Hunter wrote on September 17 that a senior London Labour councillor would join the Conservatives. Well, it happed today! Bertha Joseph, Brent's first African-Caribbean Mayor, has been a Brent councillor since 1986 and was Mayor for 2006/07 during Brent's celebration of the abolition of the slave trade. Hunter first knew about this defection a month ago, but, despite many requests to 'spill the beans', had to wait until it became official. Haringey's Richard Reynolds and a black former Labour activist in Hackney have also defected to Cameron's Conservatives.
For too long, Labour have taken the support of the BME communities for granted. Labour have failed them on crime, education, housing and social mobility (to name just four). Today's Conservative Party welcomes everyone - no matter where you came from. What matters is where you're going!
A week or two ago, Hunter was contacted by a BBC journalist who wanted to know the views of us Conservative Association Chairman. The interview went something along the lines of:
BBC Man: Is David Cameron on the right track?
BBC Man: Do you think DC will win the next election?
BBC Man: Do you support DC's stance on the Environment?
And so on.
It seems, after talking to colleagues, that we all sang from the same hymn sheet. It's funny that the BBC have not released their findings.
A cynic could suggest that the 'survey' was commissioned to embarrass the Conservative Party and run stories on "splits". They wouldn’t do that, would they? Discuss.
Electoral Calculus predicts that Lynne Featherstone, MP will be a one-term MP (see their prediction below). According to one well-placed source, who keeps Hunter in the loop, Featherstone is spending a lot of time on the loo...
Hornsey and Wood Green
Region: North London
MP Lynne Featherstone (LIB) Electorate 76,621 Turnout 61.77% Top
2005 Votes 2005 Share Prediction
LIB 20,512 43.34% 31.08%
LAB 18,117 38.28% 42.54%
CON 6,014 12.71% 16.93%
OTH 2,687 5.68% 9.45%
LIB Majority 2,395 5.06% Pred Maj 11.46% LAB Gain
Results for 2005 implied from new boundary calculations
Now that Boris Johnson has been chosen as our Mayoral candidate, Hunter was wondering who will replace him as Member of Parliament for Henley. Who better than Johnson Snr, who stood for Teignbridge at the last General Election? If Boris didn't win the Mayoralty, Stanley Johnson, now in his late-sixties, could vacate the seat, for Boris, at the following election.
But what about Croydon Central (where it looks increasingly likely that Andrew Pelling won't be able to stand again)? Step forward, then, Andrew Brokenshire, MP. Andrew's Hornchurch constituency is going to be abolished, so he's looking for a new seat. It's a good bet that he'll apply here if he doesn't get Grantham and Stamford.
And if Ann Widdecombe, MP stands down, as expected, blogger Iain Dale is tipped to get the nomination. He would be a wonderful addition to the Green Benches - as indeed would Stanley. Andrew is already an MP - let's hope he stays one!
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denied that any gays live in his country to an audience at Columbia University in New York.
"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," he said. "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it."
He has also questioned the Holocaust and believes Israel should be wiped off the map.
Now he wants us to believe that he is a "man of peace" who has "no interest" in
building a nuclear bomb and arming insurgents in Iraq.
Even President Bush's fiercest critics should not believe a word he says.
Norfolk Blogger, my Lib Dem cyber-mate, has just informed us that Lib Dem HQ have been in touch with him to ask him if he's willing to stand as a PPC, probably in a no-hope seat, if an election is called next week. Nich's is on their list of approved candidates.
Now, I have just received an email from Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) giving me details on how to order general election material.
Meanwhile, Iain Dale is reporting that Labour is eleven points ahead of the Conservatives in a poll due out tomorrow, an 'A-List' Tory candidate has defected to Labour and a Tory MP, Andrew Pelling, has been arested for allegedly duffing-up his wife! He has now been suspended from the Parliamentary Party.
Hunter is off to Ladbrokes first thing in the morning to wage a fiver on a November election...
Iain Dale has named the top 100 Right of Centre blogs. Hunter is at 94. Yes, 94! Obviously, bloggers like Croydonian and Dizzy should be in the top 10 - Hunter can't compete with such brains. But one or two bloggers ahead of me really should not have beaten me.
Tempting as it is, I am not going to names the blogs that I think should not be above me. I'll just say that, unlike some of them, I try to keep my blog topical and up-dated. Does anyone know what the judges were looking for? There's something, excuse the pun, not quite right with the ranking of us Tory bloggers...
