Friday, July 27, 2007

I Swear this is True...

I just popped into Tunbridge Wells to pay some cheques into the bank. As it's a nice, sunny day I thought I would wear one of the shirts I bought in Rwanda. I was about to walk out the door when my partner said: "You're not actually going out in that, are you?" Indeed I was. Anyway, I parked the car, went to the bank and was walking along Mount Pleasant when a woman approached me and the following exchange occurred...

Woman: Excuse me, but I hope you don't mind me asking, where did you get that shirt? I'd like to get one for my husband.
Me: I got it in Rwanda.
Woman: Oh, I don't know them. Have they got a branch in Tunbridge Wells?
Me: Er...

I'd like to post a photo of the offending shirt, but my partner refuses to take a picture of me in it. Apparently I have embarrassed myself enough already.

26 comments:

dynamite said...

That's excellent.

Tony said...

Will you be wearing it to Upton Park next season? Go on, I dare you!

Newmania said...

Aha well now on topic then ?



Now the Conservative Party is 9 % behind and there is talk in the Telegraph of Conservatism ceasing to be a force forever do you feel that the perception that this Rwanda trip was a photo op to far perhaps had something to it . I was surprised to see your tone on Bel is Thinking

Excerts.

"God this makes me angry. If any of you people were actually here instead of pontificating about things you can know nothing about .....
......It is to Cameron;s credit that he has come here. ....... To call this trip a jolly is an insult to the 44 people who have paid .....Even the hard-bitten lobby hacks have been impressed and had their initial cynicism destroyed. One of them has written in the papers tomorrow: “These people are the true face of the Conservative Party”. And he’s right. Those who carp front the sidelines and revel in finding fault are the ugly face of the Conservative Party and I want nothing to do with them.



This is a bit over the top isn’t it ? Any Conservative is bound to instinctively feel that the first duty of us all is to our own. I support David Cameron and always write in his support but this was a symbol and it was ill -timed and unlikely to play well at any time .This country comes first . Always.


Do you stand by those comments ?

Iain Dale said...

Newmania, I felt incredibly angry about some of things which were being written about this visit - often by people who call themselves Conservatives. This was no PR stunt and if lobby journalists can see this then surely Conservatives ought to. You say it was "ill-timed". So DC should have foreseen the worst floods in years, should he? One can argue that the trip should have happened in the recess but I am sure there were very good reasons why it could only be on this date. So yes, they were angry words, but justifiably so.

Ed said...

I can't believe how many "Tories" there seem to be who would rather Gordon won the next election.

Strange attitude.

Stephen Newton said...

There's nothing wrong with a stunt, if it delivers the right message to the right people at the right time.

Any protest is a stunt; Live Earth was a stunt.

This Rwandan trip had the potential to play a significant role in a campaign to transform the Tory party.

But Tories don't want to be transformed. Ann Widdecombe summed up mainstream party opinion: 'I'm not sure many voters know where Rwanda is.'

So the question for you Iain must be: do you want to have anything to do with the likes of Widdecombe?

Roger Thornhill said...

If you venture out again, Iain, just make sure you do not meet up with Constable Savage (youtube clip).

Newmania said...

The timing was unlucky and the press DC ,and Brown by contrast, have received has also infuriated me , for slightly different reasons .
I `m sure you are aware that everything David Cameron visibly does , from washing the dishes to visiting Rwanda , has a symbolic dimension that you can call PR or just Politics. I meant that expressing priorities of this sort, in the context of the way Brown has played , was bound to look shallow . The need for more policy substance has become sharper and the assumption that Liberals were the key looks weaker. This was gesture to that “luxury” constituency, or at least appeared as such.The sincerity of those involved is not really the issue is it ?
In was a mistake, in my view, with or without floods . I `m glad he went having said he would , but if there are not some lessons being learnt about how such initiatives can misfire then there are some overpaid people working for the Conservative Party.

Fortunately I think the Labour party are too hard up to go early and I for one will continue to support David Cameron . Adjustments need to be made and I`m sure they will be.That anyway is the way it looks to me.

sockpuppet said...

So the question for you Iain must be: do you want to have anything to do with the likes of Widdecombe?

ah,the perennial conservative problem for the last decade. Enough people want to vote for the Widdecombes of this world, and their brand of conservatism, for them to retain their seats, but the majority of the country clearly wouldn't. And it is failure to recognise this simple fact that has kept the tories out of government for the last ten years and shows every sign of continuing to do so.

oh well.

Colin said...

