Saturday, October 31, 2009

EDP Column: Why Liz Truss Deserves the Support of SW Norfolk Tories

I don't normally print my EDP columns on the blog, but I'm going to make an exception today.

“I suppose you’re going to pour some kerosene on the South West Norfolk selection in your EDP column,” said one local MP to me yesterday, rather miserably. Much as I might like to indulge in some more hyperbole, I shall do my best to resist temptation and try to offer some mature reflection and analyse where this whole sorry saga may head next. Some cool heads are going to be needed among local Tories over the next couple of weeks.

Firstly, let me put the record straight. I did not call all South West Norfolk people ‘neanderthals”, contrary to what Thursday’s EDP front page story implied. I wrote on my blog that the social outlook of those Tories who sought to deselect Liz Truss over her past affair with an MP was ‘neanderthal’. It’s the same social outlook which caused a few – and I emphasise, a few – North Norfolk Tories to swallow hard when I, a gay man, was selected as the candidate there in 2003. And yes, I believe it is an outlook which belongs to a bygone era, not the 21st century.

Others are quite within their rights to hold a different viewpoint, but they needn’t be surprised when they are called to account for it. Why? Because they are often people whose own private lives don’t quite stand up to scrutiny. I wonder how many of the nineteen members of the South West Norfolk Conservatives Executive Committee who voted to put into doubt her candidacy could look themselves in the mirror and honestly say they were entitled to sit in judgment of Ms Truss. The only person entitled to judge her is her husband. And he stuck by her. Isn’t that what should matter?

Ah, some say, but if she betrayed her husband, how can we trust her? How can we be sure she won’t betray her constituents? Utter poppycock. It’s a lazy argument perpetrated by the small minded. Did we not trust Lloyd George to lead us through a world war, when it was common knowledge that he was one of the randiest old goats in the country? Was Paddy Ashdown disqualified as LibDem leader when we found out about his affair with his secretary? Was John Major’s ability to do his job negatively affected by his affair with Edwina Currie? Was Robin Cook a worse Foreign Secretary after he left his wife for his secretary? We might all tut tut in disapproval at what they did and how it impacted their families, but is it any of our business?

Yes, but she was dishonest in not telling the Association and Conservative Central Office should have told us, say some Association members. Wrong. In a job interview it would be regarded as discriminatory to ask someone about their private life and there is a well established precedent that you’re not allowed to ask people if they are married or have children in a political selection, let alone expect them to tell you about every unsavoury aspect of their private life. When I was selected in 2003 I voluntarily chose to tell the local party that I was gay, as I knew it would cause a furore if it emerged later. I won with 66% of the vote on the first ballot. But I would not expect Liz Truss to have to mention a four year old affair.

What I genuinely don’t understand is why local members hadn’t looked her up on the internet. The shortlist was available to any member who wanted to know following the initial meeting which the candidates addressed at the Executive the previous week. If you type Liz+Truss into Google, the detail of the affair is shown on the first page. Most employers take this rudimentary step when employing anyone nowadays. South West Norfolk Tories have only themselves to blame if they did not do the same.

I see no reason for Liz to have been open about a completely private matter. But even if she had been or people had bothered to research the matter, those present would not have been entitled to take it into account. This isn't about "trust" - it is about the boundary between what an Association is entitled to know about a private individual, and what it absolutely isn't entitled to meddle in.

But does it matter what a few local members with questionable social attitudes think? Isn’t it more important to ascertain what the electorate makes of it? If Radio Norfolk’s vox pops are anything to go by, they are remarkable relaxed about having a candidate who has had an affair. Thank goodness for some common sense.

So what now? I imagine Liz Truss is feeling hurt and wounded by the whole experience. In two weeks she will face the music of the local Association in a general meeting, where she will face calls for her deselection. I hope we get to see what mettle she is made of. I wouldn’t blame her at all if late at night she had thoughts of throwing in the towel. She would only be human. But I really hope she doesn’t and that she fights this to the end.

Can we also put to rest another myth, the one which says that David Cameron is trying to parachute in candidates against the will of local parties. It’s rubbish. The six strong shortlist was drawn up by the local party with very little direction from the centre. The local party included one local candidate. James Tumbridge, who fought Norwich North at the last election, but ignored the merits of any other local candidates among the 150 or so who put their names forward. Presumably they did that because they felt that Liz Truss and the four other candidates were of better quality. What other reason can there have been?

