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London Tory

He is just not a serious politician.

He has made zero impact in London in the last 2 months barring one typical gag about "King Newt". He gives the impression of being an amateurish fop, if he does not take himself seriously, why should the electorate ?

In five years time I suspect he will be both out of Parliament, and editing a national newspaper. It is a great pity for the Conservative Party that he has chosen to have his Career Mid Life Crisis at the expense of our ambitions for the mayoralty.


London Tory: very fair comment. I couldn't vote for him, even though I think Livingstone has been a total disaster as mayor. I really wish there was a Bloomberg - Giuliani type of any party for sensible Londoners to support. As it is, I think Livingstine will have a relatively comfortable win, which depresses the hell out of me.

Tony Makara

It was pretty disgusting yesterday to see Ken Livingstone using the father of murdered teenager Damilola Taylor as one of his 'Selected' members of the black community. When reading a crafted statement the father of Damilola Taylor gave the impression that he was reading the piece for the first time, even though it was meant to be 'his' statement of support for Ken Livingstone. Its clear that Livingstone wants to fight dirty.


Not only two press officers but two junior press officers at that!

He needs a serious media Strategist with top level contacts!

That is the real reason DC's fortunes turned round. When he replaced a well meaning amaeur with a serious professional in Coulson (see Brogan blog on Today Programme)

London Tory


Slight problem there- our candidate IS a 'well meaning amateur'.

London Tory

Ritterband out.

Another London Tory

James McGrath? You can't be serious! He was responsible for the open primary fiasco. McGrath advised Maude to select our candidate two years before the election. He is a lightweight. God save us from these idiots!

Another London Tory

Stephan Shakespeare's judgement on mayoral campaigns can be summed up in two words - Jeffrey Archer - his former employer who stuffed our first Mayoral campaign. God save us again!


Ritterband and the press team need to go - they clearly have no structure or discipline in place. I'm alarmed at how anyone could appoint someone as campaign director with no major campaign experience. And as for the press team the above says it all.


People I know who work for Boris tell me they are frustrated at this site's continual sniping.

If we want him to win, surely we should not be washing our dirty linen in public like this.


Sadly Boris is like too many in the Shadow Cabinet. Part timers with too many outside interests.

He needs to cut all outside interests and work solidly on his campaign.

Roger Evans

The priorities here are not so simple. A lot of people know Boris through his TV work rather than his political campaigning, and this is certainly the case with the autograph seekers who mobbed him on the occasions we have campaigned together. A TV series may well get him more publicity and votes than spending the same amount of time knocking on doors. That is the consequence of fielding a celebrity candidate.

An informed opinion

Where to start?

1) Boris has said that the campaign will not begin for real until after he has cleared the decks/completed his pre-existing commercial obligations i.e. Jan 1st. Of course this is not ideal, but we are where we are etc.

2) It is undoubtedly true that Boris's campaign/press team are weak and desperately need bolstering/replacing.

3) Both CCHQ and the Leader's Office are aware of this but seem strangely reluctant to step in. So far, in response to growing anxiety having been expressed, they have asked Stephen Sherbourne and Guy Black (Michael Howard's Chief of Staff and Press Secretary respectively) to keep an eye on things. Both are busy men with other jobs and will therefore not have the time to turn things around, however strong their abilities, in my opinion.

4) There is perhaps a reluctance to undermine the appointments Boris himself has made to his own campaign team. But I believe that the main reason CCHQ/Cameron's office are not gripping the situation more is because they are trying to distance themselves from the Boris campaign, just in case he makes another damaging gaffe on race or whatever (more than probable in their estimation).

In fact, the answer to almost all of the above concerns/problems is for them to hug Boris and his team tight, to minimise the chances of him/them screwing up and maximise the chances of his winning.

The best way of doing this would be to make room for him and his team in CCHQ (instead of abandoning them to their fate in offices at County Hall). Then they could be supported by the whole CCHQ function: research, media, campaigning, speechwriting fundraising, operations etc. (In CCHQ terms, supporting Boris amounts to little more than supporting another senior Shadow Cabinet Minister and a bye election team.) In terms of available space, it would of course be quite a squash, but for CCHQ, the consequences of the Tories not winning the London mayoral are surely unthinkable.)

