledged as a brilliant political strategist who understands the mind of British voters better than any of his peers. Does anyone think this of him? What are his credentials for posing as this gargantuan political strategist?

Notice how he describes Cameron as an acolyte of his, all of whose success can be traced to a crude imitation of Portillo's ideas.

simon said...

Alan - all political commentators, pretty much, write as if they have a hotline both to the centre of power and to the minds of voters. Portillo's no different in that respect.

Anonymous said...

Iain, you are talking nonsense on stilts - Portillo is the best leader the Tory party never had, and if they had elected him instead of Hague the Vague, they might not have spent so much time in the political wilderness

Just because he tells a few home truths which aren't to everyone's liking doesn't mean you should have to 'shoot the messenger'. Cameron is a man who can't keep his head when a real crisis arises. And as Andrew Rawnsley puts it in today's Observer, it is how you cope with the unexpected, such as the Petrol Protests and 9/11 that marks out a leader - and so far 'call me Dave' Cameron has flunked the tests very badly indeed..

Anonymous said...

I could never see the point of blind "my-pack-leader-right-or-wrong" loyalty. It strikes me as resembling the loyalty of the Titanic deck officer who supports his Captain by insisting that the iceberg is actually just a soft fluffy white cloud on the distant horizon.

There's at least a working possibility that Portillo might actually be right.

Anonymous said...

"The leadership has made mistakes, such as attacking grammar schools head-on and announcing the reintroduction of museum charges. But Tory MPs and the party rank-and-file have performed far worse. Their undisciplined revolt against Cameron’s modernisation project has confirmed that the party is divided. It reinforces the public’s view that even if Cameron is different, the party is unchanged."

Which of those sentences are you disagreeing with Iain ? It is very easy for you, someone who has never even succeeded in being an MP, to criticise someone who has been in politics for 30 years - but which are the points you disagree with him on ? Talk is cheap, especially in the blogosphere - reasoned and intelligent analysis rather harder to come by...

antifrank said...

Michael Portillo provides an interesting semi-detached view of the Conservative party, though I thought his column this week was overheated.

The Conservatives do not appear to realise how formidable an opponent Gordon Brown is (though if he has any sense he will keep Harriet Harman locked away from the general public as a terminal vote loser). My guess is that Labour will increase its majority at the next election. This is no reflection on David Cameron, who is doing a pretty good job as Tory leader, but a reflection on the strong economy and the failure so far of the Tories to make much of Labour's astounding incompetence as political administrators.

Desperate Dan said...

Perhaps he's overcome with depression at the thought of the whole Labour caravan just limping on with no change for the forseeable future. If that's the case I have every sympathy with him cos I can hardly bear to think of it. We'll all have to be very brave.

Anonymous said...

He is not an MP, he can do and say what he likes. Its called freedom of speech Iain.
Please explain how it is that what he says should be governed by your good self Iain.

Chris Paul said...

Portillo wrote an incredible column. But odious? That's an odious comment from IDD. I guess MP is pissed with DC for pretending to be a Portillian when in fact he is Bullingdon Bully Beef? Quite right too.

Read all about it. Tories down pan. Official.

Anonymous said...

Observer said...
"he is rather effete and weak but played the part he thought would get him somewhere"

Very true. I really don't understand why some people don't see this: it's so obvious.

Adrian Yalland said...

Iain,

I think that a lot of what Portillo says is hard to refute (although some of it is overplayed - and he is being a bit of a drama queen I think).

1. Both Willian Hague and Michael Howard both started off as modernisers, but ended up electioneering on quite centre-right/right agendas.

2. The Labour handover has been seamless, and Blair hasn't knifed Brown as we were all hoping he would.

3. The Grammar School 'thing' has been disastrous, and seemed to be a way of pleasing the Guardian reading inhabitants of the Lobby/Westminster village, and did nothing to bolster Cameron's credibility in the shires or the inner cities!

4. Cameron does trail Brown in some polls - and that is probably because people know Brown - he has been around for 20 years plus, where as DC was still in 'tie and tails' and playing the Wall Game twenty years ago.

5. Some of the gloss has come of DC, and there has been a bit of a wobble of late.

As a journalist, Portaloo doesn't have any responsibility except to himself and the truth as he sees it.

