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  • Ali Miraj’s Tory career is over


    by Sunny
    1st August, 2007 at 1:20 am    

    There’s a golden rule in politics: when your side is in trouble you close ranks, you don’t start attacking your own leader. Unfortunately the Conservative candidate Ali Miraj, who I personally think is a nice guy, seems to have forgotten it.

    Trouble started a few days ago when Ali Miraj told the BBC that David Cameron was “obsessed with PR” and used too much “gimmickry”. Fair enough. But you don’t say it when when you don’t have a power base to protect you and you’re still trying to get a seat. David Cameron hit back and said he’d been in office only the day before asking for a peerage. In an interview with Channel 4 News this afternoon Ali accused Cameron of trying to smear him. The party has now taken him off the ‘A List’.

    Ali Miraj may be a bit naive on how he approached all this but he is clearly outspoken. Late last year he got into a bit of trouble by saying the party was still a bit racist. His latest attack came over the party’s selection of Tony Lit in Southall and Sayeeda Warsi’s promotion to a peer. The first is a valid criticism though I maintain that the party did well by selecting Warsi. Maybe he got a panicky with the idea that the Tories had decided they filled their quote of Asians. The problem is that though his criticisms of Cameron are well deserved, they came at the wrong time. The Tories, to survive, needed to support their leader after questions were raised following their humiliation in Southall. And that is what they did, having learnt their lesson from the past.

    The danger for Cameron is that it backfires in his face, after another polls setback today. The Times chief political correspondent is defending Miraj, as are the comments underneath that article. To be honest though, if I was Cameron, I might have done the same. When there are so many people out there spinning your every move, any show of weakness could have been fatal for the Tories. Whether he spoke the truth or not, I doubt Miraj will now get selected anywhere. Although I agree with the thrust of the points he made.
    More at: Iain Sharpe, Dave Hill, PoliticalhackUK, Cranmer, Dizzy and Elliot.

    Postscript: Thinking further, this looks more likely to backfire in Cameron’s face now. Everyone knows he has re-positioned his party on a series of stunts. That was needed anyway. But he has become so obsessed by image, hence the immediate slap-down of Ali Miraj, Lord Kalms and Lord Saatchi together, that he may end up looking arrogant and unwilling to take criticism. Brown on the other hand, despite the intense criticism for the past few months, has played such a good hand that the stories have inevitably made him look good despite the dislike of many political pundits. And so now Brown looks like the policies man and Cameron looks like the spin doctor.


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    1. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 5:35 am  

      Pity. Mirage is such an apt name for Cameron’s vision of success

    2. Praguetory — on 1st August, 2007 at 8:04 am  

      Funny. I don’t see the Times article or the commenters underneath defending Miraj. I think it’s pretty difficult to defend him and your conclusion that he is unlikely to get selected for anywhere is on the mark.

    3. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 8:47 am  

      Dunno much about Warsi other than she’s a section 28 sporting homophobe, but boy is he on the money with tony lit. The stories I could tell. And get you sued so I shan’t…

    4. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:28 am  

      You have got it spot on Sunny. Parties need unity, (perhaps) above all else. David Cameron has also blundered, and comes across as losing it. He was right to dump Ali Miraj, but, as with the grammar schools row, he comes across as being flustered by the situation, and not having full control of it.

    5. MancPaul — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:53 am  

      Sour grapes from Mr Miraj methinks

    6. Leon — on 1st August, 2007 at 10:10 am  

      I don’t think parties need unity above all else but do see Sunny’s point that his timing is off. Miraj is a either a fool or thinking he has nothing to lose because his Tory career, under Cameron at least, is effectively over.

      That said the Tories look like they’re are falling apart and it’s not like they’ve not knifed their leaders in the back in the past to get a change now is it?

    7. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 10:13 am  

      Well, I can’t see how anyone can accuse Broon of being a policies man and Cameron of not, since for example in the last couple of days, Cameron has launched policies on special needs schooling, on school expulsions, and Broon has….reheated old proposals from 2 years ago. Its almost as if certain aspects of the media (and I include our host in this) are so determined to see Cameron as policy-lite that they will go to any lengths to ignore policies that he does put forward.

      If I was Cameron…this is an ideal opportunity to tell Heffer and Hitchens (Peter, that is) to feck off, and take the shower of perpetually disloyal hangers on around them with them.

    8. The Dude — on 1st August, 2007 at 10:52 am  

      I thought it took some guts for a self-confessed PR guru such as David Cameron to go to Rwanda, knowing that he would take a massive political hit at home. Cameron went way up in my estimation and displayed real leadership by keeping his promise to a nation that others would have passed by.