I am all in favour of local candidates being selected where they merit it. But if they genuinely aren’t there and don’t come forward, what are we saying? That inferior people should be selected just because they happen to have a local accent? I don’t know how many were at the selection meeting which voted for Liz Truss by a majority on the first ballot, but it will have been at least 200. They did this because they thought she would be a better MP than James Tumbridge or the other four. No one told them or influenced them to vote that way. They did it of their own free will.

And I hope they will repeat the exercise in two weeks. If they vote to deselect Liz Truss it will be a dark day indeed – not just for Liz, but for the Conservative Party.


rob's uncle said...

What have you got against 'neanderthals'? They were a highly successful hominid species that survived for a long time in very difficult [Ice Age] conditions which Homo Sapiens couldn't survive in.

Anonymous said...

You made such an arse of yourself on the radio, and now your trying to put matters right. If Truss gets rejected it'll be in no small part due to you.

Nich Starling said...

I find your views equating peoples views towards gay peoiple as being equal to someone having an affair slightly disturbing.

One is a natural reaction and tells you about that person's sexual preferences. the other tells you that the person thinks little of their marriage vows and wants sex with people other than their marriage partner.

Linking the two is very odd.

Anonymous said...

I am so bored with the Truss story and truly perplexed by your near pathological fixation on a minor local story.

Dale, get over it. There are far more important things going on than this puerile gossip-driven tabloid-style story. You diminish yourself and your blog by constantly harping on it.

Anonymous said...

we have a system now where it is seen to be appropriate to bring one's family into the political process - glossy Hello style magazines at by-elections, Brown, Cameron and Clegg all happy for us to know (and sometimes see) their young families.
If politicians want to be elected on the basis they're people like us, rather than on the strength of their ideas and policies, is business this not an inevitable consequence?

True Belle said...

Liz Truss is a modern woman- why would any one like her want to sacrifice her career and private life to get involved with government ?

Her quality exceeds anything that this very bigoted Tory constituency is worthy of .

Unless of course SW Norfolk Neanderthals would prefer their next candidate to walk around in a BURKAH because they cannot trust their own cave like sexual instincts!

Johnny Norfolk said...

Its a matter for the local people.
If they are convinced that information was withheld so as to stop them making a fair and considered choice. then they have every right to deselect.
We are having all local say removed by big party/government, It has to stop and local people must have more say in decisions in local afairs.
So I would keep out of interfearing in this matter and trust the local people to make the decision THEY want.

The Tory party are making capial out of open primaries, but of course if you can only have candidates placed by CCO then it is worthless and a big con.

You just dont get it do you.

Johnny Norfolk said...


Why do people not understand


Got it.

maddysbloke said...

Dear Iain
Just as you don't usually print your EDP column in your blog, I do wish you wouldn't bring your blog material to the EDP. You have wasted nearly a whole page, venting your own personal biased views. I don't want to read them; keep them on your blog where only like minded people have to put up with them. You have questioned the integrity of the SW Norfolk Conservatives involved - you have no right to do so. The people of North Norfolk, and indeed the rest of us, should be very happy that you got no further than being selected as a candidate, as your ramblings and rantings suggest a man of very limited ability and questionable moral standards. Those people are trying to do the best for their constituents; they do not merit your open disdain and you have no right to sit in judgement of them.

Mike B said...

The issue is not Liz's morality although there are many voters who do not like adulteresses, but a lack of judgement. We all know that for any role in public service you are asked the question 'is there anything about you that might cause embarrassment'. If it is not asked it is no excuse not to make sure the information is revealed- sticking to rules and hiding behind niceties is how so many politicians have got into deep water. I am sure if Liz turns up at the meeting, says she is sorry and that she is committed to serving the constituency (unlike her predecessor) they will endorse her and give her full backing. But if she tries using weasel words she will be thrown out.

Old Holborn said...

Got any more speaking appointments for Reform (Liz Truss is deputy director) coming up have we Iain?

Good to see you not biting the hand that feeds you.

Iain Dale said...

Oh do bugger off. I've onlyever met Liz a couple of times. So far as I can remember I have never spoken for Reform, and I have certainly never reeceived any money from them.

So do one.

True Belle said...

Well Iain, some people are rather tetchy today, maddysbloke for one!

