Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Friday, 27 March 2009

Iain Dale et al on Eric Pickles

Stephen Tall has posted on LDV about the eerie silence from the right wing blogosphere regarding Eric Pickles' performance on Question Time that I blogged about earlier.

In the comments someone pointed out that Con Home have now commented on it, albeit in a fairly muted way whilst claiming still to be a big fan of Pickles.

Iain Dale however posted in the thread that he "did not want to intrude on private grief". I am not quite sure what he means by this seeing as it was broadcast on the most popular channel in the UK on one of the most popular political programmes, but you can bet your bottom dollar if this had been a senior Labour or LibDem making such a cock-up there would be a very long thread dedicated to it on his blog.

Stephen makes the more serious point however that this is worrying for the likelihood in the future of the right-wing blogosphere holding any future Tory government to account. One of the reasons I think that the right-wing blogs have been so successful in the last few years is that they are not in government and so have much freedom to attack the government and the status quo. The real test will be once their friends are in power, will they still stand up for what they really think or will they pull their punches?

Dismissive comments like Iain's on this subject do not bode well.


Iain Dale said...

Why is it that people like you never actually notice the occasions when I criticise the Tory Party - 45p tax, for instance. You know full well that if Ed Davey had made a similar cock up, LibDem Voice would not have covered it. They never do. But to pretend I do not cover issues uncomfortable to the party I support is ridiculous. i could cite you loads of occasions. But yes, I am a Tory and if I agree with them I am going to say so too.

Mark Thompson said...

Hello Iain.

I am not saying that you never criticise the Tories. Indeed I know you have done on occasions such as the one you cite.

In this case it is not a policy difference but an embarrassing shambles of a performance by your Party Chairman who is often praised by people like yourself as a great asset to the party. When he does something like what he did last night, it would be nice to at least see some sort of comment on it. I know he is your friend but surely you must see how wrong and out of touch he is on this and a comment from someone like yourself might help him to avoid making such a fool of himself in future. I am not expecting you to rip into him.

As for your comment about LDV, well I can't speak for them directly although I have written for them on occasion and the debate on there is robust and hardly strictly holding the party line as I am sure you are aware.

I however have no problem in criticising members of my party or its leadership if I disagree with it as an independent and independent minded Lib Dem blogger.

As you are an independent and independent minded Tory blogger, I thought you might feel the same way on this story but you have been conspicuously quiet on the biggest story in the blogosphere today and it seemed odd to me.

Anyway, thanks for your comment.


Iain Dale said...

I did think about posting on it, but what could I say that was original. I saw the same as you. What's the point of doing a blog post which states the bleedin' obvious. Eric knew he had called it very wrong and said so. He was very good on every other question. He is an asset and is very good on the media. We all have off days! Sometimes I write a bloody terrible blogpost. Doesn't make me a terrible blogger!

Mark Thompson said...

I suppose because you are the most read Tory blogger in the country that I thought you might have something to say on it. You usually do make comment on the big stories of the day and it felt odd that you did not on this.

I take your point however that if you did not feel you had anything to say then you didn't see the need to.

Perhaps the fact that you thought it was so obvious he crashed and burned tells its own story anyway.

Mark Thompson said...

Oh, and one other thing I forgot to say Iain. You imply that he was having an off day, but I have to say that I think his reaction and attempts at justification demonstrate that MPs eventually get out of touch and he really could not see it. He felt like the audience was getting at him because he is an MP but as the man in the audience pointed out this is not true - they just wanted him to put forward a decent argument and he was incapable of doing so.

I am not blaming him specifically, I think it is true of a lot of MPs of all hues, especially the longer serving ones but this in itself is worthy of comment. Perhaps it demonstrates ever more starkly that they cannot be allowed to continue voting for their own rules and perks as they collectively cannot be trusted to be reasonable about it.