Tag Archives: byelections

Iain Dale calls Lib Dem candidate a “whore”

Iain Dale has taken the unusual decision to take Lib Dem candidate for Norwich North April Pond to task for putting herself forward after already being the candidate for Broadland constituency.

He likens this to him abandoning Norfolk North constituency in the run up to the 2005 General Election to fight a by-election in Tunbridge Wells, and accuses her of “whoring herself across Norfolk.”

The 'old' Norwich North ConstituencyThe 'new' Broadland ConstituencyAside from the blatant misogyny, there is just one other flaw in this argument: Broadland – being a new constituency to be created at the next General Election – encapsulates part of Norwich North constituency which is about to be abolished. You can see how by comparing the above images courtesy of Wikipedia.

Is this sort of sexist talk and blatant disinformation spreading really the sort of thing we should tolerate in political discourse? It looks as if Iain is auditioning to be David Cameron’s own Damien McBride.

Cheap. And talking of cheap shots, do you think we should explain to him that Tunbridge Wells isn’t in Norfolk?

Hat tip: Liberal England

Why didn’t Clegg visit H&H?

Please disregard the football-related metaphor in the heading (not my choice of words), but here is my CiF piece on the Haltemprice and Howden by-election.

It would appear that my analysis is pretty much the same as Stephen Tall’s – i.e. Clegg was right to back Davis but failed to press his advantage home:

However unjustified, the sad fact of the matter is that by not ensuring a platform alongside Davis’s other supporters, including Tony Benn and Bob Marshall-Andrews, Clegg has left the party vulnerable to this line of attack. He put principle before party, but we should be mindful of the fact that giving the Conservatives an open goal to reposition themselves as the party of civil liberties will ultimately be wholly counter-productive.

This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this self-destructive impulse within the Lib Dems to be leery of sharing a platform on the basis that it might dillute our (non-existent) brand as the One True Voice on a given issue. It goes back to the very heart of “community politics“, i.e. we need to be building a movement rather than concentrating on the party. Clegg needs to do what his predeccessors have consistently failed to do and get into the movement business. And fast.

Two Ds, Two faces?

I spotted this quote from David Davis this morning but LDV beat me to it:

“I’m sorry that Labour and the Liberal Democrats funked it, but we’re still having a good argument and getting the issue raised.”

Both personally and professionally I’ve spent quite a lot of time defending Davis’ actions, at least up to a point. I’m still not convinced this was necessarily the best strategy but on the basis that the real problem is locking the Tory party into opposing the extension of pre-charge detention and that I can see how this by-election might have achieved that, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Many of the objections to Nick Clegg’s decision not to contest the by-election – including David Mortons’ here – are very valid, but only from the party’s POV. From the POV of national interest, I’m prepared to accept that the party had to take one for the team.

But the quid pro quo to all that is that Davis himself doesn’t then act in bad faith and seek to present our decision not to contest this by-election as anything other than what it was – a show of unity in exceptional circumstances. It is frankly outrageous for him to stab us in the back in this way. If he had been misquoted, then surely a correction would already have been issued on his website?

Any Tories out there willing to join us in condemning him for this blatant act of treachery? If he can’t be trusted on this, what can he be trusted on?

UPDATE (11 July): As Iain Dale mentions below, Davis has got the Guardian to issue a correction on this. That is much appreciated, but it seems the damage has been done. As Justin notes below, other Tories have been adopting this line and now Rosemary Bechler on Our Kingdom is having a pop. Clearly we can’t win either way in this debate.