Monday, August 06, 2007

Labour Overplays 26 Year Old's Defection

In about twenty minutes the Labour Party BBC is going to have some egg on its face. It's running the following story at 1.30pm...

One of the authors of the Welsh Conservative manifesto from May 2007 elections has defected to the Labour party. 26-year-old school teacher David Anstee, former vice chair of the Rhondda Conservative party and member of a Conservative Policy Group said...

"Like many political moderates I had hoped that David Cameron's leadership of the Conservatives would herald a changed party that reflected the concerns of the people of our country. But unfortunately the Conservative Party has shown
itself to be incapable of change. It has pandered to the views of its right wing
whenever it has faced a serious test. In contrast, I have been really impressed
by Gordon Brown's leadership. His strength and vision for Britain has been inspiring. We need a serious leader for serious times, to meet the challenges of security, global warming and housing."


There's a bit of a problem here, though, as David Anstee was not one of the authors of the Conservative Party Manifesto in the Welsh 2007 elections. Indeed, he was not even a contributor to it. And no one I have contacted in the Welsh Conservative Party knows what they mean by a 'member of a Conservative Policy Group'. Perhaps someone can enlighten us?

UPDATE: I was told that this was a Labour Party press release. It appears not. It is what the BBC is running as a story. They had better correct the first line as soon as possible as it's way offbeam.

UPDATE: This is the original Labour Party press release, which in typical style, the BBC has hyped up...

One of the Tories' brightest young politicians in Wales has defected to the
Labour Party, praising Gordon Brown's strong leadership as the main reason for
his switch.

26-year-old school teacher David Anstee was a member of a powerful Welsh Conservative Policy Group which wrote the party's 2007 Assembly election manifesto. Today Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomed him to the party, saying that moderate conservatives were responding to his call to join Labour to build a better Britain. David Anstee will be joined today by Rhondda Welsh Assembly Member Leighton Andrews at the New Assembly building.

So it's clear. He did not write the 2007 Welsh Manifesto. Would the BBC like to stop running this lines in its coverage of this non story?

UPDATE: The Welsh Conservatives have issued the following statement...
“Over the last few years the Welsh Conservative Party has attracted many high profile people to join us from other Parties such as Alison Halford from Labour, Guto Bebb from Plaid Cymru and Rene Kinzett from the Liberal Democrats in addition to many other members and voters.”“Although I regret that David Anstee has decided to leave, his position in the Party has been massively overstated and he played no role in the production of our recent highly successful manifesto for the National Assembly elections.”“I would simply add that for the last ten years Gordon Brown has been the key figure in a Government that has increased taxes by stealth, wrecked our pensions system, increased crime, lost control of our prisons and increased Council Tax for a Band D property in Rhondda Cynon Taf by 89 per cent.”

UPDATE: The Labour Party has responded by saying this...
'The Tories are wrong to say David Anstee played no role in helping draw up Tory
policies for the 2007 Assembly election. He even attended a meeting of the Welsh
Conservative Policy Forum, run by Tory Policy Co-ordinator David Melding AM, to
discuss policies for the 2007 election. 'David Anstee is a bright young man
with a future ahead of him in Welsh politics. Welsh Tories are devastated by his
defection, as he represents precisely the kind of person David Cameron is
seeking to attract.'
And there we have it. He attended a meeting. Well, bully for him!

UPDATE: Thanks to Andrew Woodman for pointing out that less than six months ago Was praising Cameron less than 6 months ago David Anstee was praising David Cameron to the skies HERE.

A Politician who does what he says, says what he believes and isn't afraid to
stand out in the crowd. Could this be a PM in waiting. Cameron should be
applauded for taking the education of his child so seriously. He has made an
intelligent decision which could have landed him in hot water with certain
quarters of the electorate. He had nevertheless run rough shod over the
insiduous rantings of the anti-faith school faction and has made a good decision
for the future of his child. Surely now we can trust the future of our children
with someone who puts his own children's futures first!- David Anstee, Rhondda,
Wales

Quite.

UPDATE 3.05pm: This is becoming quite comical. The saga goes on...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended. The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.

No doubt We can expect a further reposte from Mr A ere too long...

UPDATE 3.12pm: Now this is interesting. 5 Live and News 24 are giving this story a prominence that is typical for the silly season. BBC Radio Wales, however, - and they should know - tell me they are "ambivalent" about it and aren't really covering it. Perhaps News 24 and 5 Live should take notice of their colleagues' editorial judgement.

39 comments:

Paul Morris said...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman said:

“Over the last few years the Welsh Conservative Party has attracted many high profile people to join us from other Parties such as Alison Halford from Labour, Guto Bebb from Plaid Cymru and Rene Kinzett from the Liberal Democrats in addition to many other members and voters.”

“Although I regret that David Anstee has decided to leave, his position in the Party has been massively overstated and he played no role in the production of our recent highly successful manifesto for the National Assembly elections.”

“I would simply add that for the last ten years Gordon Brown has been the key figure in a Government that has increased taxes by stealth, wrecked our pensions system, increased crime, lost control of our prisons and increased Council Tax for a Band D property in Rhondda Cynon Taf by 89 per cent.”

