Coffee House

The Ashcroft report

3 July 2010

3 July 2010

One thing that the AV referendum might do is revive the debate in Conservative circles about why the party did not win a majority in the general election. As the most striking example so far of the price of Coalition, it is likely to start off some grumbling about why the party is in position where it has to govern with the Lib Dems.

Interestingly, on this front, Francis Elliott reports in The Times today that Lord Ashcroft has nearly finished his review of the campaign and that an ‘early draft is said to be unsparing in its criticism of Mr Cameron and his inner circle.’ But Ashcroft has yet to decide whether or not to publish his review.

If Ashcroft were to publish a critical report of the campaign, then I suspect the gloves would come off. One Minister tells Francis, ‘If he wants a war then the Prime Minister is in a very strong position.’
 


More Spectator for less. Subscribe and receive 12 issues delivered for just £12, with full web and app access. Join us.

Show comments
  • Swiss Bob

    I should also add that immigration continues unabated, it has been reported that tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of UK IT workers are unemployed, and probably on benefits due to the fantastic volumes of Indian IT workers coming into the UK under ‘Inter Company Transfers’.

    It can’t be that the Tories are taking money from these companies, or the banks they supply can it? I mean it would be madness to keep middle class IT workers on benefits while increasing taxes on those with jobs, all to profit the banks at the UK taxpayers expense.

  • Commentator

    I suspect that Ashcroft has far more dirt on Dave and his mates than vice-versa. He is also a highly successful self-made grown-up unlike the prickly princeling in an open-necked shirt currently occupying No 10.

  • Ruby Duck

    The Conservative party runs crap campaigns. Anyone trained by, or besotted by, Central Office is a liability in a campaign. Local Conservatives know what they’re doing, but they’re invariably hamstrung by Central Office experts or ambitious young privately educated lapdogs who bugger it up.

  • Major Plonquer 1

    The Times used to be a newspaper didn’t it? But I believe it quietly closed its doors and shot itself in the head a month or so ago.

  • yank

    Tiberius: “…George Osborne is working to change those circumstances for the next election, by creating different economic and social conditions, which will make Tory policy more attractive to more people.”

    .

    .

    Tiberius,

    Osborne may be making moves to address the structural deficit, but these are the same moves that Labor would have made, and that’s the dirty little secret here. Restraining spending growth and tax increases would have been Labor’s program as well.

    Over here, far away to be sure, as we’ve started to review Cameron’s nascent regime, there seems to be some thought coalescing that we’re looking at a squish at the helm. The large VAT increase and especially the proposed massive capital gains tax increases should give you foreboding, because the wolves here and worldwide are anxious to take advantage of the capital you’re chasing away. All the wolves require is a platform, and that platform may arise come the first Tuesday this November.

    The Cameron/Osborne shorterm strategy may work fine to destabilize Labor’s power base, but that’s not quite the same thing as a longterm strategy to promote opportunity and grow the economy. The first is a political strategy, the second far more than that, and far more important as well.

    You lot are far more refined than we the unwashed, but we’ve recently begun another rebellion on those who play along with the old guard, as Cameron may be doing. He better watch his p’s and q’s, because especially in a parliamentary system, rebellions are always only a breath away, even there amongst our betters.

  • Adro

    Well said Mycroft. Thank god we have a decent Government, rather than one held to ransom by the swivel-eyed supporters of Screamin’ Lawd P and his United Kingdom Idiots Party. Because they did soooooo well at the 2010 General Election. Still, keep on beating those chests boys and gals, we need something to carry on livening up those otherwise boring EU meetings.

  • TGF UKIP

    Oh dear Tiberius, in the difficulty you and your fellow Camerluvvies appear to have in facing up to the realities of your idol’s many fallibilities and failures, you are beginning to resemble those poor deluded souls populating the LFC websites so bitterly lamenting the departure of their misplaced hero, that other failure, the Spanish Gordon Brown.

