Thursday, May 11, 2006

Walking the Newsnight Tightrope

For those of you who missed Newsnight's report on the 'A' List, featuring an interview with your humble servant. Thanks to the guys at Biased BBC for uploading this onto YouTube. I admit to being extremely nervous about doing this interview because I feared accusations of 'sour grapes' and worse. It felt like walking a tightrope, but I felt I just had to speak up for the 400 or so colleagues who will have been feeling just as disappointed - if not worse - as me. As I say in the interview, I totally accept the referee's decision (unlike Tottenham Hotspur!) and I am genuinely not bitter about it, but I do think there are lessons to be learned from this process.


Anonymous said...

For a long time I assumed that it was every citizen's right to stand as a candidate for Parliament. We still can, but political parties have corrupted the process by arbitrarily categorizing potential candidates for consideration prior to any group of constituents deciding whom THEY want as a candidate! Now, there is more than one type of candidate, and constituents are subject to influence by anonymous party aparachiks.

All that political parties should do, if they really need to have lists, is to ensure that candidates are eligible and that, by any general measure, they would make reasonable candidates. Final selection of the candidate to be adopted should then be left to constituents. After all, the end product is supposed to be a CONSTITUENCY Member of Parliament, rather than merely a Conservative Member of Parliament!

barbara worth said...

Iain: I think you handled a potentially tricky situation very well. It would have been so easy to allow yourself to be stereotyped as a petulant "traditional" Tory candidate who was feeling bitter when clearly you are neither of those things- your frankness about having doubts about appearing was refreshing.

Your suggestion of a list of 600 with half being women made perfect sense, ditto the question of why the names on list A have not been published.

The VT of Adam Ricketts was priceless.

Anonymous said...

Better luck next time, Ian. IMHO you had a lucky escape, because Cameron will destroy the Conservative Party, the same way Blair has destroyed the Labour Party and this way, you won't be tainted with the same brush.
Incidentally, I'm a northerner and won't be voting Conservative again, for as long as Cameron is in charge. He's a toffee nosed woolly woofter and won't be able to relate to us mere commoners, let alone govern us. Like we give a toss about him riding with huskies!

dizzy said...

I couldn;t help but notice your foot tapping last night when they did a wide shot. Personally I think you came across really well and it didn't sund like sour grapes at all.

Incidentally Iain, if there are only 100 ish people on the list then surely that means there is still hope surely? Also, I was under the impression that anyone who fought a seat last time would be able to stand for selection for that seat again if they wanted to? Am I horrendously wrong on that?

Ellee Seymour said...

Iain, what lessons have your learnt from this? There are so many mixed messages that come out of it, but mostly it displays the Cons Party appalling lack of judgement which is very worrying.

You were great on Newsnight, very noble and dignified. But it must be a gut wrenching feeling to lose out when you gave your heart and soul into your campaign last year, making so many new friends.

I would like to know what Adam Ricektt has that you don't, I'm hoping your fans might want to comment on this.

Have you seen my pic of Adam the rent boy? The glossy front cover shows him with posing with pound notes stuffed in his briefs saying: "Rent Boy Adam Rickett takes centrestage". What kind of image does that give?

Maybe he has hidden depths and all will be revealed, even more, that is...

Anonymous said...

Iain just perfect.
Sayeed very good,too.
You will be included in the next batch. I have written to the real David Cameron MP about this and have offered a suitable inducement.

Aidan said...

I have to say, the Newsnight interview was excellent and both interviewees spoke well. Was a very interesting piece though I have to agree with you Iain on the final question - if these people are representing the Conservative Party, wouldn't it make sense for them to be visible other than the token few?

Thanks for posting it. Was interesting viewing. :)

Pulsar said...

The A list should be published!
Tombstone please note!
Given the slightly underdressed male(?) seen on Newsnight I fully understand the problem but real backbone of the Angus variety is now called for-and without too much delay.
Lets see just how open and user friendly the the glacier hugger really is!

James Burdett said...

I personally think it is hugely dispiriting for the many people who are working hard for the party and have done so for many years to watch a parliamentary candidates list being constructed containing people who have only been in the party a few months. Send them out on the most miserable evening of the year to leaflet some dismal ASBO rich estate. That should be good for sorting out how committed they are!!!

