Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Lest we forget: Tories have wild cards too

Whilst Hoon, Hewitt and Clarke might be doing their best to destabilise the government we should remember that the Tory Party is not exactly eccentric free. Two bits of news this week caught my eye from Parliamentary hopefuls in Camden and in Brighton.

In Brighton we have Charlotte Vere who has just ruled herself out of the running for proportionate and clean campaigner of the year having chosen to compare the Greens to the BNP.

She's obviously decided that political debate needs a good injection of barmy but, her position is of a piece with Brighton Conservatives who gloriously denounced the Greens as communists, all because we supported the setting of new recycling targets.

Well, she certainly has support as a whole swath of commentators who have waded in to remind us that anyone who thinks that climate change is happening is a communist, a fascist and needs to be taken out and shot. Nice to know which demographic Brighton Tories hope to draw on.

Vere justifies her position by saying "When I was at school my history teacher used to say there was not much between the far-left and the far-right." Well, I'm glad she's an independent thinker then and since she was told that anti-racist, pro-democracy, campaigners against climate change are the same as racist, authoritarian climate deniers it simply must be true and worth defending in the Brighton Argus.

I wonder if this kind of bizarre McCarthyism is a vote winner?

Meanwhile in Holborn and St Pancras Frank Dobson, the sitting MP, has found himself drawn into a row over the fact that he represented his ex-constituent who was recently executed by the Chinese state.

Dobson attempted to get the death sentence commuted and raised concerns about whether Akmal Shaikh received a proper trial which sent his Tory opponent wild with rage.

George Lee (pictured), who was a high ranking police officer, is keen to defend the Chinese State's actions saying that it is "good for China to have such strong laws on drug trafficking". Like Vere Mr Lee sees the problem as the far left and feels that "What Mr Dobson said is outrageous. Mr Dobson is a left-wing socialist – he wanted this kind of dictatorship as a student and supporter of Mao in the 1970s."

Despite hating Mao and all his works Lee then says that "I have worked as a policeman in China and I think drugs are vile. There are 1.5 billion people in China – they have been running the country for 5,000 years and doing quite well. They think, ‘who is the West to tell China how to run its drugs policy?’ The western way of doing things is not necessarily the right way. China is not as rough as London. There are no yobs spitting in your face or going round with hoods. There is nothing like the anti-social behaviour."

In the context of the recent execution it seems unlikely that the bereaved will be taking these comments in good spirits. I wonder if Cameron's position is that the Chinese government is running things "quite well" and if he supports Mr Lee's position that the death sentence was the "right way" to do things?

Anyway, Mr Lee has clearly been taken in hand because he has issued a new statement whose tone and style is quite different. Almost as if someone had written it for him. 'He' still maintains that "their government’s hard line on drugs enjoys plenty of popular support", heaps praise on Chinese policies more generally and that we should not be too critical because "there are strong pragmatic reasons to keep China on-side" but the whole emphasis has shifted.

The writer of the piece is at pains to say that Mr Lee opposes the death penalty and he made his own "quiet" representations on behalf of Akmal Shaikh, who he had so little sympathy for previously. In fact so different are the pieces that he's gone from frothing at the mouth to rather interesting commentator. I wonder if it's too late for Camden Conservatives to deselect Mr Lee and replace him with whoever wrote the damage limitation piece?


Byrnetofferings said...

I suggest you read the article, that she repeated from me before jumping to party politics.

Jim Jepps said...

What a stupid article.

Incidentally the story isn't about you. She didn't just 'retweet' she made specific comments of her own (eg the far left/far right one)

Byrnetofferings said...

How is the article 'stupid'?

HelloKnitty said...

Ooh I'm glad you've brought George Lee to my attention. What a website! I think he thinks he might be Barack Obama.

Anonymous said...

God that article is utter tosh. Don't have time to rip it apart publically now but if nobody has done so I shall return when I can catch a moment to do so. On another note: it strikes me that there is a growing and healthy trend toward libertarianism in the UK. What we have at the moment is a state that takes a very laissez faire approach to the markets and an increasingly authoritarian approach to the general public. This should be the other way round. There is an increasingly entrenched sector of public opinion that sees the Greens as being likely to exacerbate the latter in order to implement unpopular policies on reducing consumption etc... The Green's are going to counter this one way or another if they don't want to be besieged by exactly that kind of nonsense someone has posted above.