    As for your lashing out at Tim Montgomerie’s forensic analysis (self-flagellation indeed!) I’m afraid that seems to bespeak far more to a fan club mentality than to interested commentary.

    As for Lord A’s report he may as well publish for, given its reported contents, it will most certainly be leaked. From the report in the NoW on June 13th (and I wonder who was their source) it certainly sounds that it’s going to be a good read: “The former Deputy Chairman will slam Mr Cameron. Friends say he will accuse the PM of being the worst leader for decades – and will blame him for throwing away a 20 point lead in a disastrous campaign.”

    At a guess I would also say that it’s unlikely to be too complimentary about The Mekon either, but what should give you some pause for thought old chap, is that even the house mag and even its Political Editor came to accept in the end that even they, in their own way, had no option but to be more than a little critical of your hero and theirs.

  • Victor Southern

    Vulture is employed by the Daily Mail. ’nuff said.

  • Cynic

    @TrevorsDen “The expenses scandal hugely undermined all political parties, yet only the numpties voting for UKIP prevented an overall tory majority.”

    Doesn’t this tell you that if the touchy feely Cons had been sound on the EU they would have walked it? After all, Dave had the opportunity to offer a referendum and UKIP wouldn’t have fielded any candidates in Tory marginals, but he rejected it. You seem to imply that people shouldn’t be allowed to vote for policies they believe in!

  • Mycroft

    Thank you, defectors to UKIP, you deprived the Tories of ending up (perhaps) with a perilously thin majority, enabling us instead to have this stable coalition in which the right-wing fringe cannot call the shots.

  • AndyinBrum

    Vulture, you still can’t grasp it can you, if Dave hadn’t taken the Tories back to the centre, The Tories would probably not even be the biggest party.

  • lescam

    “He was the idiot who wrote the original report ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ recommending a whosesale adoption of Dave’s mushy green, wanky liberal agenda that turned off so many Tories and lost the party the election”

    I may be wrong, but from what I’ve read in the press, it was Steve Hilton who was responsible for the “mushy, green, liberal” etc.

    However, I completely agree that this turned off many Tories, including myself. For the first time in my fairly long life I didn’t vote Tory. There was absolutely no reason to. And unless in the future they agree to replace grammar schools, cut foreign aid, stand up to the EU bullies, and forget all this “green” c**p, I will never vote for them again. As bad as NuLabour were, I can’t see that the Tories, under the present leadership, are any better.

    Many rightwingers like myself, voted UKIP. If we had all voted Tory, Dave would most likely now have a decent majority. Ignore us and ridicule us at your peril, Dave, if you want an overall majority next time. We have votes and we will use them, but not for you.

  • saltirethinking

    Any chance that the brilliant campaign organised by the Scottish Tories will be analysed by Ashcroft.
    What happened to all that money?.

  • John Smith

    I really doubt it! I remember that story raging on for a week as headline news on the BBC.

  • Fergus Pickering

    The Conservatives didn’t win because not enough people voted for them. If only theyhad been more right wing they would have got more votes. Where have I heard this before? Why from Tony Benn, except for right read left. And if the Conservatives had embraced the politics of the one-eyed fat man (no, you fool, the other one) then they would have swept the country.

    Forget it. We (that is most people) don’t care. We are happy with the government we’ve got and we’d vote for it again. Of course in a year’s time we (everybody) may feel differently. Who knows? I don’t and it’s for sure that that political journalists don’t. Still, you’ve got to have stuff to write about. I suppose.

  • DavidDP

    Will it mention anything about the damage done by Ashcroft not confirming his tax status? Any bets?

  • TrevorsDen

    PS their is a charming notion that if the campaign had been fought ‘better’ the result would have been different.

    A good campaign is one thing. the mood of the electorate is another. thke the ear;ly results. Two safe labour seats in Sunderland showed massive swings to the Tories. But the seat they had a chance of winning? Less than half the swing.