The Hitch said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Hitch said...

I misread that as ...
"Labour over pays for 26 year olds defecation" and thought we had a new oaten scandal about to break.


Another example of how the price of everything has risen under brown.

NewWelshRight said...

If anyone can find a picture of him I can tell whether or not he was even at the launch of the manifesto. I didn't even know there were Conservatives in the Rhondda. It's a crappy little inward looking place full of pregnant 12 year olds and little fat people who dutifully elect the nauseating Rev Chris Bryant to parliament. It has some of the highest levels of benefit fraud in Britain and never really got over the loss of its heavily subsidised industries. If they ever did elect a Conservative I would be seriously worried about our party. Should you ever look around for the consequences of socialism and a bloated state look at Rhondda first.

Jim said...

David Anstee stood for the Tories in the Treorchy By election in March 2007.

Newmania said...

Bet he feels important thought Iain. Something you said recently I thought had a resonance that my subtler mind might tease out a bit it was about tax cuts .Its like supporting a football team you said. Whenever I hear of defections I think well what would you think of someone who defected form their football terms of their country or any other proper object of loyalty. Ordinary people value loyalty above protestations of environmental concern and someone who defects just because Gordon brown gets a few good headlines lacks the very quality upon which all others rest.


He was flattered and now he will be despised. Its always the same story.

PS Although how anyone can be loyal to Westham defeats me .

Tim said...

For some reason I'm reminded of Sam Roake. (He used to work for Google, you know...)

PS - "which in typical style, the BBC has hyped up..."

Pot mahahahahahahahaha... pot meehahahahahahahah... pot meet kahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh, bless you, Iain.

RacerDon said...

Yesterday the world had never heard of David Anstee, now he's apparently the most important person in Wales.

Perhaps Andy Warhol was right.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

No sign of him on the BBC webshite. They are going with the poison curry lady and the abbattoir.

Harriet Hamster said...

Well Nick Robinson busy writing in the Mail is it any surprise BBC is losing it in the News arena

Andrew Woodman said...

Was praising Cameron less than 6 months ago

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=437405&in_page_id=1770&in_page_id=1770&expand=true

A Politician who does what he says, says what he believes and isn't afraid to stand out in the crowd. Could this be a PM in waiting. Cameron should be applauded for taking the education of his child so seriously. He has made an intelligent decision which could have landed him in hot water with certain quarters of the electorate. He had nevertheless run rough shod over the insiduous rantings of the anti-faith school faction and has made a good decision for the future of his child. Surely now we can trust the future of our children with someone who puts his own children's futures first!

- David Anstee, Rhondda, Wales

Garbo said...

Hello Iain

Please can reciprocate my link?

http://thepoliblogs.blogspot.com/

Thanks

Man in a shed said...

BBC = Brown's Broadcasting Corp

Split em up and privatise them asap.

David Boothroyd said...

Everybody always hypes up their defectors. What about Stuart Andrew, now Conservative candidate for Pudsey, who defected from Conservative to Labour, and then went back to the Conservatives?

(Still at least this story has allowed the Spectator Coffee House blog to remind me of one of Michael Howard's best PMQ jokes)

Paul Morris said...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:

“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended.

The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.

We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.

ENDS

Paul Morris said...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:

“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended.

The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.

We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.

ENDS

Paul Morris said...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:

“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended.

The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.

We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.

ENDS

Paul Morris said...

In response to the defection of David Anstee to the Labour Party a Conservative Spokeswoman issued a further statement:

“Welsh Conservative Policy Forums are, in effect, mini-conferences and are open to all Party members to attend and to express their views. They are always well attended.

The fact that David Anstee claims to have attended one does in no way, shape or form substantiate Labour’s claim that he played a role in writing the Party’s 2007 election manifesto.

We repeat our demand for a full apology from Leighton Andrews. Unless this is forthcoming the matter will be referred to the Commissioner for Standards.

ENDS

Newmania said...

It would be nice if he was responsible for policy drafting .Anyone so stupid as to imagine that Gordon Brown was loves golden dream might have at least cheered me up with their suggestions .

1 Wales to invade Cheshire and steal their Rangerovers
2 Charlotte Church to be queen of Wales
3 Smoking to be banned from Pubs......eh ?

He`ll fit right in

David Boothroyd said...

Talk of referring this matter to the Commissioner for Standards is barking mad.

The Huntsman said...

Now also on D Telegraph here: http://tinyurl.com/3y5g67

dynamite said...

I haven't been this excited since Rene Kinzett joined the Conservatives. Thrilling.

Jim said...

NICE WORK TORIES.. MAKING THE STORY, THE STORY…TO TRY AND DISCREDIT IT.

Classic tactics. This is a bad story for the Tories, so to try and limit the damage you have pulled out all the stops to deflect the issue, were NOW the story is the story NOT the defection… well done.

Iain Dale said...

As I said on the Andrew Gilligan thread. Idiot. X 2

Jim said...