Anonymous said...

Time and time again the Liberals have snatched seats from the Tories by running great local candidates while Tories have an outsider. Some Tory associations have learned from this and now ignore a short list of twittish old etonians (sadly in DC's seat they did not). Now they will have a short list of glamourours outsiders. Maybe not pompous stuffed shirts but all outsiders.

If the conservatives are to resonate again with the the people they must forge strong links in the community. It is the only way to purge the yellow peril. The A-list does not help this process, it will hinder it.

Who was the best person to win the seat where iain worked so hard last time and now has strong local links - which he maintains? Of course it is Iain. I cannot see that the airheadish Ms Bagshawe or the rickets boy have a hope in hell of adding to the "local" tory vote. I fear that faced with a good local liberal, the reverse is true.

Local campaigning does make a difference as the varying results in the recent locals showed. Parachuting in glamourous oustiders with no campaigning experience is not going to help rebuild the roots of the Tory party.

Cameron is a twit, advised by twits. Iain - would it really be that great to be in a parliamentary party led by a fool with people like bagshaw/ricketts sitting on the backbenches along side you?

btw - Cardiff will be a wonderful day but if you have struggled to get a seat for the final, wait till you try & get a train ticket!

Sabretache said...


I too was impressed by both you and the other interviewee.

Frankly I am bemused by what is going on under Cameron. On the face of it enthusiasm and a solid (ish??) improving poll position; but I can't help wondering about the substance - if there is any - underpinning it.

OK, I'm an old foggy; nevertheless I genuinely do not have problems with youth or a more female friendly political environment (I have two daughters). But looking at those pictures on Guido Fawkes' site, the juxtaposition of 'sublime' and 'ridiculous' springs forcefully to mind. It's all so in-your-face bloody obvious. Does he think the electorate is totally stupid? - Then again, when it comes to Youf and pulchritudinous young females, maybe it is, saturated as our culture has become by both.

Can't help feeling it could all end in tears for him though.

Pulsar said...

Xenon-I fully agree!
The Bl Gwent bye-election will make a good starting line!
Publish or be damned!!!

kentconservative said...

Great tie. I too am a Duchamp fan.

Does look slightly like the old tv test card though when shown on TV!

On a more general note I thought that the approach you adopted came across very well.

I know several people who should have been a shoo in who didn't make it and they are now looking for other ways to spend their evenings, weekends and money.

Man in a Shed said...

Given the manipulation of the A list it must be published to avoid accusations of improper process. It should be remebered that the future of the party for decades to come depends on the quality of the people we manage to get elected to Parliment. ( And our ability to govern when we are back in office - look how NuLabour have run out of talent. )

A lot of this positive discrimination stuff (and thats what it is) would be a lot more convincing in sitting MPs stood down early to allow for the changes they come in TV to recommend. Theresa May would be a good start. ( Yes I realise she's a woman - but she wants others to sacrifice for her ideals, time for her to lead by example. )

By the way - good, measured, performance on Newsnight.

david kendrick said...

The huge problem that DC is addressing is simple to explain. At the last GE, support for a policy HALVED when floating voters were told it was a tory policy.

Everybody knows that the tory brand needs to be rebuilt. Trivial to see; hard to do. The pitch to the disinterested floating voter is necessarily simple. The tories are attractive.

Of course it is unfair. And it won't improve the competence in depth of tory MPs. (Though the Indian girl on newsnight looked plenty able enough). But this isn't the point. This will help to get rid of the dreadful govt. Most of us will cope with any amount of unfairness to achieve that. The end easily justifies the means.

Anonymous said...

You both did a good job on Newsnight and were a credit to the Party.

I see that there are already 4 Etonians on the list I know of - so much for diversity - we should track the OE total.

At Oxford Cameron chose to join an exclusive club, the Bullingdon, which didn't allow people he didn't condiser his type to join, went on the be a memeber of an exclusive club, Whites, in London which didn't allow people he didn't condiser his type to join. He is now turning the Conservatives into an exclusive club reserved for his mates.

Hayek's Grandad said...

Very good interview, just the right tone I thought.

I hate the A-list, I think it's by for the worst thing Cameron has done so far. I'd like to see local lists instead. One thing I know for certain, some z-list celeb is going to go down like a lead balloon with my local association.