Hmmmmm. While you're obviously entitled to describe people as you wish Iain, I'm not sure that voicing criticism of the timing, unfortunate or otherwise, of the Rwanda trip qualifies me or anyone else as the 'ugly face' of the party. I may be middle-aged and no oil-painting, but I think you are pushing it a bit.

My point is that travelling to Africa while some of us here in soggy Gloucestershire paddled about and scrabbled for drinking water was always bound to play badly. DC's political antennae must have been a bit blunted not to realise that, or perhaps his advisers just gave him the wrong advice. It's part of their job to realise when something just won't be perceived as intended, however noble the cause or sentiment.

That's no criticism of the objectives of the visit, just an acceptance that the timing, as it turned out, was awful and the resultant bad press was predictable. DC and his team would do well to acknowledge that and get over it.

By the way, have you thought of auctioning one of your fine African shirts in aid of Rwanda at the party conference this autumn? You'd raise a ton of cash ....

Louise said...

Apologies for the cut n paste job, but someone out there is actually saying something positive about the trip to Rwanda.


Survivors Fund (SURF), the only dedicated international charity representing and supporting survivors of the Rwandan genocide, applauds the visit of the David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, to Rwanda.

SURF has played an instrumental role helping to organise the visit, to ensure that Mr Cameron and his colleagues from the Conservative Party are given the opportunity whilst on the visit to learn more about the plight of survivors of the genocide, and the work of the British-based charity to provide vital support to improve the lives of the hundreds of thousands affected by the killings in 1994.

Mary Kayitesi Blewitt, Founder and Director of SURF, who lost over fifty members of the family in the genocide said:

“I would like to applaud the visit of David Cameron, and the delegation of Conservative Party members, to Rwanda. The fact that party members have taken time out to see first hand the realities on the ground in Africa is admirable.

Literally “seeing is believing” when it comes to understanding the genocide, and its aftermath, and the visit is important, not only for Conservative Party members but also for survivors of the genocide too. The visit is giving survivors the opportunity to speak directly to those in a position to make a difference to their lives, to help address their challenges that include the issues arising from the release of perpetrators of the genocide given amnesty through gacaca (village courts) to the trauma of giving evidence at such trials.

These problems, unique to survivors in Rwanda, are exacerbated by the ongoing issues of lack of shelter, education and access to healthcare which Survivors Fund (SURF) is helping to address. The support demonstrated by the Conservative Party visit will not solve all these problems, but will go some way towards at least helping raise awareness of their existence.”

Yak40 said...

DC's Rwanda trip has been turned into a giant red herring, he was only gone what, TWO days. BFD.
He went after visiting his constituency too.

The press of course loves to distort, after all they're conveniently forgetting Brown is not some new great hope but the man who's been number two since before 1997.

Newmania said...

He went after visiting his constituency too.


Which the BBC refused to cover

Curly said...

I would hope that the BBC refuse to cover Mr. Dale in "that" shirt, just as his partner did, it truly is embarrassing.

Scroblene said...

Iain,

I was in T. Wells today, and I didn't spot you!

Why not get to The Beacon, then we can have a chance to discuss everything in a proper place!

Anoneumouse said...

so what sort of 'GUY' is your partner then.

you not worked out how too use the timer on your camera then.

you set it, click it, run like hell to stand in front of it and then click/flash; your very own photo op.

No carbon footprint, and the gorilla would stay in the mist.

Adam said...

Iain,

According to a man who wore a Lime Green Tie at 18 Doughty Street last night your shirts are "frightening."

Does this make you a terrorist?

Adam

daddysunny said...

brilliant!

As for the other topic, someone said:

"Ann Widdecombe summed up mainstream party opinion: 'I'm not sure many voters know where Rwanda is.'"

Which is probably why the Conservative party is not getting elected eh? Just because Widdecombe doesn't care or thinks others don't, is no reason for the Tory high command to do the same.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

We NEED to see the shirt. Gee us the Shirt. Gee us the shirt.

BaldockBaldrick said...

I'd be embarrassed too...not knowing if there's a branch in Tunbridge Wells. Whatever next...:)

Danvers said...

I hope you told her that there is a branch in East Grinstead.

Diablo said...

Danvers - does one pronounce your surname "Bailey"?

javelin said...

Is this story about your partner or your shirt Iain?

Danvers said...

Diablo - erm. something like that, but slightly differently.

Mike Rouse said...

I think the shirt should make a television debut on the upcoming Rwanda evening!

Chuck Unsworth said...

And another question might be 'does your bank have a branch in Rwanda?'.

That is a discussion for another day, maybe...