Iain Said

UPDATE 3.12pm: Now this is interesting. 5 Live and News 24 are giving this story a prominence that is typical for the silly season. BBC Radio Wales, however, - and they should know - tell me they are "ambivalent" about it and aren't really covering it. Perhaps News 24 and 5 Live should take notice of their colleagues' editorial judgement.

However in your aim to spin this story away, you have actually made the issue BIGGER, to then bitch about the BBC reporting this story, which is now BIGGER because of Tory HQ trying to spin it away is hilarious. This would have been a small minor issue relevent to a small corner of Wales. Harping on to try and discredit Anstee has made it a BIGGER story.

Mike Wood said...

Have to say that I'd never heard of the guy until this afternoon. I presumed that this was just down to me not being particularly well connected but none of the other candidates I've spoken to know who he is either.

C4' said...

Cllr Rene Kinzett is a good friend of mine. We both went around Sketty (where both Bonnie Tyler and Catherine Zeta-Jones were born and bred) in Swansea delivering Tory party newsletters with two other Tory councillors shortly after his defection (around late summer 2006). He has done very well for himself in the past as he is now the leader of the Tory party on Swansea City Council.

He also has a facebook account too.

Matt said...

So another undistinguished teenage Cameroon realises that actually his natural home is with the other left wing careerists in New Labour and this is news is it? Personally I really couldn't care less other than to say that at least it is one less Lefty in Drag attempting to destroy the Conservative party from within to worry about.

Matt said...

Oh and C4, as a matter of extreme Pedantry on my part, Bonnie Tyler was actually born in Skewen and not Sketty. Catherine Zeta Jones is Bonnie's cousin by marriage btw and she was Sketty born. How do I know this? Because I am Bonnie's manager as Iain knows.

tapestry said...

The 'let's be horrible to David Cameron' game is running out of material.

Sorry who was this nonentity and why did it matter if he went to some meeting or other a long time ago, and if he spoke or not, or where he parked his car and did he go to the toilet or not.

Geezer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Geezer said...

So the BBC are giving prominence to a very small anti-Cameron story,
WHAT A SHOCK!
Think of all the crap, their buddies in Labour have laid on this country in Ten years, that they haven't given prominence to!

Sam Tarran said...

So what? A disloyal, spineless little centrist has been shedded. Good riddance.

javelin said...

Why not cut out the middle-man and simply let The Labour Party take over Broadcasting House. It would be a far better ue of tax payers money.

Cc said...

Iain, as I read down your post I was ready to reply and state the point about the policy forums being open to anyone. I was thinking of attending one myself but had other commitments at the time.

It goes to show that this story is a non-event really. Those paying attention to politics in the Welsh arena, in particular Tory politics, won't be fooled.

Well done for setting the record straight!!!

Ned said...

Is it me or are the Editorial group at the Beeb biased Liberal /lefties?

I challenged the BBCs "Breakfast Prog'" on the Cameron Interview :
"Your BBC presenter interviewing Dave Cameron is doing her utmost to interrupt his Policy announcement by over the top reference to GBs Bounce emails et al! ....watching is a painful experience ...this when the BBC should be apolitical in their views..she is just showing an alliance to Labour that is totally unacceptable! Well done David Cameron in keeping your composure."
I received a reply from Sian Williams paraphrased as :"The programme was balanced & I am not affiliated to any party"

I again mailed the programme on it's trailing that HIPS would be explained by Minister Yvette Cooper & my views on that interview:

I think today's programme ..the item on HIPS proved my views of yesterday.. Dave Cameron was given a pretty rough ride when launching his "Discipline in Schools" policies... Yvette' yer know' Cooper for HIPS was pre-challenged by off site interviews.. her Studio challenge from Dermot was easy-going considering the ghastly debacle chequered history of launching HIPS as I witnessed in the HOCs...the content & consequent delays et al.

No response!

James Maskell said...

Anstee contributed to the manifesto by going to a CPF meeting??? Given any member of the Party can attend a meeting of the CPF and that the Party leadership couldnt give a damn anymore about the CPF as its a forum that attracts the traditionalists, I think the press might be putting too fine a point on this one.

David Cornock said...

People who have remained awake throughout this story might want to check out the latest developments - http://www.leightonandrews.com/2007/08/welsh-tories-issue-apology.html or http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/6935952.stm
or http://davidcornock.blogspot.com/

Howard Parsons said...

I would like to put this to bed. I was the candidate in this may's assembly election. I was also involved in David Anstee's so called candidature in the treorchy by election. David Anstee was vice Chairman of the Rhondda Conservative party, he was not an active member, I delivered his leaflets. To say he was a paper candidate is an understatement! The Chairman of the Rhondda Conservatives talked david around to standing as a paper candidate on the undrestanding that he did not have to do any work!! On my selection as a candidate David did not even turn up to interview me! Shining light in the tory party! He would not shine if he was at a light show with the only torch on!!! Dream on Leighton if you think this was a coup. You know and I know that ken is the man in the Rhondda, see you next year for the General my man!!