Sunday, August 30, 2009

Alex Hilton Treads The Wire

Alex Hilton (editor Recess Monkey & LabourHome) has just posted an explanation and defence of his Mayor of Baltimore spoof site HERE. He ends up asking people if they think what he did was incompatible with his status as a parliamentary candidate. Alex, in case you were unaware, is the Labour Candidate for Chelsea & Fulham.

It's a fair question. He says he has not been contacted by anyone at Labour HQ, but admits that some of his comrades are less than pleased with him. The trouble is, Alex has form on this. Remember his 'jolly little jape' about Margaret Thatcher dying? Other Labour candidates are asking how he can get away with going on TV and constantly calling for Gordon Brown to shape up or quit.

When you become a party candidate you have to recognise that you owe your Party some loyalty. Not blind loyalty, but you have to be aware that if you step out of line, you may well be disciplined. I have little doubt that if Alex had been a Tory candidate he would have had several dressing downs by now, and rightly so.

I have had a few ups and downs with Alex over the years. He's one of the most tribal people I know and genuinely believes that all Tories are by definition all racists and homophobes. He even accused me of being homophobic once, live on TV! But despite all this, I can't help liking him. His cheeky chappy disposition allows him to get away with things others never would, but
Alex would do well to steer clear of this sort of hoax or joke in future. If he is to make progress in the Labour Party he needs to start making friends rather than enemies.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

nless they have changed the rules he may as well walk away from being Labour Candidate for Chelsea & Fulham now, PPC's are going to screen grab that as thye start date for his election expenses, surely?

Desperate Dan said...

'...I can't help liking him...'

Its the easiest thing in the world to dislike him. You're just not trying hard enough.

BenS said...

Fair play to him if he wants to follow his principles and say 'balls to the party'. I'd never vote for him in a month of Sundays, but, then again, I'm hardly going to vote for the automatons that Mr Dale seems to want in Parliament, either.

Anonymous said...

This sort of spoof might just be viable from someone who has declared themselves outside the public political arena (eg say Guido). I don't think it works for anyone who aspires to be within it.

Anyway, remind me, is Chelsea & Fulham a safe Labour seat?

Anonymous said...

What surprises me is that he put so much time and trouble, into something that wasn't even funny.

And then goes to even further lengths to try and convince that it was both a funny and a clever thing to do.

Has he nothing more useful to do with his time?

no longer anonymous said...

"I have little doubt that if Alex had been a Tory candidate he would have had several dressing downs by now, and rightly so."

So the Tories lack a sense of humour and are unable to laugh at themselves as well. I thought this sort of po-faced thinking was confined to the Left.

Tom said...

It's not a sensible thing for a candidate to do. This won't do anything to endear him to journalists.

If he wasn't seeking office it would have been fine. It made me laugh for the right reasons.

DespairingLiberal said...

Just fancy - he "accused you", "on live TV", of "being homophobic"!! The cad. You of course, would never descend to live-TV name calling, eg, you are not someone who would dub well-known journalists "sexist" on the House lawn, or lecture people on TV about their parent's opinions of them.

Thank goodness.

Glyn H said...

Is it ‘tribal’ to believe that socialism (having replaced religion and now itself being replaced by environmentalism) is a vile creed that seeks to destroy the hand that feeds it? You either believe in freedom and the liberty of the individual or your believe that in the state rests the answer to mankind’s problems and to which all should be given (for the greater good, ho ho) and from which should flow all benefits (this was formerly called a god). Thus when I see the glorifier of Maxton at No 10, the young Communist of Scarborough being his base, and the former Trotskyite in No 11 it is impossible to conceive that the root of their policies (or politics) are in the interests of Great Britain. The mistrust placed in them has now been widely exposed and the end cannot come too soon. Does this make me tribal?

Demetrius said...

I agree entirely, he should stay away from being a tasteless joker, we have already had two Labour ones as Prime Ministers.

Flemingcrag said...

Alex Hilton and his "Mayor of Baltimore" spoof was not the problem, other than the few who visit his site no-one else would have known of it, if it hadn't been for Labour luvvies at the Guardian and BBC.

Anything that puts the Conservatives in a bad light is their motto when it comes to reporting, the publication must not be delayed with fussiness about finding out whether the story is true or not.

One phone cal to the Mayor of Baltimore is all the investigative journalism that was needed but, even this was too much of a search for truth for those at the Guardian and BBC who would rather pump out Government propaganda day and night.

Anonymous said...

What does Homophobic mean?

Iain Dale said...

DL, you don't do irony do you. Surely even with your blinkers on you can see that calling a gay man homophobic is slightly ridiculous.

John M Ward said...

As is often the case here, a useful batch of comments (so far).

