Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Building a Big Tent

Politics can often be a very tribal business, especially when it is conducted over the blogosphere. So I was very touched to read Tom Harris's post of support for me in Bracknell. It's all the more important as it is an Open Primary which supporters of other parties may attend and vote in. I'm certainly not changing my views on anything to court support from other parties, but all politicians know that in the end they represent ALL their constituents, not just those who vote for them. In a post headlined WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR A TORY, Tom said this...

I confess I don’t know any of the other candidates, but I’ve come to know Iain
quite well over the past couple of years and I would count him as a friend.
Politically, he’s wrong on just about everything, of course (well, he is a Tory,
after all) but I genuinely believe he would be an asset to the Parliamentary
Conservative Party if he were to achieve his ambition. This is someone with a
significant political achievement to his name; Iain Dale buit the template for
serious political blogging in the UK and no-one has yet managed to improve on
it.

He’s also honest, principled and speaks his mind. And his head certainly wouldn’t be turned by the prospect of front bench responsibilities.

If you’re a voter in Bracknell, even if you normally vote for a party
other than the Tories, I hope you’ll seriously consider lending your vote to
Dale.



Tom's support is quite brave bearing in mind the backlash he is getting from some of his more tribal collegaues on Twitter and on other blogs. But Tom's support comes on the back of a nice comment from the LibDem Norfolk Blogger. too.


If the Tories want to reach out to the middle ground whilst also having people
with fundamental links to the Thatcher era, a foot in both camps candidate, then
Iain is their man. Would I vote for him over a Lib Dem ? No. Would I attend an
open primary if I lived in Bracknell and vote for him. Yes I would. I prefer Lib
Dems, but if I couldn't have a Lib Dem, I think Iain Dale would be a good
choice.

I'd like to think that if the situations were reversed I would do the same for them.

I am sure there will be tribal Conservatives (and I can be as tribal as anyone!) who think it is wrong to encourage support from other parts of the political spectrum. It's not wrong. It's called friendship. And if there were a bit more of it in politics, the whole system might work a little better than it does at present.

20 comments:

trevorsden said...

There are some people though that you cannot be friendly with. Right now labour are not being partisan - they are telling barefaced lies and some of those lies are pretty terrible.

Your strong point Mr Dale is your weakness as well. Hmmm ... I hope your life does not end up as a Shakespearian tragedy. There is a political page turner in there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

"I am sure there will be tribal Conservatives (and I can be as tribal as anyone!) who think it is wrong to encourage support from other parts of the political spectrum. It's not wrong."

It's not wrong, it's called building a coalition of interests to get elected and stay elected. It is not necessary to change your views to be able to work with people from other parties, nor to get votes from people who would normally vote for other parties. There are enough people around who will vote for a good representative, whatever party they represent.

I speak as someone who worked for a Labout MP elected in 1997 who worked for all their consitutents and got known and active Tories working for her re-election as a result of the work she did representing her constituents. Of course you will not win everyone over, but there are enough people who will vote for a good representative, from whatever party.

To quote a good man it's about winning as New Labour and governing as New Labour.

Philip said...

Gaining support from other parts of the political spectrum, is a necessary dialogue if you wish to expand support for the policies that you espouse - you cannot expand support for policies if you don't talk to people who may disagree with you; the first step is mutual respect, after that, reason.

Michael Heaver said...

Yup, I do feel that tribal politics has crippled this country a hell of a lot. Too much posturing and gesture politics has got us into a right state.

Out of interest Iain, as a prospective MP, what are your thoughts on the issue of the EU and grammar schools?

Anonymous said...

Harris is stirring, and you're really better off not using this as a surrogate campaign site. What will the blue rinse ladies of Bracknell do when they find you are being backed by *SOCIALISTS!*

Praguetory said...

Worth observing that Tom Harris voted for a Tory in the speaker contest. Crucify him.

Jason O'Mahony said...

You know Iain, you really should consider supporting electoral reform. Under the Alternative Vote or the Single Transferable Vote, you'd clean up as everyone's second acceptable choice!

Newmania said...

I have always thought you would be a terrific MP . Wouldn`t it be great if if you got the last laugh on that po faced ex cabinet minister Heart-of-Flint.(Don`t deny it ! )

Fingers Crossed

Ean Craigie said...

Live in Bracknell how do I support??

Anonymous said...

Quite a cosy consensus in the establishment 'tent' I see.

MalcolmCog said...

Don't do it Mr Dale !
If you become an MP what will happen to your blog ?

Conand said...

Maybe they're just (rightly) terrified of the prospect of Rory Stewart on the Conservative benches.

Only kidding :D Break a leg Iain!

@ Ean Craigie @ 3:08

I think www.iaindale.net tells you.

Max said...

My problem with you Ian is not that you are not a good chap and an excellent blogger, which you undoubtedly are, but that you lost in Norfolk by such a huge margin. ON that basis alone surely you should give way to better campaigners.

Anonymous said...

u only need a Hamish or an Angus from the SNP and you are home and dry Iain :-)

Anonymous said...

Praguetory said: "Worth observing that Tom Harris voted for a Tory in the speaker contest. Crucify him."

So did the whole Labour party! Your point is???

Jimmy said...

"Politically, he’s wrong on just about everything, of course (well, he is a Tory,
after all) but I genuinely believe he would be an asset to the Parliamentary
Conservative Party if he were to achieve his ambition. "

I don't understand his choice of the word "but" in this context.

Good luck though.

Norfolk Blogger said...

Max, I was vice Chairman of north Norfolk Lib Dems at the last general election and was District Councillor for Fakenham North in the North Norfolk constituency, so I think I know a little more than you about North Norfolk in 2005.

Put simply Iain did not stand a chance due to our organisation and planning. We knew (and know) that North norfolk tories organisation and ability to fight elections was in a parlous state. Iain didn't when he put his name forward. When selected and he realised that he was on a hiding to nothing he carried on knowing it might damage his prosepects but he stayed loyal to the Tory party and actually fought a first class campaign.

Iain put out more leaflets than any Tory candidate in Norfolk and had more posters up than any held Norfolk seat. The fact was nobody was going to beat Norman Lamb who has enormous name recognition and widespread popularity across North Norfolk and beyond.

In my opinion thr tories would ahve lost be 15,000 , not 10,000 were it not for Iain's campaigns so you really are wide of the mark.

Iain Dale said...

Ean Craigie, please email me iain@iaindale.com and I will tell you the details, or look at the previous thread and the details are there. Or go to www.iaindale.net and you will see how to register!

Thanks for your support!

Tom said...

So instead of being a tribal Tory you'd be a tribal blogger. Ha ha. :-)

Elliot Kane said...

Their endorsements say many good things about you and them, Iain. It's nice to see this kind of gentlemanly conduct in British politics.