'You have questioned the integrity of the SW Norfolk Conservatives involved - you have no right to do so. The people of North Norfolk, and indeed the rest of us, should be very happy that you got no further than being selected as a candidate, as your ramblings and rantings suggest a man of very limited ability and questionable moral standards. Those people are trying to do the best for their constituents; they do not merit your open disdain and you have no right to sit in judgement of them.'

Ouch, you should go and play golf after reading that little outburst.

My goodness, 'integrity' might just be a tad overused by high and mighty angry SW Norfolk paid up conservative members-- all 200 hundred and a few more of them! Gosh is that all they could scrape together?

I suppose their lips are even more pursed up this morning. Still, they will all feel better in church tomorrow!

Old Holborn said...


Top of the List

Iain Dale said...

LOL. Time for a graceful apology from you methinks. Reform is a think tank The TRG is an internal party pressure group

Made a bit of a fool of yourself haven't you?

Colin said...

"Was Robin Cook a worse Foreign Secretary after he left his wife for his secretary?"

Was it possible for him to be worse than he already was?

In different times, in military and security circles, adultery was frowned upon, not from the perspectives of morality or susceptibility to blackmail. It was about judgement.

Events over the past twenty years have shown that we, as a nation have allowed people of unsound judgement to attain high office. Some of them, like Cook, Major and others, have, from time to time, given us a peek at the evidence of their inherent bad judgement.

Sean said...


There is an implicit assumption in this post and many others that Central Office is running the candidate process well.

It's not. The process is clearly in disarray. Thousands of applications were received after Cameron re-opened the lists in June and just two people are wading through this. There has been an array of undemocratic decisions made centrally: the A-List and all-women lists are just two examples. The result is a lot of stalwarts becoming disenchanted.

I would expect any candidate, as you yourself did, to raise any matter that might be seen as potentially controversial or embarrassing. This is generally very effective as it defuses the matter. It appears that Liz Truss didn't do this: I hope the lesson will have been learnt by all.

While in this case, googling her name would have shown the incident, I would hope that we would not become dependent on the Internet: there's a lot of good information there but also a great deal of nonsense.

Affairs of the heart are so often difficult: living creatures are designed with a near overwhelming desire to find a mate and human ceremonies like marriage don't suddenly render the chemistry inactive.

In summary, I don't think anyone comes out of this with much credit: Liz should have been open about it; CCO should have ensured the local constituency was adequately briefed; the local constituency should have checked.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Whilst your view on the best outcome of this local difficulty is fair enough, it might be said:-

1. The affair itself is not so important as the lack of disclosure: such omission undermines trust which is something of an issue at present.

2. Entering into an affair is revealing of values and morals and it is not unreasonable that questions arise about those who opt to do so.

maddysbloke said...

Quick response for True Belle, if I may. Tetchy? Not at all, just a considered response to events. Unfortunately, your personal slant on this will not allow you to accept alternative views, and you demean yourself, in my opinion, by attempting to be funny but only being rude about the SW Norfolk Conservatives. Iain has already been there, done that, and failed spectacularly.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Off topic but from a comment above: -

"the rest of us, should be very happy that you got no further than being selected as a candidate, as your ramblings and rantings suggest a man of very limited ability and questionable moral standards".

As Margaret would say, "It is a funny old world" for those words, if true, would show why you are precisely qualified to join the expense claimers standing by as the country goes to hell. Something to quote in your next election leaflet perhaps?

Paddy Briggs said...

And so, in their year of our Lord 2009, a group of holier than thou Victorians in North West Norfolk seek to tell a modern woman how she should live her life. They seek to judge on a matter that is entirely personal and about which they have no right to comment in public. They seek to imply that Ms Truss should keep them informed about her sex life and further to suggest that the “norm” is a cosy happy family in which everyone behaves like the traditional faithful (and often very unhappy) partner.

Did you hear Radio 2’s brilliant live production of “Brief Encounter” last night? Two people with dull and stuffy marriages fall in love but return to the norms of faithful family life in order to keep up appearances. Brilliant social observation by Noel Coward with just a hint of a suggestion that the fictional “straight” love affair was a surrogate for a gay one. I would suggest that Ms Truss’s suitability to be an MP is actually enhanced by her affair than damaged by it. It shows, perhaps, that she is a free spirit and a confident one. But no matter – that’s none of my business and nor is it the business of the hideous bunch of stuffy, prejudiced, ignorant turnips who are wavering about her, whether in Norfolk or elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"It’s the same social outlook which caused a few – and I emphasise, a few – North Norfolk Tories to swallow hard when I, a gay man, was selected as the candidate there in 2003"

"a few"?