If one is thinking of a potential future MP, then stunts such as this really aren't appropriate.

Hilton is very much a mixed bag, and is probably (however much one might like him) not MP material — certainly in the current climate.

The point about use of time is a valid one: someone aspiring to be an MP should already be devoting effort in that direction, and that should be what the media report upon.

This sort of stunt, amusing though it was (and I am one of those who didn't fall for it, as I have commented on my own 'blog), does in practice detract from his standing and credibility in that context.

The bottom line is that Hilton needs to make a decision about whether he wishes to be a serious candidate or not. If not, the local Labour party locally needs to select a more appropriate candidate if they are to have any credibility in the General Election. Whether one likes that or not, it is the reality.

Luke Akehurst said...

Anonymous 4.17pm

The rules have indeed been changed by the Political Parties, Elections and Referenda Act.

The old concept of triggering election expenses by describing yourself as a Candidate no longer exists. Election spending now starts when the writ is moved and spending before then is relatively unregulated and totally unlimited. This is the loophole that Lord Ashcroft is exploiting in funding very expensive pre-campaigns in marginal seats.

Rumour amongst Labour agents is that this change resulted from a civil service drafting error.

Chrome Diplomat said...

Iain- to be fair to Alex the 'Thatcher is dead' wasn't a 'jolly little jape' or an attempt by him to be funny- from the explanation and apology he posted at the time he was sent a text late night be a journo friend telling him it was the case and stupidly put it up on his site. It was very dumb and a big mistake, but not supposed to be funny and its a bit unfair for you to suggest otherwise (though I'm sure there was no malice in it).

There is of course irony in the fact that he who has fallen foul to excitable reporting based on another's practical joke should be responsible for the latest proof that people rarely check their facts...but such is life!

Anonymous said...

But despite all this, I can't help liking him.

You like small-minded bigots? You like someone who believes that no-one has any useful contribution to make to society unless they belong to his part? You like someone who thinks that anyone and everyone who votes Conservative is racist? You like someone who, when confronted with political opposition, resorts to name-calling?

Dale, think about what this man is actually doing. Think about what this "tribalism" actually entails. It goes beyond loyalty to the tribe and enters the sphere of pure bigotry. The behaviour you ascribe to him is dehumanising and borders on the fascistic.

Maybe you can't help liking him, Dale, but you should damn well try. It's vile little bigots like Hilton who have wrecked politics in this country. He shouldn't be encouraged.

Stronghold Barricades said...

Is Chelsea and Fulham a safe seat?

None of the above said...

Given that most of our elected representatives have been ripping us off royally for years and gotten away with it, I find 'misdemeanours' like this to be totally inconsequential.

I am amazed at how so many mps have been let off the hook while others such as Ian Gibson have been hung out to dry.

Anonymous said...

Of course a gay man can be homophobic. There are plenty of examples of closested gay politicians upholding policies that were damaging to homosexuals; several gay Tory MPs voted for section 28 for example.

It's no more impossible for a gay man to be homophobic than for a black person to be racist.

Lady Astor's son-in-law said...

why don't u hate him?
he's the enemy isn't he?

Chris Jones said...

You cant win with some people Iain you say you like him you are a traitor and lots of other things.

I bet if you were to advocate for his death you would be accused of the worse kind of barbarism since hitler.

Windsor Tripehound said...

Anonymous said...
What does Homophobic mean?


Well, as I understand it, homo comes from Greek and means self, so if you're homophobic, you are afraid of yourself.

Anonymous said...

In order to be considered a joker,perhaps he should try some new material. or just some material.

Anonymous said...

genuinely believes that all Tories are by definition all racists and homophobes

Being anti-racist and anti-homophobe is a faux religion. Empty minds.

Anyway, Labour is the biggest racist of them all - Harman with her deliberate discrimination against whites in the workplace.

LABOUR is RACIST - get it Hilton?

No, I have missed the point haven't I - under the Labour scum it is OK to be racist against whites.

DespairingLiberal said...

ID, I don't do irony and you do do humbug. I always have to take an enormous humbug-alleviation pill before stepping in here.

Of course I get the point of your posting, but the point is that you yourself are all too fond of snide little put-downs on people, many of which turn out on close inspection to be for some sin or other that you are rather fond of. Such as sexism and misbehaviour your parents might not have approved of.

Are we clear now as to what humbug means?

The Grim Reaper said...

I have written this response using the same black ink that the parliamentary expenses body does. With that in mind, I state that I find it surprisingly easy to hate Alex Hilton - total ████ is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of him.

Almost as much of a ████ as Sunny Hundal. But not quite.

trevorsden said...

You are as usual far to soft on 'tribal' opponents.

