Monday, February 05, 2007

The Richard Gere Moment

That name had to come up eventually and now it has finally happened. I've blogged as CuriousHamster for nearly two years now so I suppose I should be grateful it has taken this long but I've always known it was only a matter of time before someone took the obvious cheap shot. Tonight's the night. I'm not good at all that suspense stuff so I'll tell you who it was straight away. It was Iain Dale.

For a full understanding of the rest of this, you'll need to have read this first.


Right, here are some facts.

Iain Dale is a trustee of a think tank called Policy Exchange.

Iain Dale is also one of the directors of 18 Doughty Street. He's in charge of scheduled programming.

18 Doughty Street is about to make an attack ad targeting Ken Livingstone, the current Labour major of London.

Nicholas Boles is the director of Policy Exchange.

Nicholas Boles is also reported to be the front-runner in the race to become Conservative candidate for major of London. Although Ken won't be standing again, any attacks on the current Labour major which drives down Labour's poll ratings could be of significant benefit the Tories come election time. In particular, they could be of significant benefit to Nicholas Boles.

In the interest of openness and transparency, I thought I'd ask Iain about these facts in the comments to his post plugging the attack on Livingstone. Iain's answers are most revealing but perhaps not in quite the way he'd like.

So is Mr Boles, the Policy Exchange director, still the front front-runner to be the Conservatives London mayoral candidate? Who knows? It's difficult to tell from Iain's answers whether he's even still a candidate.

I didn't think it was appropriate to trouble an independent charity with a request for information on what is obviously a party political issue so I've emailed a request for a full list of the candidates to Conservative HQ instead. Can't imagine it's the sort of thing the Conservatives are keeping secret so we'll hopefully find out what Mr Boles' position is soon enough. I've said this already but it really is quite surprising that Iain doesn't know.

Anyway, I'd like to point out for the record that I have never met Richard Gere. Not even once.

And finally tonight, a quickfire quizz. Who said "It's when I read this sort of rubbish that I know it's hitting home"? Was it:
A) Pete Doherty
B) Rocky VIII
C) Iain Dale
And at the buzzer...


Just in case anyone isn't aware of it, this unlikely possibility having only just occurred to me, the Gere story is an urban myth. And the Great Wall of China is not the only man made object visible from space either. Vigorously mock anyone who suggests that it is. The wall is how wide exactly? And that's wider than, say, a motorway then, is it? Urban myths. Bah!


Tom said...

I thought Livingstone was running in 2008? I can't see Labour winning without him, frankly, since it's only his independent stance and record of getting up Blair's nose that enabled me to put a cross against his name in 2004.

It would be rather odd if he left the field to a likely Tory mayor come 2012.

Rory Maxwell said...

I really can't bear the man... if he'd been born in Paisley he'd be Terry Kelly.

SamuelCoates said...

Sorry to disappoint you mate, but Iain Dale is responsible for the TV side of 18 Doughty Street. Tim Montgomerie is responsible for the campaigns amongst other things, and he decided on the Ken attack ad independently.

I should know - I work here! It's a decent-sized operation now, not a couple of bloggers scheming in a corner.

The campaign is just an attack on Livingstone's mayoral record, and the Conservative candidate could be anyone at this stage... take it at face value!

Anonymous said...

Yeah Garry, you conspiracy theorist. It's not a couple of bloggers scheming in a corner.

Oh, hang on. That's not what you're accusing them of, is it? Er...

'Take it at face value!'

Oh, we will, Sam. We will.

Guido 2.0 said...


Justin, don't confuse them with logic... that's mean.

SamuelCoates said...

Justin, don't be daft - you know what I was getting at.

These little theories are very boring.

Guido 2.0 said...

"you know what I was getting at"

Oh we do, we do...

But while we've got you on the line, can Manic get at you about something you'd rather not get into?

If your ad is truly an attack on on Livingstone's mayoral record as you claim, why does it spend so much time painting him as a communist and a terrorist?

(PS - If he wins, will you then claim he is an escapologist?)

Anonymous said...

Daft? Boring? You know, I think you're winning me round, Sam.

I don't think I do know what you were getting at. I notice you've failed to address any of this in a substantive manner.

SamuelCoates said...

"If your ad is truly an attack on on Livingstone's mayoral record as you claim, why does it spend so much time painting him as a communist and a terrorist?"

Perhaps because his mayoral mandate doesn't include having a foreign policy that has virtually condoned these things?

Even if you think he should have a foreign policy of some kind, few Londoners sympathise with dictatorial communism or terrorism.

"Oh, we will, Sam. We will."

"Oh we do, we do..."

Loving the attitude. Keep up the good work all.

Garry said...

Tom, I don't think the rules allow Ken to stand again although I could be wrong about that. There's maximum two term rule but maybe he can stand again for Labour because he was an independent the first time round. I'm not totally sure.

Samuel, I'm struggling to find any substantive points to address in your comments.

Can I ask if you think it was appropriate for Nicholas Boles to register his website using the facilities of an independent charity? To an outside observer, that "Listening to London" webiste looks to be part of Mr Boles' campaign to get himself elected as Tory Major of London. I struggle to see how that relates to an independent charity.

Iain Dale said...

nice to see you have deleted my comment I left last night.

Garry said...

Iain, I have deleted no comments of yours. I haven't deleted any comments here for weeks. Blogger emails me all comments individually so I have a record of all comments received on this post and all the others. I also have a comment feed here which records all comments submitted. There's no sign of your comment there.

If one has gone missing from my blog, my email system and my publicly visible comment feed, I didn't delete it. Feel free to submit it again.

(Btw, I've just checked and permanently deleted comments do not appear in my comment feed. I am, however, 100% sure that I did not delete, permanently or otherwise, Iain's comment.)

Guido 2.0 said...

Samuel Coates: Hmmm... Manic is struggling to think of a time when Livingston's 'foreign policy' has actually killed anyone (or maybe made the buses more bendy)... but he best he could swing a very short rope in a Westminster pub and hit a dozen Tories that voted for a certain illegal war.

"few Londoners sympathise with dictatorial communism or terrorism"

Loving your technique. Keep it up, do.

And now, onto the gentleman who screamed "Smear!" this morning...

Iain: If you make a claim like this you have to be prepared to at least back it up with a screen capture... even if it's just so we all know exactly which comment you refer to.

Is it just possible that you were making so many comments last night that you simply lost count somehow?

And while you're here, can Manic ask you if you think it was appropriate for Nicholas Boles to register his website using the facilities of an independent charity?

Guido 2.0 said...

Garry: Please excuse Manic; this is a rare opportunity...

Dear Iain,

How about acting like a grown-up and dropping by mine to leave a comment? Manic is sick of our every ficture being an 'away' game, and he's sure you're not as big a coward as that Paul Staines fella.

This would be a good place to start.