"Jo [Cash A-lististo and PPC] seems to be coasting along and has not been pulling her weight. She wanted to get pregnant but this has happened at an unfortunate time. It should not be used as an excuse."
Wow! Yeah it is an unfortunate time to become pregnant, doesn't Jo Cash know there is no crèche in the Houses of Parliament?
But seriously this sort of comment and the attitude of Westminster North Conservative Association shows the problem that David Cameron has in steering his party. He may be at the helm but I don't think his rudder is breaking below the surface.
Jo Cash was one of those sorts of people that Dave wants us to believe that the Conservative party has become, inclusive, young, not all crusty old men. Her bio on her Twitter page currently starts with RIP Dinosaurs. But her battle with the local association shows they aren't quite dead yet, indeed as some of the debate on Parliamentary reform showed some of them are still living and breathing on the green benches behind Dave's back.
Northern Irish born Jo walked out of a local association meeting on Monday night feeling that her efforts to promote social action initiatives and reach out to the Labour vote in some of the more impoverished parts of the city have been frustrated by the association and the local Tory agent. Another thorn in her side had been the local constituency chairman Amanda Sayers who was installed as President at the meeting. Sayers is old school (just tell Baroness Thatcher) who gave up her own political aspirations to raise her family.
At that meeting in the pub issues had come to such a head that for a local branch meeting Eric Pickles, the Conservative chairman, and Lord Strathclyde, the Shadow Leader of the Lords and retiring local association president, were both present, along with Matthew Carrington, the party’s area chairman. Yesterday Pickles and Michael Grove, the Shadow Education Secretary spent the day saving the A-lististo's career.
However, Cash was selected from the Centrally run A-listing short list, she advocates all women short lists, her salvation came when Conservative Central Office stepped in to save her. The this the same CCO that is tightly controlling their party candidates' online communication. I wonder if the 'RIP Dinosaurs' comment is approved? The fact is that the Tories had to exercise central control to save embarrassment because they are running away from their base.
They'd like to tell us this is the year for change, but deep down they haven't changed. The only thing that changes with a Conservative vote this year is the person in charge of bringing you the same, old, tired politics. This incident with Jo Cash's local authority shows you what lies just beneath the surface.
Last night in the debate on electoral reform they showed quite happily they they didn't care about representing the majority of the people, only enough to get their agenda through, they don't even care why people do not like them. They have already through Annabel Goldie given up on Scotland again this time.