Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Tory Party Unveils Its Soul: Children and Small Animals Flee

Gosh. I’m delighted to have been nominated in the Liberal Democrat Blog of the Year Awards category that I was secretly wishing for, and also in the big one… Where I’d anticipated four of the shortlist, but definitely not me! I reckon I was a rather better (or at least more frequent) blogger last year, so I’m very happily surprised. Thank you very much, those of you who nominated me, and I’ll take it as a punt up the posterior to propel me into more persistent punditry. So while I work on some serious number-crunching, here’s a Michael Ancram moment…

Michael who, you ask?

He used to be Chairman of the Conservative Party.

No, doesn’t ring a bell – Chairman? I can’t even remember all the Leaders they’ve got through between them doing away with the last one they really worshipped and getting in the oily new salesman.

Fair enough. Actually, he stood for Leader, too. Came a magnificent fifth against a field of talent headed by Iain Duncan Smith?

You’ve got to be kidding.

No, straight up. As a consolation prize, he became the Tories’ Shadow Foreign Secretary and – you must remember this – Deputy Leader!

What, for about five minutes, was that?

No, er, four years, actually.

Crikey. I only remember that Ming Campbell being the opposition on Foreign Affairs, the Iraq War and that.

Well, to be fair, the Tories were saying exactly the same as the Government except that they should be just a little bit more gung-ho for the Americans, so it would have been difficult to be very memorable.

I’ll say.

Anyway, he’s the man who used to be the Tories’ answer to John Prescott. Bit rotund, talks rubbish, ludicrous class stereotype to keep the old-fashioned wing of their party on board.

In what way?

Well, he’s not really called “Michael Ancram”.


It’s the Most Honourable (don’t worry, it doesn’t mean he has to be honourable) Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, Thirteenth Marquess of Lothian and Earl of Ancram. QC. PC. MP.

Oh, that Michael… No, no, sorry, still don’t remember him.

Well, he wasn’t as funny as John Prescott.

No, that would be difficult. So why’s he in the news?

He’s just made an attack on David Cameron that’s got in the way of a Tory policy launch.

David Cameron? Policies? Now I know this is a wind-up. Everyone knows he hasn’t got any of those.

Well, he never promised to actually stick to any of them. Just talk about them and see if they looked popular, in which case he could claim credit, or if they didn’t, in which case he could say they were nothing to do with him.

That sounds more like him.

Anyway, Mr Lord Earl Marquess Michael Ancram didn’t agree with Mr Cameron having no policies, and thought he was a bit of an oik – but then, Michael Ancram’s the only person in the country other than the Queen more posh than David Cameron (and Mr Cameron’s a closer relative of the Queen than Michael Ancram is, anyway, so the Marquess is probably jealous).

So what new policies does this Ancram Kerr Thing person want?

‘New’ isn’t really the word. Now – and you may hide behind the sofa if you wish – he says they had a perfectly good set of policies in the Eighties, and Mr Cameron’s been trashing them.

Brrr. But wasn’t the Tory Party all about homophobia, and xenophobia, and slash and burn back then?

And that’s exactly why Michael Ancram liked them. He said so.

Yikes! What else did he say? I’ve braced myself.

Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Launching his personal manifesto ‘Conservatives Standing Still’, he said David Cameron must “unveil the party’s soul”.

Aaaggh! Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

I think I am.

That scene at the end of the movie…

When mild-mannered, ineffectual David Cameron unwinds the camouflage wrapping round his head to reveal the ghastly shade of Lady Thatcher still clinging to his party?

That’s it. Help!

So you remember who Michael Ancram is now?

No. But I remember what the soul of the Conservative Party looks like.

PS I hope Millennium wins! The big one, anyway. I admit I’d quite like the Best Posting Award… Well, I’m only human.

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