About 10,000, wasn't it?

jon dee said...

Good piece - it deserves serious consideration, as does Liz Truss.

She deserves better than some seem prepared to give, but she will be more widely appreciated if she fights her corner.

simon said...

As far as I can see, there don't seem to have been any moves to deselect or censure Mark Field over the affair. Is the Tory grassroots view that it is OK for men to put it about a bit but not for women? Traditional, old-school hypocrisy and all that...

maddysbloke said...

Haha! Fantastic posting from Paddy Briggs.
Well, it would have been had he not overlooked that this woman is attempting to be the person that represents the very people you so readily condemn as a 'hideous bunch of stuffy, prejudiced ignorant turnips'. And they're not telling her how she should live her life; they are simply deciding if she is someone they would like to represent them.
Perhaps if you consider your contributions in future before posting them you may not make such obvious errors, and not be so rude.
It is sad that when a debate goes against some people's views they simply revert to being rude.

maddysbloke said...

Simon - as you say, there doesn't seem to be any move to deselect or censure Mark Fields. But the SW Norfolk Cons are considering Liz Truss, are they not? Why would Mark Field, or his gender, be an issue?

simon said...

My point is that al the outrage in this case seems to have been directed at the woman, rather than the man. Nobody is directing these (silly, in my view) arguments about trust etc against Mark Field. I guess it may be that Westminster Tories are a bit more sophisticated than those in Norfolk bt it does smack of Victorian notions of the 'scarlet woman'.

Briantheship said...

‘... that inferior people should be selected because they have a local accent?’ Norfolk people are presumably looking for someone to represent ‘their’ interests, and whilst the smarter the better, the local still matters. Meritocracy is over-rated and shouldn’t be a pre-requisite if incompatible with the community it represents. I am less interested in electing a future government minister – there are plenty of Eton/Oxbridge lads who can fill those roles – than appointing someone who’s able to secure the largest slice of the nation’s resources for my particular community. I want someone working for me, not the national executive.

Anonymous said...

i think what this episode does remind us all there is a section of society totally obsessed whith sex.

Dave H said...

Although I know nothing of the details of her case (and don't want to know) I'm not sure you're necessarily quite right about this in principle.

People that have been married in a traditional ceremony (and again I don't know if this applies to her) swore to be faithful before:
1) their partner
2) all their close friends and relations
3) the law
4) their God

I can't imagine a more serious example of someone giving their word.

Other than 'on the life of my children' (a phrase oddly only ever used by habituial liars) how can anyone who then breaks such an oath be regarded as 100% trustworthy?

That said, in the course of a normal discussion I don't expect or demand that anyone spontaneously brings up details of their incidents of marital infidelity (nor STDs, stress incontinence, occasional impotence, vaginal wind, propesity for nose picking etc. (BTW I suffer from all of these and more)).

Nor is any human 100% trustworthy.

You mentioned John Major's affair. What about Parkinson/Keays or Prescott/Temple? There were exacerbating features in these cases but I was still under the impression that cheating on your partner harms your public credit rating, though not necessarily fatally.

In summary I just think Neanderthal is too strong a word to use.

(BTW, yawningly, did you notice that the words Dale and thal share a common root?)

Verity said...

Norfolk Blogger - Agreed.

Some people are born homosexual. It's a condition of nature.

Betraying vows is a weakness of character. Adultery in cases where both the parties are married involves a lot of lying, a lot of scheming, a lot of sneaking around. It's not a condition of nature; it's a condition of selfishness and self-indulgence.

Don't we have enough cheating, lying, greedy, sneaky people in Parliament already without knowingly adding to their number?

Verity said...

True Belle, burqa is spelled thusly. No offence.

Cinnamon said...

At what point is someone too morally corrupt in your eyes to be a politician?

What if she were a convicted shoplifter -- would you still support her candidacy?

After all petty theft is more trivial an offense morally than marriage destroying adultery that puts children at risk of a broken home.

Liz Truss should look for another job, folks are fed up with liars and cheats in general, and as we all can see, she has lied and cheated in her personal life.

No doubt she'll lie and cheat again even more easily when it's not her own family.

Why you're supporting her, I don't know, but maybe you need to reset your moral compass and have a thought what conservatism and family values means.

