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What is to be gained from this article except to undermine Boris's chances?


Johnson campaign suffers same problems DC did until the arrival of Coulson.

Out of touch metropolitan cameroons and a very junior press team.

Logical solution would be the same - bring in an earthy and experienced media strategist.

Moral minority

You were warned. I have posted a couple of times about Boris's campaign stalling and there was no response. Boris said nothing about the conviction of the Met Police. It was left to David Davis to attack Blair. The Boris campaign website is stagnant.

But why is CCHQ surprised? Anyone who really knows Boris knows that he never prepares for speeches. His performance at the hustings was amateurish for a supposedly serious politician seeking high office.

Boris's lack of discipline and judgement has been apparent for years. A classic example was his advocacy, in a Telegraph article about a year ago, of letting Iran have nuclear weapons to balance those of Israel.

Of course, the real question will be how Boris will respond when his controversial private life is put under the microscope by Livingstone and the media when the campaign starts in earnest. Dan Ritterband, for all his creativity, is no crisis manager.

The fact is that Boris has said that his campaign will not start until the New Year. If CCHQ wants a vigorous campaign now, it needs to find a new candidate.

Jennifer Wells

What is to be gained from us grassroots discussing anything at all HF?

Best we all shut up and wait for the great ones in Central Office to sort everything out.

Graham Checker

I'm glad CCHQ has picked up on this.

Boris is highly intelligent man, has a brilliant mind and - I think - is a very effective business manager, as his years as editor of the Spectator showed.

Trouble is, he's also very disorganised.

I don't think it's laziness, he does like to keep busy, but he couldn't manage a diary to save his life. He's never turned up on time to speaker meetings which I've attended (I'm sure you have your own examples) and he's admitted more than once he "forget". Consequently, when he does turn up for meetings, he is often unprepared for them. Particulary if *he* doesn't perceive them as personally interesting.

He also sometimes doesn't seem to grasp the relative "importance" of a particular appointment in the same way that, say, David Cameron would. He can make excellent speeches at lightly attended fringe meetings and a poor one at a highly significant one with much media coverage. It's a problem

Personally, I think Boris prefers to focus on his writings and media appearances - which clearly, he finds much more interesting than the mundane nature of running a campaign.

He needs to sharpen up and become much more professional. And someone needs to run his campaign for him because, clearly, he won't be able to do it.

I do hope Boris - or someone from his team - reads this, because if he *does* get an excellent campaign manager who can "organise" him, brief him and strategise for him, he'll be unstoppable.

But he needs to sort it out *now* (ie. within the next fortnight) or it'll be too late.

By Christmas, we should know whether he's in with a shot - or not.

Eliza Fraser

So are we to assume from this that Boris is resisting CCHQ interference and they are not happy? Good to see the man has his own mind.


"Logical solution would be the same - bring in an earthy and experienced media strategist."

Exactly. What Boris needs is Nick Wood.

Or we should just get Grayling in as our candidate. Today London, tomorrow the world!

Moral minority

It is significant that Johnson is organised enough to write paid articles for the Telegraph. Fees are his priority.

It is Boris himself who has decided to put his campaign on ice until January. Another problem may be that Boris has not raised enough cash. CCHQ did not contribute to or help the Norris campaigns.

To answer HF's question, what is to be gained from this article is a new candidate who could run London effectively.


If the guy can't organise his campaign, why on earth does anything think he'd be any good at running a city of six million people?

He's a joke.

Rachael Jones

So on the basis of one member of staff at HQ, Cons Home has decided to run a story attacking our own candidate in an election we not only can win, we must win.

I am sure that the thank you card from the current Mayor will soon be on their way.

Well done. It might be nice to see a story attacking our opponents from time to time.

James Cleverly

Talk about pot calling kettle black. CCHQ "drifted" for over 12 months with regard to candidate selection.

At conference Boris was attacked for not preparing enough, now he is being attacked for doing his homework. I know for a fact that he is meeting people, and putting setting his diary for the end of this year and into next.

Boris is having an effect, I have been contacted by a life long Labour voter offering to help with the campaign and the feedback I get on the doorstep is very positive about him.

Is a little faith in the man too much to ask?

Malcolm Dunn

I always thought you were a staunch Boris supporter Londoner?
I hope your CCHQ contact did not let his fury at the article Boris wrote about Hillary Clinton cloud his judgement. Who Boris supports or does not support in the US elections is completely irrelevant to his ability to be an effective London mayor.

Neil hughes

The team Boris has working for him are some of the best in the businesses, and more importantly, they just get on with things instead of sitting on the sidelines moaning about how bad everything is.

Why don't the people who seem to think it is more important to attack our own candidate than our opponent put their great ideas for the campaign here for us all to see?

