Sunday, June 21, 2009

Iain Dale's Hoisting by His Own Petard

Iain Dale has got rather shirty about the Lib Dems selecting April Pond who was the the PPC for Broadlands as the PPC for the by election in Norwich North.

Now there is one thing about by elections that differs from General Elections. Any party that doesn't scour for the best candidate available is stupid. And if there is a good local candidate selected for a more winnable seat already selected they may well be the best person to take the extra pressure of national attention that most General Election candidates do not encounter.

But the irony is that the Tories themselves are the experts in flying in candidates. At least April is from the same county.

For the last Westminster by election in Glenrothes Maurice Golden was parachuted in. He's now the PPC of the more winnable Central Ayrshire seat. Having failed to get selected for Dunfermline and West Fife by election, but was on theMid Scotland and Fife list* he has now abandoned Fife so soon after been proud of saying he was '28 years old and [had] lived in Fife all his life' on his by election literature.

Of course that Dunfermline and West Fife selection caused some controversy as local party members boycotted the selection when Tory Group leader on Fife council Cllr Stuart Randall was not shortlisted. The candidate Carrie Ruxton had stood in 1999 for Dunfermline East for Holyrood but by 2001 had cropped up as Westminster candidate in Northavon where the 34.7% of the vote she gained just wasn't enough to unseat Lib Dem Steve Webb after being parachuted in as a token female in a target. In actual fact the swing was from Conservative to Lib Dem.

As for Glasgow East whoops Iain. Davena Rankin had been selected for Glasgow South before then being selected for East. But guess what Iain she lost and in your own word went 'crawling back to' Glasgow South Conservatives to 'beg for them to have her back'. Oh and they did. Does Iain wonder 'what on earth will' Glasgow South 'voters make of her whoring herself across' Glasgow? No I don't think so either.

There is something about people in glass houses. I'm reckoning the glass house at chez Dale must be very draughty this evening.

UPDATE: There is now a classic comment posted on Iain's blog at 9:31pm that points out that his use of the word 'whoring' once selected as a PPC for somewhere to then stand somewhere else in a by election means he has just called Winston Churhill and Margaret Thatcher whores. Double oops.

*Number 9.


Iain Dale said...

Haha. Good try. But you miss part of the point. And that is that Norfolk LibDems have been trying to make out that they will win Broadland (not something Glasgow Tories will have ever said, I'd have thought). Surely Broadland voters will look askance at a candidate who will just be perceived as having an eye on the main chance.

I repeat, what would people have said if I had abandoned North Norfolk for Tunrbidge Wells in 2004 (it never occurred to me, by the way)? You and I both know the answer.

Stephen Glenn said...

Ah but Iain you're missing the point. Norfolk Lib Dems are saying we have a chance to win Norwich North and why wait to get April in Westminster until Gordon says she can get there when she can be there in weeks.

Stephen Glenn said...

Besides Iain before Norwich North disappears under the boundary changes may as well have somebody who is seeking to represent at least some of them in the future.

Pity there weren't more Scotish by elections in the last parliament as that argument would I'm sure have been redundent then also.

Iain Dale said...

Stephen, I know Norwich North like the back of my hand. If you trust me on nothing else, trust me on this. The LibDems do not have a cat in hell's chance in Norwich North. They've never done anything there in a general election and rarely bother even leafleting let alone canvassing. They had a few councillors in the Broadland part of the constituency but most of them have now been ousted by the Conservatives.

Stephen Glenn said...

Ah but Iain this is the first Westminster test of the party that actually has said what they would do about reform against the big two who merely say something needs to be done. The landscape has changed pretty much everywhere.


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