And no, you're being gay does not absolve you from having to decide on which side of the fence you're setting up tent either -- how would you feel about your own marriage if you treated your hubby with this kind of contempt, and would you too break someone's marriage and ruin their (and your) children's life?
I'd like to think you would not do that, but why oh why do you condone it at all? (and what would be we think about you if you did? We'd all be very disappointed, and it's especially your generation of liberated gay people who need to prove that they are not what every nasty hater claimed them to be. Please reconsider your position, from first principles!)

Anonymous said...

I too am very disturbed that you appear to think that people equate being gay with cheating on a spouse or partner. I happen to believe that you are a good person who would make an excellent MP but if the Sunday papers reported that you had deceived your partner for 18 months then I would revise my opinion.
This does however explain why you seem to have lost the plot over this matter.

Jack said...

Iain - in your more liberal & progressive moments - do you sometimes wonder whether you really fit in the Tory Party?

It strikes me that the Conservative Party is in a very different state now to that which the Labour Party was in just before the 97 election. At that time Blairism was inviolable - many on the hard and old Left had gone or shut up - while the besuited NuLabourites strutted their stuff. In the Labour Party then - there was simply no place for Clause 4 advocates. They remained neutered for many years.

However the Tory Party of today seems to be in a very different state. My impression is that be-tweeded and head-scarfed members (with all their talk of Christian morality) are just waiting to return triumphantly to power. Cameron's liberalism will be out on its ear.

I wonder 5 years from now - whether you, Iain, will still feel at home in the Conservative Party... Indeed - are you sure you feel at home now?

jd said...


In principle I agree with you on this - the affair is irrelevant - with one caveat. Presumably, the local party's prime consideration will be electability - after all, getting power is all modern politics is actually about.

If the party is merely reflecting the local populace in its backwardness, then dumping LT may be an electorally savvy move.

PS you may be trying to help Liz, but your choice of politicians who have had affairs is almost enough to change my mind. They may not have been worse as a result, but they were all appalling to begin with!

Anonymous said...

Iain, contrary to your apparent assumption that affairs have no bearing upon the issue of trust, it might behove you to realise that plenty of people place great value on marriage vows. Some of them even manage to remain faithful when tempted otherwise. You are quite entitled to your opinion, but that's all it is. I too would incline towards tolerance, the world being what it is, but it is not 'neanderthal' to question whether someone who can break solemn marriage vows given before God, or renege on a civil commitment with not dissimilar promises, can be entirely trusted in other areas.

Anonymous said...

Dale on affairs 2009:
"We might all tut tut in disapproval at what they did and how it impacted their families, but is it any of our business?"
Dale on Lord Goldsmith's affair 2007:
"Lord Goldsmith has admitted having an affair with a 49 year old barrister...Read the full story on the Mail on Sunday website HERE"
Only Dr Who can travel from 15th to 21st century that fast.

Old Codger said...

This is a matter for the local party. Dave may not have influenced the original list, I neither know nor care, but he is trying to ensure the retention of Liz.

What happened to devolving power downwards? Just the same as his stated desire to recruit non Torys but then threatening to excommunicate Tebbit for saying things he did not like.

A true "heir to Blair" except he is not as good as Blair at the spin.

Londoner too said...

I am certainly not one who thinks an affair should disqualify a candidate but I am surprised at some of the arguments that you deploy. How can your point about not being honour bound to mention anything about ones private life be reconciled with the usual question to candidates about "anything embarrassing in your past"? Several posters here and on other threads have referred to this as many constituency officers and would-be candidates have heard it asked (I have in both capacities). Are you saying that the question is no longer asked or, if so, matters in private life are now "exempt"? Is this now the official CCHQ doctrine? Do they not even ask it any more when people go on the candidates' list? If so, it is yet another example of bonkers procedure from CCHQ.

I am NOT suggested by the way that any affair which has remained hidden should be confessed. But if it is already public, then inevitably it is a potential embarrassment and those selected the candidate should be made aware of it.

And, by the way, yes, as it happens, John Major's affair definitely did impact adversely on his conduct as PM. Why was he always so weak and indecisive when Ministers were caught with their trousers down? If he had not had the fear of his own affair becoming public, would he really have been so ineffective in dealing with those crises which always dragged on for ages whilst he refused to tell people to resign. Hence "sleaze" stuck much more than it need to have done.

Roger Dodger said...

I'm convinced.

