Or they thought they did... but they missed a bit.
Attention to detail boys!
Apparently, the Tories are ahead of Labour in more than just the latest ICM poll. The general consensus is that Tory MPs are blogging MPs, switched on, wired in, blackberried up and blogging like their majorities depended upon it. Labour MPs, in contrast are reputed as old-school fusty luddites, clanking away on imperial typewriters, writing "letters" and sending "post". Inky of finger and gummy of tongue, the Labourite looks at his Cameroonie counterpart and sees an iMP, Politician 2.0.
Of course, this is all arse. There are plenty of blogging MPs on both sides of the house. Which is great for a cynical, lefty layabout like me cos I can cut parts of the Tory blogs and paste them into my blog to make them look silly.
It isn't hard. It's the language that they use - it's a completely separate tongue from English. Despite having the same Anglo-Saxon, Viking and latin roots as English, it's an animal all of its own: Esperantory.
Esperantory is pitched midway between a Daily Mail editorial and a vicar's sermon. But it's not just the patronising, pulpiteering tone: it has its own grammar, speech patterns, indicators and rhythms. I'm going to take you through a couple of examples.
Nadine Dorries is just the kind of MP that has taken to blogging like a Conservative Deputy Chairman to slopping out. Before I flag up her Esperantory, let's enjoy this choice quote:
Since David Cameron became leader of the Conservative party he has been pressurised by the extreme right and the media into declaring who he is and what he believes in.
(The Bounders! Imagine: there you are, leader of the opposition and you have all these fusty old Tories demanding you tell them what the bloody hell they should be doing! It's enough to drive you to drink. Or dru.... no, that's too easy.)
The prime example of Esperantory on Nadine's Blog comes in a piece on the need for children to have boundaries. She employs a classic Esperantory language pattern - False Reverie (or "FR")FR is best defined as a fond recollection of more innocent times that never actually existed. This is choice Esperantory: "Oh, how it was before this lot got in and destroyed the country".
Nadine takes us back to her childhood:
Imagine this scene. Two teenage girls walking down a street. A Policeman is walking behind, as he was about once every fifteen minutes or so.
Er, once every fifteen minutes? When was this? Where was this? Did Nadine grow up on Oxford Street? I bet even Tony Blair doesn't get a Policeman walking down his street every "fifteen minutes or so".
Now to you, this may just be a laughably bad attempt to play to the "Bobbies on the Beat" Tory element (itself a lesser element of Esperantory). But to me, this is a clarion call - I immediately know I'm in for some prime False Reverie. Mentally, I've made the leap.
Nadine goes on...
One girl swore. The other ducked, to miss the hand she knew would be straight out from behind – it was – it got the girl who swore by the scruff of her coat and marched her down her path to her parent’s front door.
This is classic Opposition Reverie from La Dorries - textbook stuff. She's got three of the big four:
1. the innocence of childhood
2. the uniquitous bobby on the beat
3. a story that ends (implicitly or explicitly) with "... needless to say, my parents were horrified"
It's just a shame she can't work in the remaining member of the big four - a reference to street upon street of unlocked front doors. But in my heart of hearts, I just know that parent's door was unlocked.
Nadine Dorries, Esperantorist extraordinaire, pete salutes you.
As impressive as Nadine's False Reverie is, there is one Esperantory phrase which supercedes all others. When I hear it, I know that, despite Dishy Dave, "hug a hoody", and the "Decontamination of the Conservative Brand", the British Tory is thriving. Shouting at foreigners, quaffing port and generally behaving like an Oxford Undergraduate at a private restaurant party - alive and kicking.
"You Couldn't Make It Up."
Even writing it down gives me a warm glow.
It's a true favourite of the Tories - and well reflected on their blogs. Let me take you through an excellent example.
Richard Spring MP's blog is pretty good really. Alright, it's not really interactive, so it reads like a teenager's diary that has been accidently-on-purpose left out for his parents to read the day before they do the Christmas present shopping, but he goes easy on the moralising.
But on February 8th this year he launched forth on the snow fall that week.
Well, not really the snow *that* week, but a particularly bad snow fall four years ago. Long story short, he got caught in the snow. I know - it's not exactly Lord of the Rings, but bear with me.
