I recall having long and interesting talks with people from other parties during the US Presidential election. We were all fascinated. We recognised the craft in the campaign and were all interested learn the lessons. There are lots of examples. It is in that context that I want to praise Jackie Glover.
In Praise of Jackie Glover
I do not for a moment imagine that she and I would agree on very much policy. She has had a difficult time and I have observed her response and I am impressed. The current Tory PPC has been described to me as a 'nightmare candidate'. In desperate circumstances -the belief that Gordon Brown was about to call a General Election -the Tories choose a local candidate who had the virtue of some recognition. The selection was carried(I understand) on the Chair's casting vote. There was no General Election and they were left with a candidate who would not have seen selected if folk had known there was 2yrs to go. In fact given what she said in the press in the run up to the selection she was content to stay as a Councillor and had no other ambitions. She has unravelled. She is a policy free zone-apart from hunting, gays and opposing redundancies in the Post Office-I can recall no policy statement. The number of expulsions, resignations, suspensions and spats suggest that her ability to work in a team is a difficulty. (Well that's the polite version -those on the naughty step put it more bluntly in private)
In these circumstances you need those with experience to rally round, put their arm around the novice candidate and give good advice. The trouble for the folk in Southport Tories is that the obvious candidates for that role have either been expelled, humiliated, left or 'knifed' I honestly think that this is because all things are seen as personal criticism. They are not seen as political problems but interpreted as personal hurts.
Some like Sir Ron have risen above it and kept his mouth shut-I have not traced a pledge of loyalty from him to the candidate. And then there is Jackie Glover. She and Tom have jointly 112 years of devoted service to the Tory Party. They are Tory to the core . It must distress them to see their candidate so obviously out of her depth. For them -and for lots of other Tories- they have certain expectations of a candidate. Read the letter that Ken Porter wrote to Tom-and which at least a couple of Tories leaked. Despite all the provocation Jackie has not commented. To her these are internal matters and you don't give the story 'legs' by talking about it. That is the' experienced' response, and that is why I admire her.
Now just for a moment reverse the positions. If Brenda had been on the receiving end of such a letter. I played that game with a Tory friend over the weekend. He suggested that everyone would know of her hurt, everyone one against her. She would be the victim.
In some ways the PPC is the victim. She-like Iain Duncan Smith-was asked to do a job for which she is obviously not suited. To be the chair of a constituency Party in those circumstances is not an enviable task.