What a bizarre article by Iain Dale!
First, he makes a big deal out of the fact that Mark Oaten, apparently, came “very close” to defecting to the Tories in Autumn 2005. Work that date out in your head for a minute. Posterity records that Mark Oaten wasn’t exactly of sound mind at the time, and was apparently rather more interested in something else that is spelled very similarly to defection, but has an extra ‘a’.
Defecting to the Conservatives may well be a degrading form of self abuse, but I’m not sure it was Iain’s intention to make the link quite so explicit.
Oaten was apparently disappointed by the Lib Dems’ opposition to his ‘tough’ stance on crime. Yet Nick Clegg, also considered a prime candidate for defection, has done more than anyone else to bury Oaten’s ‘tough liberalism’ stance. So which type of Lib Dem do you want?
He goes on to talk about the need for secrecy when it comes to defections, and that careless talk costs them, only to reveal that Ed Vaizey has been given the job by Cameron to co-ordinate it all. Good job that’s still a secret, then.
And then there’s all those strange innuendos, that make it all sound rather like “Confessions of a Career Politician”. “[Vaizey's] recent trip to the Arctic Circle with Nick Clegg may not have resulted in a defection, but eight hours a night in an igloo can hardly have failed to bring them closer.” F’narr f’narr! “[Shaun Woodward] was promised all manner of rewards (none of which has materialised) and made to feel wanted. But, at the last minute, he wobbled and the seduction turned into a brutal rape.” Err, we are still talking about defections, right?
This article can hardly have helped the Tory plan to get us all to sign up, and indeed makes it sound like the Tory frontbench spend rather too much time obsessing about it. It’s very flattering, but it does rather suggest that they aren’t feeling too confident about how they are likely to fare in the run up to the General Election, and need us to bail them out.
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