Needless to say, Hunter doesn't expect to be in Iain’s 100 political blogs!
With regret, Hunter has just terminated several blog links. Graeme Archer, Farenheit and Jungle Jane are out because the blog entries were so out-of-date. If you don't keep your blog up-to-date, you can't expect a link. Cllr. Jones' blog will also be removed if she doesn't up-date it within the week.
New links include Patrick Cusworth, Newmania, Evan Price, Cllr. Phil Briscoe, Shane Greer and Neil Woollcott.
Hunter woke up this morning to a love-in, sorry interview, between Gordon Broon and Today's Sarah Montague. Having voted for 24 hour boozing, to declassify cannabis and a host of other things he now wants us to believe it was all Tone's fault. He talked about wanting to improve our public services - but he's the man, as Chancellor, who throw money at public services without demanding much-needed reforms. The Great Clunking Fist forced Blair to water down all his good-intentioned policies on giving the professionals more say on how services are run. And he was the Chancellor who spent our money like a drunken sailor! He sounded very much like he's spent the last ten years in opposition, not as the Number Two in government. How does he get away with it? Do you think Montague challenged him? Where's Dave?
Leading Liberal Democrat blogger, Nich Starling, has tagged me. Nich wants to know who has influenced my politics. Here goes:
1. Margaret Thatcher for rescuing Britain from industrial unrest and ruin, liberating working people by introducing Right-to-Buy and putting the Great back into Britain.
2. Sybil James (deceased). Sybil was a Conservative activist in Tottenham and a former Labour/SDP councillor in Islington. She gave me lots of encouragement, which I shall never forget. Sadly, she passed away just a year after I met her from a brain haemorrhage.
3. Ada Gang-Devi from Tottenham, whom I've known since 1994. She, like Sybil, took me under her wing and has supported me in good times as well as bad. She helped keep Tottenham Conservative Association alive in the dark days (1997-2004) and has raised thousands on pounds which has enabled us to keep the Tory light shinning in most of Tottenham.
4. John Major. A kind man who had Britain's interests at heart, he achieved a lot during his premiership and people should think twice before trashing his administration.
5. Peter Tatchell. I could listen to him for hours. He is a libertarian who could teach a few Tories about Freedom and Liberty. He's a brave man, too.
I now tag: Croydonian,Darker Side of Briget Jones,Matt Davies, Patrick Cusworth and Neil Woollcott
Hunter received a call from Boris' office at 2pm on Friday to say that Boris would be at Turnpike Lane "in an hour". Yikes! No time to prepare for anything! Hunter was pleased to give Boris a tour of Wood Green - he was well received by people of all ages and colours. Labour's nasty campaign to label him a racist clearly isn't working. Then, after drinks with the hacks, we delivered the last of our leaflets. In all, we've delivered 15,000 over the last two months and the new leaflet is at the printers. Nobody can say that we're not prepared for a snap election...
Saturday was spent with Dr. James at Bluewater, followed by a very alcoholic evening at a local pub where there was karaoke. Hunter managed to get up to sing the classic Irish song, the Wild Rover. Everyone clapped me when I left the stage - not sure if I was good or that they were pleased I had finished?
Yesterday was spent at the North Mid Hospital (was in so much pain I that I could not travel to a nicer hospital in central London). I'm feeling better today - but was I in pain!
Woke up this morning to find a message on my answering machine from a local resident. He's found a dead cat outside of his apartment and wants the Conservative Action Team to help remove it. The lengths we go to for extra votes...
Hunter is always keen to learn the latest in ‘street language’ – being a kewl dude and so on. Yesterday, in Tottenham, Hunter was described, by an admirer, as being “the worst”. This, apparently, means “the best”. He, in return, is a Star! You get me, now?
Hunter takes great pride in mocking the Dim Lebs. It has almost become a hobby - up there with keeping guinea pigs, blogging and partying. But I'm almost feeling sorry for them! This week, in case you haven't noticed, they are meeting in Brighton for their annual conference. There has been little reporting on it - and the coverage that they have received has been negative. The problem, in my view, is twofold: they have an old man as their leader who is a good pal of Gordon Broon. In the event of a hung-parliament, which is likely, he will prop Labour up in the Commons if he's still there). And they are a bitterly divided party - they can't decide if they are for a free-market and socially libertarian society or want to be party of big government.
In May, they made a net loss of over 200 seats. Their poll ratings are hovering at 15% (or below), but they living in a bubble. They think everything is hunkey dorey.