They won't though, as moaning is far easier than actually coming up with an idea.


"Rachael Jones": Not just one CCHQ source but also a GLA candidate and London MP.

This website is about holding our candidates and elected representatives to account. I make no apology for this very well-sourced post.


I'm confused at what this article is trying to gain by going against one of its own candidates. And to be honest it is quite disgraceful.

Surely the whole point of this campaign is to get rid of Ken Livingstone and for the Conservatives to present a united front. If the Boris campaign need assistance from CCHQ they will ask I'm sure, and let us judge the performance of the candidtaes on the 2nd May to make our judgements.

Kevin Davis

I must admit that I was surprised at the lack of response from Team Boris over the Met Police commissioner last week. I would have thought he should have been standing alongside DD when all that broke.

Dave D

There is a problem (where was Boris on Ian Blair?) but it is a long way to run yet.

I am sure that they are biding their time for a big push in the new year.

Councillor Ian Clement

Before beating ourselves, Boris or his team up please close your eyes and repeat the name Ken Livingstone ten times. I trust that has at least made you reflect on the need to win in May not just for our party but all Londoners.

We have a candidate who can win who by being brave enough to stand has pulled our collective balls out of the fire. Greg Dyke and a collection of people some good some bad and some nuts had Livingstone laughing all the way to his next bottle of vino.

Boris and his team are just pulling together and I'm sure extra talent will come aboard and we will see Londoners given a real choice come May.

As a London Council Leader I look forward to at last giving the current incumbent a good kick in at the polls and will work 24/7 to get Boris elected through good times and bad.I certainly will not be bitching from the sidelines as an unamed sorce.

If you think I may be deluded I suggest you check the local election results for the London Borough of Bexley, May 06 !


I seem to have hit a nerve.

Holding elected representatives and candidates to account is a good thing, and I hope you will continue to do so.

This is not holding someone to account though. This is an attack on a member of our Party for no justifiable reason.

Are we supposed to believe that three people all of a sudden decided independently off their own backs to phone you and attack Boris? You have been used to settle a score.

I thought CH was better than this.


All the more reason then Ian for him to bring in senior people to run his campaign and media strategy!


How can this be helpful, except to Comrade Livingtstone?

Denis' Dog

I'm afraid Boris' campaign is already being written off by the Press and he will find it harder to turn that perception around the longer he leaves it.

Moral minority

Boris should have led the attack on Sir Ian Blair but he was nowhere to be seen. Team Boris cannot be as good as Neil Hughes claims.

James Cleverly, I have friends asking where Boris has gone. They want a Conservative candidate who is attacking Livingstone now!

Malcom, most people here hope that the Conservative Mayor will welcome the US President to the 2012 Olympics. That's why Boris's public endorsement of Hilary Clinton was so stupid.

Sorry JW, if we are to get rid of Livingstone, we need a better candidate who puts campaigning before paid journalism and gesture politics.


I think it would be a lot easier to remember a few facts here.

When was the last election victory of any significance made by the head office? Wasn't it 1992? When a huge reason they were successful was because Kinnock was completely useless and anybody with half a brain could see it.

I think when Boris does win, him and his campaign team will remember who supported them and who did not.

angie bray

Discussing Boris' campaign chances on a public website like this is surely counterproductive and merely helps our opponents rather than getting ourselves a Conservative Mayor for London. As it happens, I know that Boris is planning a major speech on housing later this month which will only be the start. He is also signed up to several major phone-in programmes in the next few weeks and between now and Christmas is meeting with every GLA candidate, their local associations and all their officers and councillors. This is a pretty hefty programme of important work that has to done.

Anthony Broderick

I disagree Angie, BJ needs something to shake him into action. From what I've heard this is a Generous assessment of the state of his campaign. If he was really serious then he'd cut off all of his commercial interests and start getting himself into the local press.

Graeme Archer

I think Boris is great but he should absolutely be at the forefront of the Get Rid Of Blair campaign. There's little more important to Londoners than having faith in their Met commissioner, and we need to know that by electing Boris we will be hastening the departure of Blair. Perhaps the silence is while his team are checking out the legal position?

Lots of people have mentioned the silence on Blair to me, and, you know, I don't move in CCHQ circles, but bean-munching, open-sandalled, wispy-bearded ones.

london conservative

Why is anyone surprised that Boris can't be bothered? He doesn't prepare for interviews or other events. It's all beneath him, as far as he's concerned. And who's ever heard of a successful candidate who has to "do his homework" after actually being selected?

Plainly, writing silly articles about Hillary Clinton and clowning around as the MP for Henley, is more interesting to him. Unsurprising choices for him, I think, since those jobs, unlike this one, are paid.