The jerk was trying to smear the Tories and now dresses it up as a jape. He is a fool.

Black people can be racist - but only in the sense of hating other races (like whites or Hispanics) why after all should racism be the preserve of say whites? Mr Anon of course means to suggest that black people can be racist against other blacks which is absurd. Just as absurd as to say homosexuals can be homophobic.

True Belle said...

Blow Politics, the Beeb may snap him up with any luck.

Anonymous said...

A little off topic, but you do need to read this.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/aug/30/darling-global-economic-recovery

Anonymous said...

he is a dolly draper jr

Thatsnews said...

Rumour amongst Labour agents is that this change resulted from a civil service drafting error.

Really? A Labour MP who I knew said: "This was our own stupid fault. Some... person thought it was a good idea."

Thatsnews said...

It was an exceptionally stupid thing for someone in his position to do. Mind you, with the behaviour of Sion Simon MP, perhaps Alex Hilton is just the calibre of person they want as a potential Labour MP...

Einy Shah said...

I personally can't stand him and frankly he has not made a very good name for his self. Ofcourse, I have not met him so this is only from this medium. I think Greg Hands will swoop the victory quite easily.

Anonymous said...

John M. Euthanisia Ward must be about the most boring and ponderous contributor to your blog.

Dual Citizen said...

@Stronghold Barricades

"Is Chelsea and Fulham a safe seat?"

New seat, but very safe.
Notional Tory majority of 28% in 2005.

(Electoral Calulus)

Tom said...

Anonymous 7.19, Iain Dale is hardly in the closet!!!

Anonymous said...

Re. the meaning of homophobia:

the homo- part is from the Greek homos (the first vowel is short) meaning "the same". It is the same root as that of homeopathy or homogenous.

Some people assume, completely incorrectly, that the homo- part is from the Latin homo ("man" or, more generally, "human"). It is not.

In Greek, homophobia literally means "fear of sameness" or "fear of that which is the same as you". Effectively, this is what happens when people who've never studied Greek start indulging their love for neologisms - you end up with gibberish words that make no sense being parroted by a public that's too stupid to analyse their underlying meaning.

In Contempt of Parliament said...

"When you become a party candidate you have to recognise that you owe your Party some loyalty."

That's the fundamental problem in a nutshell. Your Party; not your constituency, not your principles.

Such "Respectability" is a false front, a lie people tell to get selected and to gain advancement. Some lying is of course necessary in life as much as in politics, but it becomes a habit. The culture of perfection that makes any error unacceptable soon turns into risk-averse paralysis; a stilted disconnection with humanity, a fatal tendency to conceal rather than to correct.

That any politician can take such a minor faux-pas seriously shows once again their fundamental lack of understanding of how the voters feel. When politicians do things so incredibly, mind-blowingly stupid as to vote themselves expense allowance rises in the middle of the biggest expense scandal of the decade, one both Parties must have known about, and genuinely see nothing wrong with that, but then to get all wound up over spreading some silly internet joke as not the sort of behaviour we expect of a Parliamentary candidate... Well, it's just beyond words.

I vote for a bit less Party loyalty, and a bit more basic honesty and good humour. We don't want yet another batch of cowed "yes"-men, thanks.

DMC said...

Iain,

Apologies for going off topic but

I would just love to know how you manage to go on 11.30pm and then get up so early to blog/work/tv appearances.. how you have not died of exchaustion yet is beyond me.

Iain Dale said...

I thrive on hyperactivity!

Osama the Nazarene said...

My first reaction when I heard his little spoof was one of amusement. Now I know that he is a parliamentary candidate it is one of "he should grow up". For some reason I feel our parliamentary representatives should display the appropriate gravitas.

Your reaction seems to pander to everything that electors dislike about the party system. It seems to want everyone to subordinate their personal views to those of the party apparatchiks. I really couldn't care less about Liebor's problems but thank heavens for independent thinking representatives like Dan Hannan who don't fear to speak their minds.

Iain Dale said...

Osama, so basically you agree with me and then try to disagree. unbelievable.

I too believe candidates should be able to think independently. They do not have to be party slaves. But they do owe some modicum of loyalty to the party under whose banner they stand. I can't see how anyone can disagree with that.

Dual Citizen said...

@Osama

There's a big difference in respectability between thinking independently and pissing off a major US city.

Over here cities and states cannot run deficits. If revenues drop they have to introduce cuts or raise taxes immediately.

I don't think the Mayor of Baltimore is looking too kindly at having to pass on the cost of Hilton's stupid prank onto their taxpayers. Lawasuit and large legal bill awaits methinks.

James said...