Wake up and smell the organic coffee: you're in trouble - big trouble!
On Saturday Hunter joined colleagues in neighbouring Hornsey & Wood Green for a canvassing session in Muswell Hill. Interesting to see how many erstwhile Labour supporters, who switched to Featherstone over 'the war', are now going back into the Labour fold now Flash Gordon's in charge. And lots of positive noises about Zac Goldsmith's Quality of Life Report (well, if it didn't go down well in a place like Muswell Hill, we get our spades out and start digging...) Featherstone's majority looks OK on paper, but then that is presumably what Barbara Roche (the former Labour MP) thought when she was stacking up larger majorities for Labour in Hornsey & Wood Green than even Bernie Grant could achieve in Tottenham? Looks like Lynne may not be as secure as she likes to think!
After canvassing, Hunter joined former Horsey chairman David Allen for a splendid lunch in Bistro Aix, a wonderful French restaurant in Crouch End. I know I should have skipped dessert, but the lavender icecream was just too tempting. As we walked back towards the Broadway, who should we spot but Haringey Council's Dim Leb group leader Neil Williams (aka The Humourless Bitch) dining a deux at a local greasy spoon with a grey-haired gentleman; they both looked pretty miserable - I wonder why? Perhaps they had been checking out their canvass returns?
The formidable Lurline Champagnie is set to become Boris Johnson's Deputy if he, as expected, wins the primary. This is a very smart move indeed. It would kill off Labour's disgraceful suggestion that he is a racist (Boris is many things, but a racist he is not). Lurline, famous for turning up at a Conservative conference under Margaret Thatcher's premiership and declaring, 'I'm black! British! Conservative! And proud of all three!'
She is likable, intelligent and eccentric in her own right. Some have described her as being 'mad as a hatter'. She and Boris will make a wonderful double-act! Perhaps he should be her Deputy?
On Monday, Hunter dragged himself to Lambeth, not Westminster as the BEEB reported, to the first Conservative Mayoral hustings. Having arrived twenty minutes late, I missed Victoria's and Wawick's speeches. Andrew Boff, whom Hunter is supporting, gave a very strong performance. Boris’s, in comparison, was lacklustre. Those in attendance - even his supporters, universally agreed.
Andrew's central message was, essentially, that the Conservative Party is about liberating people or it is nothing. In Mayoral terms, this means giving Londoners a greater say by devolving powers to local people.
Victoria Borwick's speaking abilities have massively improved since Hunter last heard her speak in 2003 (when she was applying to be our GLA candidate). Warwick Lightfoot is a master of facts and figures (well, he is an economist). If we were voting solely on policy, Warwick would win hands down. His problem is, despite having come from humble origins, he is just too posh.
Left the venue thinking, 'actually, I wouldn't mind any of them over Livingstone'.
Hunter voted the following morning: first choice went to Andrew, second to Warwick, third to Victoria and fourth to Boris. Despite this, Hunter appears as a "supporter" on Boris's website. All I did was to sign up to his newsletter...
Hunter popped over to Brent Cross today and lunched in a restaurant called "Tootsies", where he nibbled on a Tootsie Burger! Whatever next will they be calling their food chains? Hutu Ribs?
The Lib Dems like to claim that they are a democratic party. However, you might be forgiven for thinking otherwise if you examined the nominees for Lib Dem Blog of the Year on Lib Dem Voice. Although some of the nominations are interesting in themselves, it is perhaps the omissions that highlight concerns that the Lib Dems are closing ranks to ensure that dissenting voices are not heard.
Take, for example, three high-profile, yet independent-minded Lib Dem blogs: Linda Jack and old favourites of mine, Norfolk Blogger (aka Nich Starling) and Suz Blog
These three bloggers have failed to be nominated in any category at all in the Lib Dems' own internal blog awards. Is it any coincidence that these three bloggers have recently received an enormous amount of criticism from fellow Lib Dem bloggers who objected to their willingness to criticise the leadership of Ming Campbell’s hapless leadership?
Of course, it might be that the other blogs were simply better, who am I, as a Tory, to judge? However, statistics on the Liberal England blog showed that NINE came from the Norfolk Blogger - putting him in third place. You would have to ask yourself why it is that a blogger like Nich Starling, who obviously has a large number of readers, didn’t get nominated, whereas Alex Wilcock, a party loyalist, wrote just eight stories in just over three months, of which a large number appear to be about Doctor Who, was nominated twice! Matt Davies, a councillor in Hunter's own turf of Haringey, was also nominated despite endlessly writing about Tottenham/Spurs and "gigs" (he's so macho!)