      What really pisses me off about the tory party is that they are blaming Cameron for Brown not messing up. They under-estimated Brown and now they are ripping each other apart because of it. Their idea of commitment to their leader is really paper thin, much like their commitment to the NHS. Cameron is exactly what it says on the tin, that’s why he was voted their leader and for the likes of Ali Miraj and Lord Saatchi to be sticking their finger in and stirring it, just indicates what kind of nasty party the Tory party really is.

      Mind you. Tony Lit was a massive mistake.

    9. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 11:01 am  

      “I thought it took some guts for a self-confessed PR guru such as David Cameron to go to Rwanda, knowing that he would take a massive political hit at home. Cameron went way up in my estimation and displayed real leadership by keeping his promise to a nation that others would have passed by.”

      I am sure that the entire Rwandan nation would have been distraught if Cameron had not turned up. There would have been wailing in the streets. He was only going for a photo-op anyway. His first duty was to represent his constituents, as he is paid for being an MP.

    10. Nich Starling — on 1st August, 2007 at 11:37 am  

      Nice spin Rumbold.

      Cameron went to Rwanda in a week that was going to be the start of the silly season, a low news week, and by doing what he did he hoped to hog the headlines and start the summer in a way that saw him as a “lovely guy”.

      Sadly for him he left the country as the biggest news stary of the year was getting in to full swing.

      He had to go to Rwanda because the Tories had alreaqdy got the press over there and if they’d pissed of the press teams who had flown there, it would have been worse.

    11. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 11:58 am  

      Late last year he got into a bit of trouble by saying the party was still a bit racist.

      The Tories? Still a bit Racist? No! Never?! Really?!

    12. Sunny — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:09 pm  

      PragueTory: This is a bit bizarre. When I read the article last night there were about 6 comments slagging off David Cameron. They seem to have been deleted now.

      Anyway, the article points out: The attempt to cast him as a nobody overlooks the fact that the City businessman sits on not one but two of the six policy groups that were set up by David Cameron to advise him on the next manifesto.

    13. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:23 pm  

      The Tories? Still a bit Racist? No! Never?! Really?!

      Are you accusing the Tories of institutional racism then, Sid?

    14. El Cid — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

      I thought it took some guts for a self-confessed PR guru such as David Cameron to go to Rwanda, knowing that he would take a massive political hit at home. Cameron went way up in my estimation and displayed real leadership by keeping his promise to a nation that others would have passed by.

      Shame he (or anyone else, starting with the French) didn’t “raise awareness” back in 1994. Imagine what could have been achieved! After all, look what Brad, George, and Angelina have managed!

      (Memo to TheFriendlyInfidel, Rumbold.. I’m being sarcastic)

    15. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:34 pm  

      Oh by all accounts, the French were totally aware of what was going on in 1994. They planned and helped most of it too….

    16. sonia — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

      brilliant kismet, just brilliant

    17. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

      “(Memo to TheFriendlyInfidel, Rumbold.. I’m being sarcastic)”

      Do I inspire fear in you El Cid? How gratifying.

    18. The Common Humanist — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:52 pm  

      ***The Tories? Still a bit Racist? No! Never?! Really?!

      Are you accusing the Tories of institutional racism then, Sid?***

      Well, based on my experience up north of Tories then yes they still have serious work to do. Alot of soft racism still about from the blue corner in the provinces. No idea about the capital tho’.
      —————————————————-

      Cameron’s first duty is to lead the opposition, his constituancy has to take second place on occasion. This was one. Blair used to galivant all over the place when in the same position but then he had an absolute rock soild local party in Sedgefield behind him.

      —————————————————-

      If there are any Tories out there can you shed any light onto the lack of backbone displayed by the mutterers and (give it six months) the conspirators in trying to undermnine Cameron - just before a critical 12 months when they (finally) unveil some actual real policies (the first since the early 90′s)?????

      —————————————————-

      I do find the Tory Party a most perculier institution - almost as bad as my spelling.

      —————————————————-

    19. Robert — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

      His first duty was to represent his constituents, as he is paid for being an MP.

      He is also being paid to be Leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, which I would suggest should involve some overseas trips to formulate policies and alternatives to the incumbent government. In any case, I might suggest that having an MP with such a high (even international) profile probably helps his constituents indirectly too.

    20. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

      So swanning off to Rwanda is more important than going to your constituency when it is underwater? Policy is formulated in London anyway- I suspect that little was learnt from the Rwanda trip than could not have been learned in the UK.

      Just think about his carbon footprint.