Didn't DC say something when this all started about there still being the opportunity of picking local candidates? Although he did say that should be the exception. Anyone know what the story is there?

ian said...

If there are only 100 people on the a list, and 418 labour and lib-dem MPs, then surely there is a potential place for most of the 500 potential candidates?

But really, Adam Rickett. The constituency that chooses him is going to be a laughing stock.

Anonymous said...

The likes of Rickett and Goldsmith make you wonder about Dave. What is he going to do for an encore...Charlotte Church("vote for an angel"), Jade Goody("New Labour is Big Brother") or David Beckham("I`ve always been right wing me")? I hereby pledge never to vote for the party while Windmill Boy is in charge, and I think there are thousands like me. Let Blair and Brown screw it up, and then have a greatful electorate beg us to come back and rescue the country.

Anonymous said...

Ian sorry to mean spirited but you did have a dreadful result at the last GE and DDs campaign went from triumph to disaster under your leadership!

Anonymous said...

Iain, you made an excellent point (and performed very well at putting your views across without it seeming like sour grapes); why isn’t the list being publicly published? It should be and frankly Sayeeda’s response saying it shouldn’t was a little limp if you ask me. Bring it on CCHQ, inquiring minds want to know!

Anonymous said...

Watch you on TV last night - Nice to see the face behind the blog.

Anonymous said...

If the quest to secure the popular vote, and so the middle ground, means abandoning many of the candidates with a more traditional conservative outlook, then I think it has to be done. Although I believe constituencies should have a say in selecting their prospective candidate, it is imperative that the party first approve these candidates as representative of the new conservatism. The problem with having larger lists, as was suggested, is that the conservative voters in the constituencies, the majority of them further to the right than Cameron would like, won’t play along with Central Office’s urge to have more women and ethnic minorities represented. Some of the names on the A-list are easy to ridicule, but they represent the fundamental evolutionary direction the Conservative party must take if it to shed its old, tired and much-maligned image as a nasty, uncaring party. Some of it, I accept, seems to be fickle, and it’s raw deal for those who have spent years working for the party, but I hope they realise that this change in tact is an absolute necessity.

Anonymous said...

There was a great Paxmanesque sneer from Adam Boulton on his Sunday programme, voicing-over Rickitt's video with 'Would you vote for this man?'

A classic, almost as good as Paxman himself sighing 'Someone out there must know what that's all about' when reading out the headline 'Chantelle beds Preston'

Rickitt's best bet is probably to say 'Select/vote for me and no one will ask who is the MP for....' It might work in a constituency where a lot of people watch Coronation Street.

Anonymous said...

That's the first time I've seen you on TV, Iain and I thought you came across very well and achieved your objective.

You did not come across as negative at all, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Sayeed got one thing right last night your dress sense is excellent, I loved that tie.

I thought you handled newsnight very well and thank you for putting it on this site.

Your time will come Iain. This list will only give Cameron a slap in the face and allow Labour to gain some ground and laugh at the People he (Cameron) as surrounded himself with. That makes me so bloody mad!

Anonymous said...

Iain, you have right to be furious. I will probably vote Tory anyway, but Adam Rickett on the list is a joke. I personally think you should be on the list, but to be knocked off for rubbish like Rickett has down-graded Cameron in my mind.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to see such backlash here. I am a young Scot who isnt from a traditional tory area but worked hard to get to Edinburgh University. Cameron is speaking to me and my generation. Its a fresh message and its designed to be classless. Unless you change at the top and in the candidates you select you will not change deeply held perceptions. Its not enough to rely on labour to be unpopular and then assume that means a pre Cameron party would win power. Look at the 1992 Election and how Labour failed to win with an open goal. That can happen to us next time unless we adapt to Britain in 2010.

And can I just correct the moralilst preeching and snide comments about Adam.

"Rent Boy Adam Rickett takes centrestage"

Well to explain that headline he was starring in the UK tour of Pulitzer prize winning musical play "Rent". Doing a publicity for a musical about HIV/AIDS to a gay magazine does invite that sort of front cover headline dont you think?

You either believe in freedom of the individual or you do not. They cant just be free to earn and aspire they must be free to live their life as a modern British citizen and free from such preaching.