Looking at other measures of blog readership and success, I note that the Norfolk Blogger’s technorati ranking is 183, which puts him higher than both Lib Dem Voice itself and Liberal England. Just why do so many Lib Dems read his blog, yet so few nominate him?
Perhaps I am too suspicious of the Dim Lebs, but to my mind it smacks of good old unashamed censorship and cronyism.
Just look at what Nich Starling wrote just this week where he had the guts to criticise his own party about their bizarre statements on the decline in children taking free school meals. As soon as he made the statement, a number of other 'loyal' Dib Lems jumped in to write a blog post in support of the Dim Leb position. In other words, as soon as there is a voice of criticism there is a desperate clamour to crowd out dissenting voices. But why then does he have so many readers amongst Lib Dems? Well it’s like all forms of censorship. The people doing the censoring are often secretly rather titillated by what they see, but in public pretend very much the opposite.
In the same way as my own blog is quite partisan, I am a Conservative to my very core, albeit a liberal one, Nich Starling’s blog is clearly Lib Dem. Like me, he can also see the faults in his own party and is prepared to voice his concerns. Perhaps the Lib Dems are happy to see their opinion poll ratings slide, but if they are to survive they need to start listening to dissenting voices. Because, as I see it, the Dim Lebs don’t really like free speech and it would appear to me that they want to silence Norfolk Blogger by refusing to give him a platform for his views to be heard. The powers that be have got involved and the sandal and beard brigade have closed ranks. Hunter has been banning from commenting on Dim Leb Voice – Nich next, too?
I rather like bloggers who, once in a while, are critical of their own party. In the case of the Norfolk Blogger, I rarely agree with Nich, but respect his blog because I know it will not be a party mouthpiece. It is odd the Lib Dems would prefer Pravda to independent-minded Liberal Democrats. They're a strange party!
We all know that Haringey is a dreadful Labour council, but many people had high hopes of the Lib Dems. Instead of challenging Labour when they get things wrong, supporting them when they get things right and offering fresh thinking (as Conservatives would do), the Lib Dems have behaved quite disgracefully in the council chamber. They're not interested in consensual politics, only indulging in 'Punch and Judy' politics - trying to score cheap political points at every opportunity. This week's Journal highlights one good example here. It's between the Lib Dems' often ill-informed Bob Hare Vs. Labour's original Great Clunking Fist, Ray Dodds. Hunter dispairs at this kind of politics - especially at a time when our taxes are going through the roof and services - if you call them that - are being slashed. The Lib Dems have let us all down by not being a responsible and sensible opposition on Haringey Council.
There are two big reasons why Conservatives are behind in the polls. The first is that Gordon Brown is seen as ‘macho’ and David Cameron as weak, to say the least (how time have changed in recent months!) The second is that voters do not think the Conservative Party is really changing. Today, Michael Ancram, a pompous prat of the first order, trashes civil partnerships and advocates withdrawal from the European Union – on the same day as the Party’s Public Services Improvement Policy Group, led by former cabinet minister Stephen Dorell, MP, and leading educationalist, Baroness Perry of Southwark, publishes some really exciting ideas.
Yesterday, John Bercow, the smug little arrogant Labour-apologist and some-time Conservative MP, took up Gordon Brown’s offer to advise the Labour government on children with disabilities. What Bercow knows about children with disabilities is anyone's guess. Bercow has always been an attention-seeker: first as a leading light in the hard-right Monday Club and now as an MP to the left of Dennis Skinner. Patrick Mercer (another one of Gordon's Tory recruits) appears to be suffering from sour grapes, after Cameron sacked him earlier on in the year over controversial comments on ethnic minority army officiers.
Hunter can remember meeting Bercow at the 2001 Conservative Party conference at a TORCHE event. He harangued me on the importance of the Conservative Party reaching out to the gay community. Hunter informed him of his own sexuality, reminded him of his involvement in the Monday Club and told him to go fuck himself.
Now, David Cameron has the opportunity to reassert his authority by telling his MPs that they’re with us or against us. Criticism of the Party should only be made in private; MPs are there to promote the Party, not aid the Labour government. In the case of these three MPs, Ancram and Mercer should be shown the Yellow card. Without any doubt whatsoever, Bercow should be shown the Red card – the colour of his soon-to-be new party.
Dizzy has written a very good post here on the same subject - his bad language, though, seems to be catchy...