    21. The Common Humanist — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:09 pm  

      “Dunno much about Warsi other than she’s a section 28 sporting homophobe, but boy is he on the money with tony lit. The stories I could tell. And get you sued so I shan’t…”

      So even when the Tories attract ethnic candidates they still tend to be homophobes and wideboys and generally reactionary knobs.

      Isn’t it funny that the more things change the more they stay the same?

    22. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

      Are you accusing the Tories of institutional racism then, Sid?

      Not so much institutionalised as dyed in the wool.

    23. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:28 pm  

      Humanist, I used to be a Conservative Party Member a while back (haven’t got around to renewing my subscription recently), and basically, its a clique of the same old Hefferites who haven’t learned the lessons of 2001 and 2005 that are causing the trouble.

      Leaving aside the fact that this country has changed, alas, (much for the worst, I deem), and it has moved to the left a great deal recently, the Hefferites are much more interested in ideological purity than actually governing. To use a Miltonesque analogy - they’d rather rule in hell (their own little ideological clique) than serve in heaven, err, government.

      Cameron *has* changed the Conservative Party, but just Militant in the Labour Party in the 1980s/1990s, the Hefferite tendancy can’t accept that. To them, time stopped in November 1990.

    24. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:29 pm  

      Not so much institutionalised as dyed in the wool.

      Not one for casting widespread asperions then, Sid?

    25. Sunny — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:49 pm  

      Can’t disagree with you there Bleh, in #23. Although, of course, I think this country has changed for the better :)

    26. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:51 pm  

      What would I gain by casting aspersions on the Tory party who are perfectly good at projecting their own racist values which, in any case, they always use to try and win votes? Must I remind you of the poster campaign of 2005?

    27. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:55 pm  

      Although, of course, I think this country has changed for the better

      …whereas the Tory party are a still a Thatcherite outfit.

    28. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

      “Must I remind you of the poster campaign of 2005?”

      You mean the one where the Labour party used anti-semitic images to try and demonize Michael Howard?

    29. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:02 pm  

      yeah the very same where Michael Howard used racist language to demonise asylum seekers.

    30. sahil — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

      Rumbold this one:

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4217009.stm

      You have to be kidding.

    31. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      What ‘racist language’, Sid, old chap?

    32. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:04 pm  

      That’s the one Sahil, thanks.

    33. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

      Bleh, use your imagination, old boy. Can’t be that diificult.

    34. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:05 pm  

      Actually, Sanil, I do remember a kerfuffle over several senior labour party members addressing Muslim audiences with lines that basically went “Don’t vote for Michael Howard, he’s Jewish, y’know”…

    35. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:06 pm  

      No, Sid, feel free to use yours. What “racist language” was it exactly?

    36. Sunny — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

      ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking’ is as subtly racist as using those images of Blair can be construed as anti-semitic.

    37. sahil — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:11 pm  

      Bleh I think Haartez has this one covered:

      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=548165

    38. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:14 pm  

      Sahil, yep, that’s the incident I was thinking of. Thoroughly disgraceful and Labour still hasn’t apologised. At the time I personally didn’t think the posters were anti-semitic, just painfully unfunny, like most election literature, mind you.

    39. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:15 pm  

      I think it was the usual racist scaremongering that most people find unacceptable except Tory supporters. You seem wholly representative.

    40. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

      But Sid, at the risk of detailing this thread even more, it *isn’t* racist whatsoever to limit immigration unless you’re of the “all border controls are racist!” crowd. Heck, most immigration nowadays consists of pasty-faced Eastern Europeans, does it not?

      Less generalisations, Sid please.

    41. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

      But as an election tactic Sid that made no sense unless the Conservatives were trying to attract Hindu support (I suspect that a fair few in the temple agreed with the sentiment of the poster). If they were after BNP voters they would have placed it in a different part of town. Not that I am defending the poster, mind.

    42. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

      Bleh, I’m afraid you will have to explain that to your Conservative compadres, not to us. It is they who cannot seem to, or are unwilling to, decouple a call for reduced immigration from resorting to echoing the basest forms of racist xenophobia in society. Call a spade a spade, old boy.

    43. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:29 pm  

      Except you’re calling a spade a lawnmower. I think you’re guilty of seeing racism where none exists. c.f. the word “niggardly”, for example. It does a grave disserve to genuine racism.

    44. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

      As I said, it’s quite expected that as a Tory supporter, this accusation will either go over your head or meet with either hurt pride, defensiveness or tu quoquery.

