So, Kenny Clarke, the feudal ruler of Rushcliffe, has announced he won’t be standing down in 2015 as expected. Surprising news, he has been in front line politics for eons, but his particular brand of centrist, europhilic Conservatism is distinctly out of step with the Tories right now. He has been increasingly marginalised as the Tories cast aside their wooly clothing and reveal the nasty wolf beneath: led by the snarling Lynton Crosby and pandering to the worse excesses of right-wing tabloid popularism. Clarke looks old fashioned now, a Brussels apologist as a la mode as his footwear. His bizarre no-show at the crucial Syria vote cannot have made him too many front-bench friends. Yet he soldiers on.
It can’t be easy. Remember a couple of years before the general election, when he was bought back into front -line politics as shadow business secretary, a move seen as a way of shoring up the Treasury hopes of shadow chancellor Osborne? Bringing in Clarke was seen as bringing in the wise old master to support the young, untested Gideon. There were many commentators at the time, predominantly in the Tory press, that insisted Clarke should be handed full control.
It was not to be. His dream of the leadership has long faded, so it’s surprising to think he will be shunning the ermine come 2015; not taking up a full-time devotion to his role as trade envoy (jetting round the world at taxpayers expense to sell stuff to foreigners over hearty dinners); and not relocating to a comfortable seat at Lords/ Oval / Trent Bridge where he can enjoy the available refreshments and complimentary pillows.
This explains why Soubz has stridently set her flag in the ground here, believing she can take Broxtowe in 2015 due to her ‘personal following’. Yes really! Even the source who heard this had to suppress giggles. As another day passed with another person telling me that the last three emails they’d sent to her had been unanswered, I can only assume she is suffering some form of cognitive dissonance. The prospect of a safe seat down the road? Not till at least 2020.
Oddly, just as I here this news, and a day after I saw Ken at Any Questions, I find this:
Now, I’m sure I didn’t mishear when I was told Ken was a huge fan of jazz. Yet, despite the incredible similarity, I must state CLEARLY AND WITHOUT RESERVE that the photo is actually from a Starbucks in the USA and therefore most probably NOT KEN CLARKE. But blimey, if there is ever a biopic that needs casting….
In other Tory news, Soubz latest email contains this, in relation to Beeston’s ongoing development:
I also agreed to ask for a meeting with the Beeston Square developers John Boote.
Who hell they?? Apparently commercial retail developers….in Baltimore. Has Anna been watching too many episodes of The Wire, and perhaps got confused with the actual developers, Henry Boot?
She also, within the same newsletter, refers to ‘Ian’ Duncan Smith, rather than that neo-Tebbit toss-slops actual name Iain Duncan Smith.
She best be careful: more errors like this and Michael Gove will be threatening to force her into academy status.