I still think that DC is doing a difficult job well, and although I disagree with about 20% of what he says, I agree with about 80%. I wouldn't write him off just yet. A week is a long time in politics - and this time next week, it could be Gordo under the cosh.

Here's hoping!

Swedish Chef said...

Perhaps he dislikes Hague for being an anonymous twat.

Where was Hague been when he should have been attacking Labour on Iraq?

Eating rubber chicken.

Why?

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Paul Linford said...

One or two people in this thread have excused Portillo on the grounds that he is now a "journalist." But Portaloo was not awarded his ST column because of the excellence of his writing or the quality of his political analysis, but because he is a former Tory minister with an axe to grind whose views about his former colleagues sell papers.

A parallel in the sporting world might be Geoffrey Boycott. You wouldn't employ him for the technical briliance of his cricket commentaries, or even for his ability to read the game. You employ him because he goes on endlessly about what it was like in his day, reliving ancient grudges against the toffs who denied him the captaincy and so on. And the viewers and listeners love it.

What I am trying to say here is that Portillo's axe-grinding is all part of his act, of how he nowadays earns a living. But don't confuse it with "journalism."

Bryan Appleyard said...

As a writer for The Sunday Times,his loyalty should be to his readers, not the Tory party. He seems, therfore, to be doing his job well.

Christina said...

I find it interesting that Portillo is being criticised so much, yet Ken Clarke, who stated that calls for a referendum are 'absurd' has had, well, none.

When Brady opposed Cameron on Grammar Schools, swift action took place, not with Clarke though.

Keir said...

How can one take anyone seriously who declared that "Labour’s handover has been smooth, bordering on the elegant. The chancellor has grown in stature, mainly by saying little, and has enhanced his reputation for cunning"?! This is a handover that's taken almost as long as the one in Hong Kong with even more recrimination and backbiting.

Younghusband said...

Oh, and far as the first comment's assertion that "one day he woke up and realised he was going nowhere except round in circles", I think it had slightly more to do with the fact he had woken up one fine morning and found out his "youthful homosexual dalliances" were revealed in all the papers after he himself had As Defence Secretary Portillo opposed the admission of homosexuals to the Armed Forces while declaring at the time "Who Dares, Wins."

machiavelli said...

I agree with your view of Portaloo, Iain, but surely he's right in regarding Hague as the single most incompetent and cack-handed party leader of all time?

gary elsby said...

Iain, why can't you admit that Hague was your biggest disaster who wrecked your party?

Serious critics have observed this disaster and are quite happy in reminding you.

You still call him 'shadow foreign secretary' and well..as they say..the rest is history.

glass house said...

But Portillo is right - there is a real chance of a wobble in the modernisation process.

You know it too Iain. Surely that's why you've been publishing all the "David Davis is wonderful" and "David Davis wouldn't be happy with this/that/the other" stories over the last few days? It's positioning isn't it?

mirthios said...

It is so glaringly obvious.

This deservedly failed politician is squeaking "Gissa job, Gordon, please, Gordon, please".

Does Portillo rock horses?

C4' said...

Dave Cameron is the bastard child of Michael Portillo and Tony "Adolf" Blair.

Ted Harvey said...

Ian you gave much away when you started with your reference to an "odious column" by Portillo. I take it that you just cannot contend with what seems to me to be a wholly reasoned, logical and incisive article.

In particular, he is right to go on about the grammar school farce. This has become a reality check for many voters who were perhaps wondering about whether the Tories had been changing.

To say that Cameron 'handled' the grammar school policy wrongly, is to entirely miss the crucial point - that was the uninformed hysteria and bile that came from some MPs and many 'supporters' of the Party. What the public witnessed was the near-dead of the Tory Party backwoods come to life as they periodically do whenever offered a huge own-goal.

When supporters of a Party cannot contend with robust and telling (if hurting)analysis such as presented by Portillo, this is evidence of a Party that one can indeed sensibly ask of "!is this the end?"

Anonymous said...

"I don't pretend to understand the psychology of Michael Portillo"

He is a narcissist just like Blair Cameron and Kennedy.

Thinks principles is a clothing store.