    45. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:35 pm  

      In the same sort of way that if you pronounce Love backwards it sort of sounds like Evil, if you pronounce Tory backwards, it can be made to sound like I Rot

      eyethangyou

    46. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

      Well, Sid you *are* engaged in a form of racism yourself - your wholesale denegration of the Conservative Party as “racist” earlier in this thread. Have you met them all? Have they all personally confirmed to you that they are racist?

      I will say however - the first ethnic minority Prime Minister will be a Conservative, mark my words.

    47. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

      I’m now working on one involving the word ray and cyst

    48. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:39 pm  

      Sorry Bleh, nice try, but when we talk about the Tories we talk about an institution/policy/ideology, not the individuals within it.

    49. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:40 pm  

      The Tories? Still a bit Racist? No! Never?! Really?!

      Not much mention of Conservative Ideology there, Sid, eh?

    50. Kismet Hardy — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

      “Have you met them all? Have they all personally confirmed to you that they are racist?”

      What a silly thing to say. You have to generalise because there are suicide bombers out there who don’t want jihad or want 73 raisins in heaven but are just really pissed off that their brother died in a friendly fire or is just a bit of an easily led prat.

      It’s totally within the realms of politics, journalism and straightforward pub argument to have a general overview of a people without getting bogged down by individual exceptions to the rule

    51. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

      tu qoque!

    52. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

      Kismet:

      Labour becomes Ruobal, which sort of sounds like rabble. Very apt.

    53. sonia — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

      ‘immigration’ and wanting to keep your borders open only to people who are of the same nationality ( apart from where agreements like those the EU have which allow other s to come in as if they were nationals) is about protecting the premise of the nation-state and nationality for nations. it’s being ‘groupist’ and classifying people based on nationality - as the factor.

      rather than racist, unless people want to define racism in a wider sense - to include any kind of stratification/classification of people - and not just stratification/classification of people based on race/ethnicity.

      of course everything gets jumbled up, some people say its easier to immigrate if you are ‘white’ than ‘black’ so i’m not saying race doesn’t complicate it, but a lot of places, you could effectively be the same ‘race’ but that still doesn’t allow you to cross the border - think west bengal one side, bangladesh the other, and a nice imaginary fence in the middle.

    54. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:44 pm  

      Re-issue ! Re-package ! Re-package !

      And when it fails to recoup ?
      Well, maybe :
      You just haven’t earned it yet, baby

    55. Rumbold — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:48 pm  

      An perhaps not too imaginary a fence Sonia:

      “Without fuss, without bother, without much debate, India began building a fence all the way around its 2,050-mile border with Bangladesh. The fence consists of two rows of 10-foot-high barbed wire stretched between posts studded with spikes. Coils of barbed wire fill the space between the two rows. Work began in 2000, and about 1,550 miles of the fence has been completed.”

      http://wadias.in/site/arzan/blog/great-wall-of-india-to-fence-bangladesh-out/

    56. sid — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:51 pm  

      Bengalis have always been the untermenschen of the Indian subcontinent, despite the fact that all the Nobel Laureates from India are Bengali.

    57. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 3:55 pm  

      There was an interesting documentary on this subject on Radio 4 this morning, part of the 60th anniversary of subcontinental independence. Its prolly available to listen on the interwebnet somewhere.

    58. Jai — on 1st August, 2007 at 7:17 pm  

      Folks, when people say there should be less immigration in this country, they’re frequently referring specifically to non-white immigration (even if they don’t say this explicitly). They are not referring to the large numbers of Australians who work in London or immigrants like that hot Eastern European babe in your HR department.

      In other news, I hereby declare Kismet Hardy to be the resident Pickled Politics Pirate, due to his anarchic posts. Arrrr, arrrr, ahoy there, and all that.

    59. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 7:39 pm  

      Folks, when people say there should be less immigration in this country, they’re frequently referring specifically to non-white immigration (even if they don’t say this explicitly).

      I’m certainly not, and neither are the Conservative Party nor, say for example, Migration Watch. I don’t care what particular shade of skin, or what particular generic ancestry someone has, there are simply waaaay too many people coming into this country in a waaaay uncontrolled fashion.

    60. Leon — on 1st August, 2007 at 8:00 pm  

      Guido claims an exclusive: http://www.order-order.com/2007/07/exclusive-miraj-labour-approached-me-i.html

    61. El Cid — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:26 pm  

      Don’t you just love politicians.

      (Memo to Rumbold: I’m being sarcastic)

    62. Bleh — on 1st August, 2007 at 9:36 pm  

      A politician should be well sliced, and dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out, as good for nothing.

      with apologies to Samuel Johnson

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