Kath said...

imagine if Maragret Thatcher had betrayed Dennis, I doubt very much she'd have got a look in, Conservativism is about values, in family and public life. Either you've got them or you haven't, and Liz....well it looks like she lacks them. Over and out.

Elliot Kane said...

Um... Iain, I hate to say it, but I really don't think your argument here will have helped Liz Truss' case at all.

First, the moral equivalence of being gay with having an adulterous affair. Gay is something a person IS, not something a person DOES. Many people (Including myself) have no problems at all with gay people, yet despise adulterers. So that's a non-argument.

Then you say that if we dismissed adulterers, we would not have had to suffer the likes of John Major (Useless), Paddy Ashdown (What did HE ever do in parliament worth anything?) and Robin Cook (Whose only excellence in office came in the manner of his leaving it). That's not very convincing, frankly.

Comparisons with normal job interviews are also wide of the mark. No normal job involves the press obsessively digging into your private life back to your great-grandfather, nor does your getting the job require a vote of the people.

Should SW Norfolk Tories learn to use Google? Sure. But she should have declared anything likely to lose her votes at interview. Thats only reasonable, considering.

Now, with all that said, it WAS four years ago. It's not like she's still carrying on now and four years is a reasonable time to forgive and forget - especially, as you point out, when her husband has done so.

So I see reason for reprimand, but no reason to cancel her candidature. I guess I'm sort of on your side...

Cynic said...

"the other tells you that the person thinks little of their marriage vows and wants sex with people other than their marriage partner."

So what. And I will bet that many of those who are most vociferous in their 'concern' about her have their own sordid little skeletons rattling away in the cupboard of their private lives

Nick said...

I wasn't alive when Lloyd George was PM, but had I been I would not have trusted him an inch. His true nature surfaced in the second world war when he took a defentist position and refused to srve in the Cabinet. Not a nice man, and probably not a good one either.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with some of your comments,I have to disagree with others.
The first guy was before my time.
Cook left his wife for the secretary, whether he had an affair before he left I do not know,highly likely he did though.
Was Major a 'good' PM? In his case it would have made no difference.
Yes we are in the 21st century so I think by now we should 'get' the marraige vows we take along with the person we 'love'.
I would NEVER cheat on my husband, EVER.It is called 'self control', don't get me wrong I have been 'tempted',in the heat of the moment,and hand on heart I can say I have sobered up and STOPPED.
Just because we are in the 21st century does not mean we can hurt the people we VOWED..UNDER GOD..we would not.
For all, that her husband 'stuck by her' he will FOREVER have the 'doubts' in his mind and will NEVER completely trust her, because when he did, she betrayed his trust in her.
There is a MASSIVE difference between being tolerant to gays, lesbians, colour, faith and disability and being tolerant to cheating,sneaking around and decieving your family,just so you can DO WHAT YOU WANT.
The first,just like the latter is inexcusable and shows you are of little character, neither are good qualities for a person who is elected to 'represent' the people. While no one is a saint, some actions do have to be held up for scrutiny of the people who are chosen to hold a position of trust.
Would you be saying the same if she believed gay,lesbian relationships were wrong? Of course you wouldn't.Just the same as if she did not believe 'people of colour' should not be allowed to stand as MP's.RIDICULOUS!and NASTY!
To a lot of people having an affair is a character flaw and calls into question whether they are 'trustworthy' or not.
She IS NOT the devil incarnate,she is a deciever and a cheat.She decieved her husband and cheated on him.
Do you know neanderthals were cheaters? They may well have been the most faithful people ever.
Your biggest girl fan

Johnny Norfolk said...

I bet it went like this at CCO.

"If they know about this affair they will never select her, you know what they are like in that part of the world"

" Yes you are right, lets try and make sure the dont find out"

Looks like the Tories are being advised by Alister Campbell.

Great start for CCO the begining of sleeze and deception. No wonder the local are livid.

Anonymous said...

"Was Robin Cook a worse Foreign Secretary after he left his wife for his secretary?"


You're on safe grounds with the others, though.

Simon too said...

To us metropolitan types it is blindingly obvious that we make a quick enquiry on Google. It is also blindingly obvious that you do not patronise someone by assuming they are unaware of what appears on the first page of a Google search. It is not concealment. It is simply not wasting time with the bleeding obvious.

On the other hand, do those in the rural heartlands actually take it for granted that you do a quick Google search, and that whatever it throws up is already in the public realm?