Thought it was vaguely amusing as a prank - have to disagree with everyone shouting 'smear! smear!' - the Midsomer Murders comparison gave me pause to smile for a moment. I think, per capita, they must have more crime than ANYwhere.

As for his behaviour in terms of being a PPC, he should probably cut it out. As someone else here commented, it does no good to alienate the press, and it doesn't really present a particularly grown-up image. You can bet it will come back out come the election...

True Belle said...

Politics does seem to attract attention seeking loose cannons, don't you think?

Thankfully this chap Hilton is only a candidate, his moment of glory may be past already.

Dick the Prick said...

Fair play to him - Kensington & Chelsea!!! It wasn't his fault that people are suckers, didn't do their research and that EVERYONE is just soooo bloody angry that fatigue has set in. On the grand scale of what to have for breakfast, it's a storm in a teacup - and, let's face it - if I was tribal Labour, it may be possible that i'd despise Brown more as there'd be no hope (doubtful tho)

Homophobic Iain? How rude!

tory boys never grow up said...

Yes Alex you should stop it now - leave all the childish stuff to the Tory boy bloggers.

Re the point raised by Luke Akehurst about spending by PPCs not counting to candidates individual expenditure limits until the lection is called he is absolutely right. However, expenditure by a party's accounting units does count towards its national expenditure limits in the 12 months prior to a General Election (or a European election), i.e now, if it is promoting a particular party or attacking one of its rivals. One trusts that the Tories are recording all such expenditure diligently - since all the expenditure has to be audited and every single invoice will be made publicly available.

Letters From A Tory said...

It's amusing how the press seem to focus their attention on Conservative 'renegade' PPC who might rock the boat, when Labour already have someone mouthing off at any opportunity and getting away with it time and time again.

Like you said, if a Conservative PPC had been caught making up news to spite an opponent, the BBC would have hounded them to resign.

Barnacle Bill said...

It's the banner waving party politics, from both sides I should add, that have got this country into the state it is today.
Allowing another extreme party to hijack the flag all our politicians should unite under.

neil craig said...

A couple of years ago a Guardian journalist fronted for a hoax "global warming sceptic" scientific paper. By his own admission the conspirators spent 4 days putting it together. I was 1 of 4 bloggers who, for a few hours, was tasken in by it but sceptical scientists uniformly spotted it straight away. One of the advantages of being sceptical.

When I found out I stated that I thought the fact of it being a hoax massively increased the chances of the BBC reporting it & indeed they did not fail to live down to my expectations. There has been no suggestion by anybody on the "left"/warming alarmist/politically correct that such hoaxes, even in matters of science, are in any way reprehensible. Any criticism Alex gets from that side is clearly personal rather than principled.

Blue Warrior said...

If the infantile Alex Hilton is typical of the new candidates Labour are going to field at the next election then they are in a worse state that even I thought.

Chris Paul said...

Anonymous 4:17 shows a total lack of understanding re election expenses and even if Harriet Harman were to grant Alex's request of 11 months ago o=f legalise cocaine inthe constituency if he wins Mr Monkee doesn't have huge prospects in this particular seat.

It would be a good idea to move him to a winnable seat IMO ...

On the spoof itself. It was so bleeding obvious that any offence should be confined to Grayling and to the fools who repeated it as stone fact.

I'm not about to apologise for knowingly propagating this hilarious creativity and GSOH.

Chris Paul said...

Iain Dale said...

DL, you don't do irony do you. Surely even with your blinkers on you can see that calling a gay man homophobic is slightly ridiculous.

August 30, 2009 6:22 PM

<<

It is completely possible for gay men to be homophobic Iain. I have no idea what the context was in your case ... but there are plenty of ways in which gay men get homophobic. Including ones who are subsequently outed by Tatchell, but also ones who are already out.

Black people can obviously be racist and women can obviously be misogynist and so on and so forth.

KP said...

re letters from a Tory

surely its a relative thing. If the Tory candidate for Bolsover had done this would the BBC have hounded them? I doubt it

and thats the comparison to make, this is a hopeless seat for Labour and Alex Hilton has as much chance of winning it as GB does of winning the election. zilcho.

John C said...

Did Alex Hilton take a class in 'being a fcukwit' or does it come naturally to him?

Matt Wardman said...

>Other Labour candidates are asking how he can get away with going on TV and constantly calling for Gordon Brown to shape up or quit.

Perhaps because hos chances of winning are roughly 0.0000000000000001%.

Hamish said...

A pedant writes:
I think most people are aware that homosexual means being attracted to people of the same sex and heterosexual means being attracted to people of the opposite sex.

Homophobia is short for homosexualphobia.

Some quibble with the 'phobia' root, meaning 'fear of', but in my experience much prejudice stems from fear, rather than hatred.