Sunday, November 18, 2007

Truth and Consequences

Oh dear. The Sunday Telegraph's new political diary column Portcullis had made a bit of a bloomer. Having written the odd diary column in my time I know that a diary story does actually need to have a semblance of truth it if is not to trouble M'Learned Friend.

In its lead story, Portcullis purports to have proof as to why the "terminally aggressive" David Davis decided not to go for Jacqui Smith's jugular last week. It alleges it was because he "did not want his colleague Damian Green to be able to claim victory." The piece goes on to suggest that Davis was furious that Green had "nabbed the story for himself" the previous weekend and briefed journalists about the 5,000 illegal immigrants working as security guards. The story concludes: "Relations between the two men are now said to be so bad that Mr Green may have to go". Excuse me while I unsplit my sides laughing.

Whoever wrote this ought to know better. Not only is Damian Green one of David Davis's closest friends in politics, anyone who has worked with David Davis knows that in he is the very opposite of a control freak. All of his junior spokespeople are encouraged to pick their campaigns and run with them. Ask Dominic Grieve, Cheryl Gillan, Humfrey Malins, Patrick Mercer, Edward Garnier, Andrew Rosindell or James Brokenshire. They'll all tell you the same. That's why the Home Affairs team has always been good at getting press coverage and results. Contrast this with the real control freak in Number Ten. He tries to control everything and in the end controls nothing.



Davis always picks his moments before going for the jugular. Look back at previous Davis scalps - Beverley Hughes and Charles Clarke for example. Instead of immediately calling for them to go he acts like a cat playing with a mouse, deciding the best time and place to go in for the kill. Politically, it's much more effective than just jerking the knee.



Anyway, we have three basic errors in this story, one of which is probably actionable. In the words of the Allied Dunbar advert... there may be trouble ahead.

20 comments:

Jimbo said...

What are you on about now.

Ms Smith was apparently a dead woman walking according to this blog last week. The week before it was In Blair. You’re not very good with predictions are you.

Tom said...

Jimbo must be a very minor Troll if he has to work the weekend shift down in the bunker.

Iain Dale's Rabbit said...

Heaven forfend that Mr Dale would indulge in any spinning to make his pal, and terminally poor performer Davis look good...what with a safe seat in the offing.

Nothing to see here, move along please.

Man in a Shed said...

Looks to me as if Smith is finished anyway. The public has made up their mind about her and they are not impressed.

The longer she stays the more damage she does to Gordon.

That would be my guess as to why David Davies held fire.

Anonymous said...

Long-term readers of this blog will know that it can always be relied upon to provide the inside track from the Davis camp.

I am sure that when a writ is served on Portcullis the readers of this blog will be the first to know.

Torygirl said...

Well said, Iain. DG and DD have always had a good relationship and I'm sure the story's tosh, to put it mildy!

Bob Piper said...

"Ask Dominic Grieve, Cheryl Gillan, Humfrey Malins, Patrick Mercer, Edward Garnier, Andrew Rosindell or James Brokenshire."


Errrm.... who???

Andrew Allison said...

I agree Iain. Knowing what David is like locally, he is very good at going for the jugular at just the right moment.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting all this.

I was present at a Patrons Dinner (hosted by Eric Forth) the night that DD 'topped' Hughes. DD was in great form that evening and deserved a big rosette !!

Oddly enough, I attended the very same Patrons Club Dinner at the Army & Navy (having been kicked out of the HoC) and, guess who, was our guest Speaker...Yes, Damian Green. He had all the ammo to top Ms Smith. No need for a quick demolition squad.

Best to leave the lady floundering for as long as possible !!

strapworld said...

If DD is so nice why does he appear to be a snob of the highest order?

I thought at the time, I watched the exchange on BBC Parliament, that DD let the ineffective, useless comprehensive teacher off VERY lightly.

More to this than meets the eye?

.. By the way any truth in a rumour that She and Jack Straw are or have been involved in Ugandian Affairs?

Chris Paul said...

When a writ is served on Portcullis!! Ha ha ha ha ha. Iain'd better start by telling us which part of the conjecture and banter is in his learned view "actionable". Again, ha ha ha ha ha.

Iain Dale said...

If you can't see that, then you're even thicker than I thought you were - something which itself is quite an achievement!

Iain Dale's Rabbit said...

Come on Iain. I'm curious. Which are the 'actionable' parts?

Inamicus said...

hmmm... not sure the many assistants / researchers who have had the pleasure of working with / resigning from / being fired by DD would be quite as forgiving Iain

Anonymous said...

A bit OT but ain't this a hoot about poor, dumb Gordon Broon?

Officials report that Brown’s inner circle are keeping an exceptionally tight grip on ministers’ announcements. This can sometimes backfire. In July a No 10 official was dispatched to chide Alan Johnson, the health secretary, for agreeing to a Today programme interview...Unfortunately in this case, it turned out that Brown had misheard the radio announcer and it was in fact an interview with Alan Johnston, the BBC correspondent....
(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article2891006.ece)

What a bloody fool! So he's deaf as well is he?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it good opposition politics to leave a visibly hopeless Minister floundering for as long as possible? A quick kill is too kind and wastes valuable adverse publicity, not to mention creeping demoralisation among that Minister's unfortunate colleagues.

judith said...

Strapworld, if you think David Davis is a snob, you ain't on this planet, believe me.

Newmania said...

Iain I read this story with astonishment over the weekend , it never rang true .However , as you say, It strikes me , and I`m sure it will strike others , that Portcullis cannot have sat down and made it up.

Surely there must be something to it . I can see that it would be deeply embarrassing to David Davis and I wonder if you would be issuing such a blanket denial if it were anyone else. At a time when cracks are appearing in the Brown regime it is more than ever important that the Conservative Party are united and working together. If this sort of thing started to recur out it would do immense harm .

I `m sure we can all accept twhat you say about Mr. Davis , who I admire enormously , but there just has to be something behind this . Where do it come from? Whats your explanation ?

YOU MUST HAVE A THEORY

Anonymous said...

there is something particularly sickening about bloggers threatening the more daring MSM with 'legal action' on behalf of their friends. By all means Iain put the record straight but this bluster is just pathetic. If DD sues, he sues. If he doesn't, good on him.

GEORGEG said...

All of his junior spokespeople are encouraged to pick their campaigns and run with them. Ask Dominic Grieve, Cheryl Gillan, Humfrey Malins, Patrick Mercer, Edward Garnier, Andrew Rosindell or James Brokenshire. They'll all tell you the same.

WHAT ABOUT RUFFERS? I'M NOT SEEING ENOUGH OF HIM!!!!