For a couple of paragraphs, the story meanders inconequentially and appears to go nowhere. To the unitiated, this looks like just another Tory whinge, but to the expert it is clear that a nice bit of Esperantory is stirring just beneath the tugid surface.
What had happened is that the Highways Agency had neglected to grit the road surface, despite the earlier warnings: allegedly because of windy conditions.
By now the fluent Esperantorist is on the edge of his seat, heart rate rising, cheeks flushing: he knows full well where this is going. When you start recalling paltry excuses made by faceless bureaucrats, you're on a six-lane blacktop to only one place. And Richard takes us there, in fine style, dropping the immortal phrase like it ain't no thang:
You couldn’t make it up.
Now, for me, YCMIU should always be followed by an exclamation mark, purely for stylistic reasons. But otherwise, this is a classic YCMIU: a perfectly common everyday story, a poor excuse from a public service worker, then... BANG:
You couldn't make it up.
YCMIU raises some philosophical questions: its very existence shows that Tories are a cursed people. To so frequently express such childlike surprise from such ordinary events can mean only one thing. They are born with an entirely non-existant imagination.
For them, the very concept of a fictitious story (apart from an election manifesto, or an expenses return) is anathema. Don't make the mistake of thinking that YCMIU is hyberbole or sarcasm - it isn't. They literally cannot make stories up: they're incapable. Hence their disbelieiving incredulity at the most banal events.
Someone once said that if you gave an infinite number of monkies an infinite number of typewriters for an infinite number of time, they would eventually rattle off the complete works of Shakespeare. Not if the monkies were Tory they wouldn't. You wouldn't even get the complete works of Jeffrey Archer.
Many people have criticised Jeffrey Archer's writing, claiming that, despite his stratospheric success at the checkout, he is actually an awful author whose illegible drafts are slashed to pieces and reconstructed by a phantom editor cum ghostwriter. I cannot agree.
The very fact that Archer - Tory through and through - was able to even formulate a story is of amazement to me. That he was able amass an extraordinary fortune through the sale of fiction is for me the equivalent of a deaf Beethoven writing Ode to Joy, more impressive than David Blunkett rising to Home Secretary despite his blindness, more of an achievement than Steve Redgrave's fifth gold.
Jeffrey Archer - fantasist, perjurer and author, pete salutes you.
If you have any other examples of Esperantory, let me know...
Posted by peteblogging at 21:52
These are good:
This is good. Conservative Home are running the following. I think my favourite bit is that he even did the crossword in the search for pro-communist brainwashing. He's nothing if not thorough, this lad... Anywhere, here's the ConHome piece:
Tory Mayoral hopeful Lee Rotherham (well he might be hopeful, but no-one else is - Pete) has written to the Advertising Standards Authority this morning about Ken Livingstone's latest propaganda newspaper:
"Last night, I received a copy of The Londoner magazine unsolicited through my letter box. It is dated March 2007, and can also be found in electronic format on the Mayor’s website.
This purports to provide “news”. On its launch, in a press release the Mayor of London said that, “The Londoner newspaper contains lots of useful information for people who live and work the capital.” (Including such "news" as information on beating diabetes, the London Assembly debates over the provision of free bus travel for pensioners and children and the chance to win a meal with Seb Coe - all clearly some kind of socialist plot)
This morning I discussed the content of the publication with someone who has attended a NATO course in psychological operations (clearly such a high-end spook that his name is top secret), who indicated that it appears to “primarily be a method of providing biased, politically-orientated material for the purpose of supporting the incumbent of the mayoralty.” (obviously said spook is a top-level operative in NATO's top secret anti-mayoral-incumbency division).
In his words (so the last quote wasn't his words?), it is “a publicly-funded propaganda sheet rather than a newspaper in the traditional Western sense of the term” (traditional western sense? Oh I see - it's the old "Ken is a Commie" meme. Would it be churlish of me to label this as "biased politically-orientated material for the purpose of opposing the incumbent of the mayoralty?").
He added, “There is editorial slant, and there is outright political marketing. This is the latter.” (Well, we can't have that now, can we?)