  • TrevorsDen

    Its amazing what rubbish keeps being talked about in this election.
    Labour – despite hugely favourable constituency boundaries – lost as many seats as it ever has and the tories won as many seats as it ever has and the liberals did nothing like as well as they hoped.

    Tell me where the problem is in that?

    The expenses scandal hugely undermined all political parties, yet only the numpties voting for UKIP prevented an overall tory majority.

    Of course an overall majority of say 10 would not have left the tories in a particularly strong parliamentary position. Now with them winning votes by nearly 80 the coalition is in a strong stable position to deliver difficult but sound economic and social reform.

    Wake up indeed. This website should rename itself pillock-central.

  • Vulture

    Ashcroft is a pain in the arse.

    He was the idiot who wrote the original report ‘Wake Up and Smell the Coffee’ recommending a whosesale adoption of Dave’s mushy green, wanky liberal agenda that turned off so many Tories and lost the party the election.

    In between times he was a major cause of embarrassment to the party with his weaselly deceptions abt his tax status.

    Now he tells us that his boy Dave is not the bees’ knees after all. Gee, Thanks for that. But its all a wee bit too late now.

    Why doesn’t he just sod off back to Belize where he belongs ?

  • Verity

    Swiss Bob – To all your points – agreed.

    James writes: “One thing that the AV referendum might do is revive the debate in Conservative circles about why the party did not win a majority in the general election.”

    I can answer that question in two words: David Cameron. No one likes him. He’s greedy. He’s not very bright, and he’s not overly cunning,

    I am still absolutely baffled about 1. Why he was put in as Leader when he has absolutely nothing to offer, and 2. Why he wasn’t sacked for mind-boggling incompetence in the 4 1/2 years he wasted before the election.

    I agree with Frank P. Let’s have another election before Labour gets its act together.

  • paulg

    Lord Ashcroft has drawn the wrong conclusions from the debates that Cameron called for and then needed to take part in, or look like a coward.

    The clear winner initially was Nick Clegg but this did not translate into seats won- in fact they lost seats, probably due to Lord Ashcroft.( politically Mr Brown was a dead man walking in those debates)

    No we lost sixteen seats because of UKIP, those pot boiling maniacs thought they could leverage the conservative party, only to be roundly disabused of that idea. They forced the conservative into coalition with the lib-dems- some genius in UKIP thought that one through!

    Plus the Scottish unionists did not show up – one seat out of an entire kingdom is a F****** disgrace.

    Unless the conservatives make inroads into Scotland, they will always be fighting with their shoe laces tied together.

  • Tiberius

    Apologies to Tim Montgomerie!

  • Tiberius

    Lord Ashcroft and Tom Montgomery can indulge in as much self-flagellation as they wish, but it won’t change the circumstances under which the election was fought. Michael Heseltine summed up the position as well as anyone when on QT shortly after polling day.

    As you have argued, James, (if I understand you right), George Osborne is working to change those circumstances for the next election, by creating different economic and social conditions, which will make Tory policy more attractive to more people.

    It’s an uphill struggle, but the Tories have to try it for the welfare of the country.

  • Swiss Bob

    “the debate in Conservative circles about why the party did not win a majority in the general election”

    Perhaps it was that their policies were almost indistinguishable from Labour’s, and so far I see no change, none, taxes are going up, public spending is going up, no quangos are being abolished, more sovereignty is being handed over to the EU, we might as well have kept Brown, at least his madness was entertaining in a morbid kind of way.

  • Frank P

    ‘One Minister tells Francis’ indeed! What you mean is that one Minister uses Francis to threaten Ashcroft with further exposure about dodgy dealing if he publishes the report.

    Publish and be damned! This complacent rig up needs to be dismantled. Lets have another General Election before Labour gets its act together and restores the Long March with the Milibeetle pup leading the vanguard.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here