Saturday, July 21, 2007

Total and complete tosser

Simon Heffer is, now that John Prescott has blissfully vanished from the scene, the most effortlessly irritating person in public life. His column today is a classic of the type, containing all the lip-smacking relish at the setbacks endured by the Tories at Ealing.

Frankly, if you can't even come second in by-elections halfway through the third term of another party's time in power, things aren't t just wrong. They are catastrophically wrong.

Which is hyperbolic bullshit. And Heffer even acknowledges why:

Let us start with Thursday's other big losers, the Liberal Democrats. Dear old Ming, shaking his stick from his bathchair yesterday, claimed their second places were a triumph.

Well, admittedly they were better than the official Opposition could do: but for a party that often seems to exist only to win by-elections, they were a disaster. At any other time, either Sedgefield or Ealing would have been the Lib Dems' for the taking, but they were never in with a shout.

So it was a disaster for the Tories because they couldn't outpoll the Liberal Democrats and finish second, and a disaster for the Liberal Democrats because they couldn't finish first. What the hell was Heffer expecting? The reason the Lib Dems were unable to take Ealing was that the Tory vote held up. This has been far from inevitable in the last few years. It wasn't a spectacularly good result by any means, but it wasn't a disaster.

None of this debacle will come as any surprise to any of us, for we have all seen it coming. The whole "heir to Blair" rubbish was proof Dave was fighting the last war. Bless him, he still thinks it is the mid-1990s.

Unlike Heffer, who is thinks it's the mid-1890s.

One remark I found especially nauseating was that of Tony McNulty, one of Ms Smith's underlings, who said that, if one was at university in the late 1970s or early 1980s, it was hard to avoid smoking pot.

Oddly enough, I was at university at exactly that time, and had no difficulty avoiding it. I also know a number of my contemporaries who managed to get through those three arduous years without breaking the law.

I also recall that the people who liked to take drugs tended to be absurd Leftists with infantile opinions who broke off from their devout studies of Marx to light up, or worse. Could it be that the young McNulty was one of these undesirables? And, if so, how did he come to be running the country?

What a tool. Of all the breathtakingly pompous and idiotic things to say this takes the biscuit. There is really very little point in reading anything Heffer writes these days. His parvenu attempts to become a choleric squire have resulted in perpetual repetition of tediously predictable nonsense.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Richard Speigal said...

A great defence but the result was indeed shambolic. As a TRG member, I received a last minute rallying cry for help with the campaign on polling day (a little late by then?) in what they called "a two horse race".

Coming third in a two horse race isn't something to be proud of - it's a shambles. The party still has much to think about...

2:17 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer is an orthodox conservative, and a gifted writer. He articulated exactly what the tribal elders are thinking, and what all older conservatives believe.
Cameron is the isomeric copy of Blair, which was indeed what he has worked to achieve. Comically The Greet Broon has moved right to occupy the space the people wish to be filled. Which leaves Cameron outflanked and irrelevant.

4:14 pm  
Blogger bgprior said...

For the Conservatives a strong showing would be very welcome indeed. It would bolster Cameron, rattle Brown and restore the momentum behind the Tories.

The problem for the Tories is that they had allowed people to think that they might do well (as per your comment quoted above), and they had done that because (apart from mis-reading the racial politics), if moving to the centre-ground can't gain votes in left-leaning constituencies, what is the point? They needed to deliver to justify Project Cameron, and they failed. I'm no particular fan of Heffer, but attempts to rebrand this result as "not a failure" look as credible as attempts to rebrand Tony Lit as a Tory did to the Ealing & Southall electorate. If this wasn't a failure, why has Cameron dropped Grant Shapps?

5:05 pm  
Blogger Tim J said...

It was a bad result - especially considering the efforts made (bizarrely) to manage expectations up. Grant Shapps (who I'd assumed was a low level CCHQ wonk rather than an MP) was a complete failure. I'm really not trying to whitewash the result: it was poor.

However, and this isn't a whitewash - promise - compared to how the Tories have been doing in by-elections it wasn't catastrophic either. My complaint with Heffer is that he is visibly delighting in any Tory travails he can think of. He represents, par excellence, the line of thought that holds that sterile ideological purity is an end in itself, and that there should be 'no compromise with the electorate'.

My favourite political writers, O'Rourke, Matthew Parris or Simon Hoggart (just to show my broad church...) write with a little sideways smile. Heffer writes with a sneer, and that's not attractive or engaging. I'll write a better post about the Tories soon - and please take me up on it!

10:34 pm  

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