I have forwarded a copy of the paper to an associate, who was a dissident in the former Soviet Union (back to the Ken is a Commie meme, eh?) and spent a number of years imprisoned there, for follow-on comments. (I bet the ASA are sick to the back teeth of those pesky former Soviet dissidents barging in with their tuppence worth. "If that bloody Fyodor Dostoyesky sends one more letter about size zero models on the bus stop at Edgware station...". Still I spose it keeps em in borscht and vodka)
In particular, I draw your attention to the following aspects, drawn from a rapid analysis (trans: I knocked this out in five minutes) :
Name frequency. At a quick count, “Mayor” appears 21 times (21 times! In a Mayoral publication! The CHEEK!) and variants of “Ken Livingstone” appear 10 times. This is a simple trick of repetition for brand recognition. (You're telling me. The Evening Standard pastes its name all over the front page! The other day I was in Westminster, and there, on a little road off Whitehall was a big sign saying "Downing Street"! Bold. As. Brass.)
The Mayor is given five opportunities to provide short in-piece quotes. (In a Mayoral publication! The sheer brass neck of it!)
There are eleven cases where the Mayor is given opportunities to provide lengthy quotes, or where articles directly support stated policy positions. (Supporting his own policies. The naked corruption of it all!)
The lead article on page one would successfully operate as a press release from the Mayor’s office in support of his budget and policies, and acts as a lead to his editorial. (If there's one thing I can't stand it's coherent editing. Pravda have nothing on this lot.)
Key word analysis highlights the following examples of editorial bias in article construction: “vowed” (look at all those v's and w's - a communist word if ever I saw one!), “despite”, (how biased can you get?!) “enjoy” (as in "strength through enjoy", no doubt!), “all” (as an emphatic) (what's wrong with a good, English "just a bit for me"), “advantage” (there's that v again - brainwashing I tells ya!), and “benefit” (saves the best til last - the most communist word in the English language.)
There are some eleven (ELEVEN!!) instances of quotes from third parties (damn those impartial third parties!) being used in a supportive manner; and just one instance of quotes to oppose policy.
Two full pages are bought (BOUGHT! He even charges them! The CHEEK!) by a Mayoral Agency as overt advertising Quangos (Loving the capital Q here). Transport for London gets four name checks (I suppose he'd try to justify that with some spurious "but the article was about Transport for London" argument. BUT WE'RE NOT FOOLED) (one as “Your Transport for London”); three quangocrats (Where's the capital Q gone. Oh well, I don't suppose they deserve it, the turncoat Quisling scum) supply articles.
Our (Oops, bit of a slip into third person there) contention, therefore, is that this publication performs neither the public service role nor the public information role which it pretends.
If there was any doubt about bias (and let's face it, there isn't), 29 Across in the Crossword rather spells out the hidden agenda. It reads, “Fidel Castro’s Island Republic”. (It's Cuba - I checked. And you're not going to believe this - my mate Dave says Cuba's a Communist country! OH MY GOD WE'LL ALL BE RED BY APRIL)
It may be that this falls beyond your remit (trans: I couldn't be arsed to check). I wonder, then, in such an instance if you could tell me from previous experience whether such might fall within the Electoral Commission’s bag? ("Bag" - Brilliant - just when Lee feels it's all getting a bit "heavy", he drops a bit of "jive" to show he "ain't no turkey", he's "sticking it to the man".)
Putting out such strongly biased material during a policy consultation period may be in breach of the law in its own right. (trans: I checked the relevant statute but it was full of long words n stuff)
What Lee forgets to mention:
1. That he's a Tory mayoral hopeful (is this catching?)
2. That the offending publication is paid for out of public money. The anti-Ken Nato spook spots it - nothing gets past anti-Ken Nato spooks, I'd wager - but Lee doesn't. Which is a shame, because it is kind of the point of his letter.
Iain Dale's not happy.
He has complained about part of the post "Fox News for Adults" below. He was concerned that one sentence, taken out of context, could be "almost libelling" him.
I am happy to have made amendments.
I have changed the offending sentences in order to clarify its meaning. The red bits in the post are the bits I have added. Nothing has been removed.
For the record...
I was not suggesting that Iain Dale had broken any existing rules in regard to party funding.
