On the whole, as I reported previously, I thought we had a pretty good conference up in Birmingham. Having now seen Ed Miliband’s joke of a speech and the Conservatives fall out big time over a cat of all things, I take it all back. We had a brilliant conference!
How on earth the Conservatives have let the “cat” story (unimaginatively dubbed “cat-gate”) run for three or four days goodness only knows..but it has. The latest shock revelation today, in the Telegraph, is that the man at the centre of the Clarke-May row, Ranzo Avila, who admitted shoplifting from a high street store in London, in 2007, received a police caution but was never convicted for shoplifting! Under Home Office rules, that doesn’t pass the threshold for deportation (which is when a foreign national has been sentenced to at least a year in prison). So no cat story at all then!
Of course dear old Ken did not exactly smooth ruffled feathers (or fur in this case) when he described May’s use of the cat case as “laughable and childlike”. (Though you’ve got to admit he has a point!).
You have to ask what on earth is going on at NO10. Not only did one of Cameron’s most important set-piece speeches have to be rewritten hours before delivery, after the briefed speech had to be binned, but now we are seeing a silly childish spat between the Home Secretary and the Justice Secretary being played out across the media. You would really think Cameron might have more important things to deal with – like the economy.
I am afraid that all this points to the fact that Andy Coulson’s replacement – Craig Oliver- is just not up to the job. He may have been safe pair of hands – but is he politically astute enough? – with enough clout to do the job? My bet that Oliver would not last the year is looking good.