That is a tricky question to pose here, because a blog reader who did not Google would be a queer fish. However, are people manning the barricades of principle over a straightforward misunderstanding?

I bet the chairman wishes he had remembered to ask the "Is there anything ...?" question.

Anonymous said...

I don't care that she had an affair. I care that she's an ex-Lib Dem republican and turncoat. I care that the party leadership have pushed this interloper into a safe seat ahead of *real* Tories.

People say that her affair proves she's dishonest. Maybe. I think her party-switching and her opinions on policy (which change on a daily basis) prove she's dishonest.

If you want more rotten self-serving liars lining up in Westminster to spin and gobble from the trough of taxpayer's money and push the agenda of their friends, choose Liz Truss as your MP.

Weygand said...

The choice of vocabulary - "neanderthal", small minded", bygone era".

The choice of argument
a) Many of the Selection Panel are sinners and therefore also hypocrites
b) That it is not a question of trust but that the Panel was too lazy or stupid to surf the net (although surely it is even more disallowable to use unverified material than to put personal questions to a candidates face).

The choice of style - hectoring, lecturing de haut en bas metropolitan to country bumpkin.

If Liz Truss should be maintained as candidate, it will be despite your intervention and not because of it.

Local Member said...

Miss Truss(t) should be asked to explain to the SW Norfolk association:

1. Exactly when she left the Liberal Democrats and joined the Conservative Party.

2. Does she still hold the republican views she expressed from the podium at the 1995 Lib Dem conference?

3. If she now supports HM the Queen, when did she change her views and why?

4. How her views differ from those expressed by the Lib Dem candidate in SW Norfolk.

5. Does she regret her past affair with Mr Field?

If you expect people to campaign and work hard for you without pay, it does not seem unfair to be totally straight with them regarding your beliefs and background.

True Belle said...

ex-Lib Dem republican ? 'Scuse me, but isn't this the direction the Mod/Tories are travelling along?

Like attracts like.

The Tories as we remember them from fifty years ago + do not resemble the present team.

Brian said...

"North Norfolk Tories [had] to swallow hard when I, a gay man, was selected as the candidate there in 2003"
So that's what goes on in Tory clubs nowadays, eh? Makes a change from snooker and cheap booze.
IMHO Miss Truss must overtly support the monarchy otherwise she's not a real Tory.

Anonymous said...

No, in most job interviews you wouldn't be asked about your morals - unless you want to be Pope or an MP. Both try to dictate how everyone else should behave (we only knew about Major and Curry after the event - he was the biggest hypocrite of all.) They spout on about the sanctity of marriage and threaten to take away benefits from lone parents - many of whom are in that state because their spouse ran off with a new lover. Affairs are not just 'the modern way.' They do not compare with being gay - there are always victims, including children.

Verity said...

Elliott Kane - It doesn't matter that it was four years ago and her marriage is patched up. She has it in her to betray. She has it in her not to bother to resist temptation for something she wants, even if it contravenes her solemn vow.

This particularly applies to public life, in which the taxpayer is counting on the MP to do their best for the country, not themselves.

I'm not saying she should never be given a good job in private industry, but her character is not fit for public life.

Anonymous said...

I have been scratching my brain (not easy when you are a Neanderthal Turnip-headed member of the Taliban) to think who else used to get the sort of howling vilification that Anne Atkins did from you and the bonios on your blog - Yes that's right, Margaret Thatcher. If you stand by your beliefs like Anne the twitterati will come screaming out of their lairs on the attack. Well done Anne Atkins, keep up the good work and well done those members of South West Norfolk who refuse to be intimidated. Oh and by the way you do know there is an Independent Tory waiting to stand in SW Norfolk if CCHQ force their hand? Bet they win and handsomely!

little boy blue said...

Not only was she an an adulteress but it has now come to light that she used to be a campaigning lib dem who spouted the view that the Monarchy should be abolished. Did she inform the selection meeting of those past "crimes"? I reckon they were even worse than a bit of nooky on the side. Give her the boot.

Anonymous said...

I thought Lynn Truss was more interested in grammar and punctuation than politics.......

Mike Hoskin said...