I was suggesting that Iain Dale has a past record of representing a Conservative Association who were in receipt of extensive targetted funding from millionaires.
I was suggesting that the non-state funding option that Iain Dale advocates would give millionaire party funders an undemocratic hold over British politics.
I was suggesting that that this he has a pertinent interest to declare when he is commenting on party funding on various Tory blogs and Internet TV stations.
I was suggesting that he has never done this.
Hope this is OK Iain!
If you want to read what Iain said to me, and my reply, check the comments in the post below.
Incidentally, John Angliss's blog is really good...
Posted by peteblogging at 17:43
Labour are on the ropes, with a police investigation nearing its end, a Charities Commission investigation starting up and a complicated leadership changeover looming. If there was an election tomorrow, would Dishy Dave be marching into Downing Street? And if he were, would kind of party would stand behind him?
If only there was a place where you could gauge the true values of the Conservative Party membership. Well, there is. The Tories are by far the most internet-savvy of the British parties. On Conservative Home, Iain Dale's Diary and Guido Fawkes, they tippety-tap away to their heart's content. So, are Dave's Tories really the touchy-feely Compassionate Conservatives they would have us believe?
In what I intend to be a regular snapshot of true blue life, I'm going to post a heavily-edited and completely partisan selection of the tastiest chunks of Tory blogs' comments sections.
So here's the first edition. Apologies if the lack of punctuation and grammar makes the stuff below rather hard to read. But as with the Canterbury Tales (like the Tories, another example of a superannuated British throwback) you really have to read them in their original form to get the true sense of what is being said.
Comments on Iain Dale’s Quotes of the day...
Quite good quotes today. I'll drink to the first one, especially. In fact,I am. A bit early, but it's Sunday.
Kicking of the list is true Tory style. You can practically hear her eyeing up the houseboy... Marvellous stuff old girl! Trebles all round!
Comments In Iain Dale’s post on a Slough Teacher sacked for saying “Most Suicide Bombers Are Muslims...”
As always with these affairs there is a sub-text.In this case it is: young black liberal deputy head against old fart Christian (with no legal leg to stand on, tyrannised by vengeful 12 year-olds who couldn't manage to get him on a molesting charge.Since there is no clarity on what was actually said, and in what context, that part is irrelevant.What is relevant is that this kind of victimisation, of older white Christian men is now apparently ok.No doubt, had he been gay, or black, or a muslim, a similar comment would have been applauded.In this era, the BBC can be "hideously white". The Gay Police Association can openly promote religious hatred and Men can be incarcerated on the word of any woman who cries rape (under a cloak of anonymity). Muslims can openly call for the overthrow of our laws and cry "victim" every time one of them is arrested.Strange, that, since all suicide bombers ARE Muslims, and now, Muslims ARE the ones killing each other in Palestine, Baghdad, Lebanon, Afghanistan......
Interested in meeting posters like "Nobody"? The National Organisation for the Protection of Racist Old Lushes (NO-PROLE) has a branch near you...
Vienna Woods said...
The UK really has to change direction away from the idea of integration and start taking control of its schools and institutions instead of allowing minorities to dictate policies at lower levels. It might not be so very democratic, but it certainly makes sense.
Too bally right Vienna! Remember Cawnpore!
On Iain Dale's post on the release of Jimmy Carter's Diaries
Verity said... (Her again... I'm not picking on her, she just comes up with the "best" quotes)
4:35 AM (Bloody hell, I bet she's had a few...)
Americans have their Constitution and their Bill of Rights and could never have been taken over by the nazis at No 10. It could never have happened in the United States, which has checks and balances that everyone, in both parties, respects,
She's got a point ... who could imagine a despotic far-right government in the White House? Inconceivable!... bit light on lefty-bashing so far though, which she makes up for in fine style...
which you malign, spiteful little British lefties loathe so much and if anyone offered you a Green Card you would be over there slavvering all over them. You cheap little mind-control wannabee. It's all about jealousy. Envy. Resentment. Hissing.
"Envy. Resentment. Hissing." Would work rather well as the title of the next Tory Manifesto...
Comments on Guy Fawkes' Post "DD says no 2 ID"
Tuscan Tony said...
