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Does your Tory candidate know more than a dog?

October 14th, 2009 Posted in Uncategorized by

torydogHot off the Macclesfield press, irrascible columnist (and professional dog trainer) Vic Barlow has sensationally blasted the Conservatives’  selection policy–accusing Dave Cameron of favouring southern “nodding dogs.”

In a canine-heavy rant, the local bruiser lambasts George Osborne and a London-based barrister candidate, stating:

“Our dog knows more about real life than these two”


He continues:

“What Tory Central want are nodding dogs. Pedigrees mind you, not mongrels like us.”


The article’s worth a quick butcher’s, largely for the sake of fun.  Its class-warring, anti-London connotations (I suspect some of these candidates moved to the capital to pursue their pre-politics real careers) may be a tad foolish, but nonetheless it raises serious questions over Cameron’s selection policies.

Have the Tories centralised these decisions to the extent of seriously antagonising the grassroots?  And if so, will the consequences be no more than barking from the sidelines or, at some point, will it come back to bite?

Hat-tip: Andrea Parma.

4 Responses to “Does your Tory candidate know more than a dog?”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Vic Barlow is also a local dog trainer!

  2. Julian Harris Says:

    Article duly updated.

  3. John Says:

    According to local sources there’s a primary of these six tomorrow.

  4. Bunny Smedley Says:

    Are you sure the ‘primary’ isn’t actually on Saturday 17 October, John? C.f. this.

    Frankly, this does slightly remind me of a different story, in which a cat named George was registered successfully as a hypnotherapist. In that, I suppose one was meant to think ‘oh dear, how awful’ whereas actually I couldn’t help but think that staring into the eyes of this nice-looking animal would do me considerably more good than most NHS GPs I’ve ever encountered. But that’s a different rant.

    Attractive though the dog in this photo may be, and as much as one would rather contemplate Macclesfield dogs than pretty much any MPs, in truth, Mr Barlow doesn’t know how lucky he is, in the sense that the six potential candidates for the seat aren’t bad at all – Sheila Lawlor, for instance, is an absolute delight, a very intelligent woman who could certainly contribute much to parliament. This being the case, the oddest feature of the story is Mr Barlow’s evident crush on Col. Bob Stewart, who is, I think, short-listed elsewhere, but didn’t make the Macclesfield list. Strange.

    Let’s end on a more constructive note, though. Julian is right to say that this story, for all its shaggy-dog appeal, probably does make a serious point about the nature, and possibly the defects, of Cameron’s ‘open primary’ system. Personally, I’m not a fan. Why should Tory activists campaign for someone they didn’t select? Why weaken the bonds – already too weak, I’d have thought – between a member and his local association, making him or her ever more dependent on CCHQ instead? And why assume that just because local people select someone as the best Conservative candidate on offer, they further intend to vote for that candidate? Time will tell, I guess, whether my pessimism is merited. In the short run, though, it seems clear (not just from Macclesfield, but from comments made in e.g. Bracknell, too) that local residents care deeply about whether candidates are themselves local – which, of course, those that survive the CCHQ-monitored process rarely are – another reason local associations may feel less than faithful companions to their new parliamentary master. Woof!