I first met Liz Truss in 1996 when she joined the Conservative Party (I was Chairman of the Greater London Young Conservatives at the time), so perhaps I can help to clarify some of the points that have been raised by Local Member and others, as well as outlining some of her commitment to the Conservatives since that time:

1. She left the Liberal Democrats before she graduated in 1996 - she had been in the Lib Dems for only 2 or 3 years and by then had realised that her beliefs in free markets, Europe and tax (among others) meant that she was in the wrong party; she joined the Conservatives in 1996, first as a member of the National Association of Conservative Graduates and then, shortly before the 1997 General Election, as a local constituency association member. She brought a lot of fresh energy to the Conservatives at that time; I remember campaigning with her many times in that election period. She went on to become Association Chairman in 1998 for 2 years, before fighting Hemsworth in the 2001 Election (and Calder Valley in 2005). And she beat the sitting Liberal Democrat to win her Greenwich Council seat in 2006.

2 & 3. No, she doesn't still hold the republican views - in fact, she had developed a strong support for the Monarchy, in particular HM Queen, by the time I met her. It was clear to me that she had gained an appreciation of the sterling service that the Royal Family gave to the country, so I guess that she changed her view when that realisation had become apparent to her.

4. I don't know the Lib Dem candidate for SW Norfolk, or his views, but her opposition to a federal Europe and the Lisbon Treaty, plus her understanding of the importance of wealth creation and the threat of our debt-ridden economy, as well as opposition to the bans on fox-hunting, support for health reform, and commitment to law and order would be some of the distinctions!

5. I am sure that she is sorry about her affair. Having made her mistake, personally I think it has shown great character to rebuild her marriage with her husband. Sometimes, it is not the wrong that should be judged, but the way one goes about putting it right, in my view.

Others may disagree with my support for Liz, but I have witnessed her commitment to the Party and her achievements at first hand, so I know her well enough to say that she will be a tremendous asset to the Conservative benches.

Anonymous said...

If Liz Truss is such an outstanding candidate how on Earth did she allow a four year old affair to dominate her selection?

local goat said...

I am interested in the argument that her private life is irrelevant because in a job interview that would be "discriminatory". I wonder how this extrapolation of employment law plays with women only shortlists?

local goat said...

I imagine that being described as a Neanderthal is just the sort of encouragement that local Tories need to distribute leaflets, raise money for their local Associations, give up their time for their candidate and generally canvass support and make an election campaign work. Well done Mr Dale. As the Eastern Daily Press (in an uncharacteristic display of wit) put it, your comments this week have only served to clarify why you are not the current Member for North Norfolk.

Anonymous said...

@Mike Hoskins

No, she doesn't still hold the republican views - in fact, she had developed a strong support for the Monarchy, in particular HM Queen, by the time I met her.

Would that be about the time she decided that the Tories, rather than Lib Dems, were most likely to offer her a safe seat?

It was clear to me that she had gained an appreciation of the sterling service that the Royal Family gave to the country, so I guess that she changed her view when that realisation had become apparent to her.

So you're saying that she regularly spouts ill-informed drivel without even attempting to gain a basic understanding of the subject only to retract her imbecilic utterings later on when it's politically expedient to do so.

I have to say, Mike, you're not exactly filling me with confidence about her abilities by telling me, in effect, that she only spouted republican garbage and deprecated the Queen and her service to this country because she was ignorant of the facts.

To Iain, Mike and all you others who want to see Liz Truss in Parliament, I can only suggest that if you really want to help her career, you stop trying to help her career because, quite frankly, you, her friends are doing more damage to her cause than any of her imagined enemies.

Kate French said...

Would that be about the time she decided that the Tories, rather than Lib Dems, were most likely to offer her a safe seat?

Hardly, anonymous - this was 1996, remember. I'm sure you think you are being clever by trying to write your own interprestations of their words, but at least Iain and Mike are being upfront about what they are saying, and not hiding behind a cloak of anonymity like you.

Anonymous said...

With respect Kate French, if someone came up to you and said that they first realised in 2009 that the Labour party was the one for them, you would say they were bonkers. Ditto 1996 and Major's Tories. Perhaps she just felt more at home with the sleaze.

Unknown said...

I have just watched a young female Tory Parliamentary candidate proclaim (loudly) on the Daily Politics show that the S W Norfolk selection row is all about "sexism". Perhaps a pause for research may be useful for the young hopeful as those sexist pigs in S W Norfolk were very happily represented by Gillian (now Baroness) Shepherd from 1987 to 2005. A perhaps astonishing revelation to the London centric media that Norfolk not only produces articulate, clever and electable candidates but also on previous form appears to know when to back them........