CCHQ and our leadership have made such a complete balls of strategy over such a long period of time, including the incredible bog up of the Mayoralty candidate process, that I imagine the sight of a London campaign which they don't control and which has a good chance of success is like a red rag to a bull.

How they must wish to pull it onboard the good ship CCHQ and run it through the universal 'blanding machine' removing all clear commitments, introducing yards of meaningless PC waffle, bather on about robust measures to ensure our London campaingn is equal opportunity, non-racist, feminist friendly....blah blah blah

Worked in Ealing terribly well as i recall..

Well balls to that

The only bit of our party that actually wins anything is the grass roots, we chose Boris so push off CCHQ and let us get on with winning..

Oh, and Boris, digitum extractum or i will personally come round to your gaff and let your tyres down...

Moral minority

Angie, real campaign activities must come before meeting local party officials and councillors. Meetings will not beat Livingstone.

One speech and few phone-ins in three months is not much for the launch of a campaign. The post-nomination momentum has been lost.

Andrew Boff

"A senior source inside CCHQ has approached ConservativeHome to warn of "worrying drift" within the Boris Johnson campaign."

This is a story about the "worrying drift" in CCHQ, not the Back Boris campaign.

Picture the scene. Tarquin F'tang F'tang Ole Biscuit-Barrell sits in his office and is concerned because he wants Boris to splurge his campaign this side of Christmas and leave nothing for the run up in the first few months of next year.

"I Know", he ejaculates over his copy of 'Machiavellian strategies for Dummys', "The best way to address this issue is to contact Conservative Home and anonymously vomit my concerns to that interweb thingummy implying that this is the consensus of opinion in CCHQ. I'm sure that in years to come I will be thanked by all and sundry and, by popular acclaim, be knighted."

Boris is doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get a robust and attractive programme to the electors of London. He does not need to start a name recognition offensive (as the other candidates would have had to have done) or court the media who almost wet themselves at the prospect of interviewing him.
He is doing it right. Give the man a break.

Moral minority

Andrew Boff's patronising post demonstrates perfectly why I did not vote for him.

John Ionides

Well said Andrew.

It struck me that what Boris needed to do was to go away and work on a really detailed and coherent set of policies, and this seems to be very much what he has been working towards.

Given that it has taken CCHQ a couple of years to start to get some policies together [and we still only have an outline on key areas such a school and welfare reform], I think we should allow Boris a realistic length of time to do his bit.

Malcolm Dunn

Actually Moral Minority it shows what a big man Andrew Boff is.No bitterness from a defeated contender but some wise words from someone who knows.
PS Your point to me about the mayor having to welcome a US President to the London Olympics is utterly ludicrous.


There's too much imagery in that comment, Andrew (5.15pm), for me! Yuk.

My title said CCHQ - fair enough - but the text noted a GLA candidate and a London MP, too.

That was what I knew before I posted.

I now know a lot more from three other MPs, one other GLA member and two London Association Chairman.

It's all rectifiable but Team Johnson have got to get motoring. I do not believe folk would have spoken to me if they hadn't have felt private advice was being ignored.


What the Boris campaign needs is someone at the helm with the experience to direct, manage and lead. Creativity is all good and well but it is insightful strategic decisions taken with conviction that is going to win this camapaign. The Boris team is lacking on all fronts at present. The media strategy is almost non existent and Londonders are STILL unclear of the campaign's direction and message. There seem to be juxtaposing forces at work when it comes to Boris' PR mechanism. Perhaps a signal that it is time to bring in the experts?

After all the waiting for CCHQ to finally announce a timetable for the primaries - the candidate selected really has to make the most of all the time he has available to launch a London wide offensive.

Simon R


Carol Walker

Why is David Cameron, who takes everything else seriously, sitting back while we are stuck with a lazy candidate for one of the most important off-year elections there is?


I think 'trooper's' comments above have really hit the nail on the head. Will someone from CCHQ please take note.

Moral minority

Is the "drift" the reason why the London Mayor section appears to have dropped off the right column navigation on the home page etc? Or is it my computer or browser?


Bring in the Experts?

Good, that rules out CCHQ then....


PR Week

Cameron steers Boris campaign

David Singleton 07-Nov-07
Tory leader David Cameron is planning to stamp his presence on the Boris Johnson mayoral campaign to ensure the party has more control over the messages being disseminated to the media.

Now, Cameron is poised to tighten his grip on the campaign, according to senior Conservative sources. Favourite to be given a key job managing Johnson’s image is James McGrath, adviser to shadow chancellor George Osborne. But McGrath told PRWeek he had no plans to work on the campaign.


Looks like a clumsy attempt by somebody to get themselves a job!

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