I would be 100% pro fully open borders once the welfare state is dismanted to avoid any misunderstanding as to why people come to the UK - the views of a racist? I also have noticed that those baying loudest for the admission of the trash of the world to England are not those who have to cut the cheque for it, me hearty. It may be unfashionable in this strange nulab period but in my last 4 years in Blighty I paid more tax than average Joe Public pays in a lifetime, the family all the while on BUPA, so for some odd reason I feel I shouild have more odf a say, than someone who beetles down to labour exchange once a fortnight to collect some of my hard earned cash forcibly anbd involuntarily taken from me. Would be interesting to see what happened if voting power was weighted in favour of net economic contributors, rather than allowing people to vote themselves pay rises and benefits - a sort of latter-day Scargill mentaility that seems to be enjoying a resurgence, incidentally.
Too right. Country's gone to the bally dogs since the Great Reform Act.
I'm No Racist But...... said... (I say, do you think he is a racist?)
Yes but none of this solves the problem of the enemy within. No point culling Asylum Seekers unless we also root out the home grown Islamic Extremists, which is most of'em, and expel/cull/curry them too!
Curried extremists all round!
On Guido’s post “that was the week that was”
Juan de Jáuregui said...
Paah! The Officers of the British Army are just another bunch of wet Oxbridge educated limp noodles. The Lib Dem Party in fancy dress. We'd need a coup mounted by the NCOs before we'd get anywhere. Bring on the Daily Mail readership I say. Slightly better than Cromwell, but not a patch on Pinochet. Come to think of it, what is the General doing these days? Lee Kwan Yew is retired too isn't he? Hmmm, I can see a new Cabinet forming. And the best bit is the Guardian will have to support them because they are from the Third World.
He's got noodle, this chap! A Daily Mail Defence Force! Obviously, not a patch on Pinochet, but then, who is?
More to come as and when ...
Iain Dale has turned on his comment moderation. Not, as you might guess, because of phrases like "the nazi's at No.10" or "all suicide bombers ARE Muslims" or even "taking control of [our]schools and institutions instead of allowing minorities to dictate policies".
No, because someone used "the C word".
Hat Tip - Beau Bo D'or
In a series of letters to Whitehall bigwigs, David Davis has pledged that the Tories would roll back ID card legislation should they get into power.
Stephen Pollard sums up the political reasoning behind this in breathy tones:
[Davis] has reiterated the Conservative Party's stance in favour of individual liberty versus the state; he has undermined the chances of ID cards being successfully introduced under Labour by indicatingthat he might, as Home Secretary, overturn contracts with commercial organisations, thus introducing a crucial new element of risk; he has helped the Conservative Party in its key task of drawing in potential LibDem voters; and he has given the Conservative troops a morale boost by sticking to core principles.
Unfortunately, the truth is that this is another example of the Tories looking around for a policy (any policy) and via the path of least resistance settling on the easiest headline grabber.
ID Cards themselves are little more than the front end of the state's attempts to track citizens. They would be meaningless without the national ID database, DNA database, CCTV infrastructure and plans for cross-Whitehall database sharing.
Look closely at Davis's letter to Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell again:
"As you will be aware, the Conservative Party has stated publicly that it is our intention to cancel the ID card project immediately on our being elected to government. You are now formally on notice of our position and fully appraised of the contingent risks and associated liabilities arising from the national identity card scheme."
Davis is careful to frame the Tories' position around the cards themselves. There is no mention of the other facets of the ID project. Thus, if elected to office, the Tories could retain the databases, but reject the national roll-out of the physical card (except to immigrants, presumably).
In practical terms, this is like the Competition Commission cracking down on Tesco by restricting the use of loyalty cards.
However, as a piece of politics, it is deft. It speaks to all corners of Cameron's big tent while at the same time stealing some Yellow Thunder. It has the added benefit of throwing a spanner in the works of a flagship Labour policy.
The problem is, it might be too deft. In the event that commercial organisations are scared off the project, it may well come to pass that the ID cards scheme is scrapped by Labour before the next election.
In which case, the Tories will be left scrabbling around for another policy that will grab a few headlines and then fade quietly from view.
Patients' Passport anyone?