I find it fascinating that Tories appear to have leapt on this speculation that Labour might be attempting to rig the Conservative primary for London Mayor.
If it is true, then Labour is full of even more morons than I thought. You would have thought they learnt from their attempts to stitch up the Today programme Christmas poll in 1996. There is simply no way they could organise a mass entryist campaign without having to show their hand. There’d have to be a paper trail, an email trail… you know the drill.
And they’d have to be pretty sure they were able to get tens and tens of thousands of people to do it, each one willing to cough up Â£1.50. Ten thousand Labour supporters registering would make the Conservative Party Â£15k, and Labour would probably need more than that to assail Boris. Just how much cash is Labour planning to plough into the Tories’ coffers in the name of a dodgy stitch up that might not even work anyway?
In fact, Labour would have to be beyond stupid to try such a thing, notwithstanding the actions of a few mavericks (I note that this particular maverick is one “John Harris” – presumably the journalist who is at best semi-detached from the Labour Party). I simply can’t believe it.
Scratch beneath the surface though, and what are the underlying messages of this story? Firstly, Labour is terrified of Boris Johnson and want to avoid a fair fight at all costs. Secondly, the Conservatives are running a primary that any Londoner can take part in. Thirdly, all the other candidates in the primary are no hopers. In short, all the messages in this story are unequivocally good news for the Tories, and Boris Johnson in particular.
And of course, accusations about grand conspiracies of which there is no evidence whatsoever for is something that at least one Conservative MP seems to specialise in (I could of course mention Lord Rothermere and the Elder Protocols of Zion at this point and talk about ignoble Tory traditions, but I suspect that would upset some sensitive souls).
Two final points: I’m glad to see that the primary is being run by the Electoral Reform Society, so either way the reform movement makes a buck out of this. Secondly, if you have a vote, Vote Ewok. You know it makes sense.