Boris still needs a very, very good chief of staff, though. Historically, his lack of briefing (reading his brief?), preparation etc. has frequently led to him 'winging' it/straying off-message and making gaffes.

Contrary to posts above, James McGrath is absolutely the right man for the job. He earned his wings as Lynton Crosby's Chief of Staff, and then in the same role to Francis Maude when Party Chairman. He is the consummate backroom political operator, carrying out his master's wishes to the best of his considerable ability, even if those wishes might not always be completely to his taste. So all he can be accused of is pragmatism - his professional abilities are not in doubt.

So there you have it: move the campaign back into CCHQ, appoint the best chief of staff the Party can locate, and put the full weight and campaigning ability of the Party behind Boris. On that basis, victory really is within our grasp.

Another London Tory

"People I know who work for Boris tell me they are frustrated at this site's continual sniping."

Some of us frustrated by his laziness and appalled by his racist language. And we are not even allowed to mention the D*r**s G*p**y scandal on this site.

Another London Tory

"Historically, his lack of briefing (reading his brief?), preparation etc. has frequently led to him 'winging' it/straying off-message and making gaffes."

That is why Boris is not qualified or fit to be the Conservative candidate. He is a lazy buffoon who lacks the necessary skills and integrity.

Anthony Broderick

It's about time this site asked some questions about what Boris and his team have actually done since he got the job. If they are surprised or bothered about it they shouldn't be in politics.

Yet Another Anon

Sadly Boris is like too many in the Shadow Cabinet. Part timers with too many outside interests.
His problem isn't his outside interests so much as his absence of interest in much on the inside.


An ill informed opinion is exactly that.

Most of the above is inaccurate.

I feel sorry for Mcgrath. He is a modest chap who would be the first to admit he has not held high profile jobs. Chairman's chief of staff is effectively a bag carrier. And Lynton Crosby certainly never had or needed a chief of staff.

I am sure it is not Mcgrath putting this mischief about Boris campaign or hyping up his own ambitions and background. He is a hardworking type who likes to get on with his job but he would be the first to admit he has not held a senior position at CCHQ and I am sure he wouldn't want to be thrown in the deep end on this campaign.

Likewise it is not Ritterband, Perrior or Tanner's fault that they have little experience. I am sure they are trying their best and would welcome people being brought in above them!

An informed opinion

I don't think he is "a lazy buffoon who lacks the necessary skills and integrity". (And even if he was, it is surely unhelpful to say so, 'Another London Tory').

No, if anything, he has been doing too much whilst remaining a politician: writing books, television series, public speaking, editing The Spectator etc.

Whatever the wisdom of this, he has now pledged to give up his outside projects and focus on the job at hand, so should not all right-thinking Tories get behind him rather than try to damage him?

He has a tremendous brain, considerable public appeal, and who knows, committing himself to the job of London Mayor may just be the making of him.

Campaign Junkie

McGrath is, as yet, too inexperienced for this job. Boris needs a proper election-campaigner who understands London, the mayoral race, can relate to the party, and has proven leadership abilities.

Are there any in this country?

Schlieffen Plan

What communication/consultation has there been between BoJo's campaign team and Norris's? My sources say none. OK..he (Norris) lost (twice) but surely there is some advice/experience/intuition to be passed on from what was not a bad campaign effort to what is proving (sadly) to be a dismal one.

London Tory

Why did Boris need until 1st Jan to 'clear the decks' so that he could focus on campaigning?

Answer- he had TV programmes to make, magazine articles to write, and Xmas parties to attend.

London Conservatives will get behind our candidate for Mayor when he actually turns his attention -full time- to the people he is there to serve.


Boris is short of cash so he is hamstrung when it comes to recruiting more, and more importantly better staff. Problem is that the more he waffles and b*ggers things up the less likely any serious money will flow into the coffers.

James McGrath is certainly NOT the man for the job. The assertion that because he was CoS to Maude qualifies him is a joke. Lynton Crosby had no need for a CoS, he used George Bridges for that role - I even saw George being sent outside to hail a cab for Lynton, made me chuckle - so I'm not sure exactly what it is the James did for Lynton but he was certainly not a full blown CoS. You only have to look at the current crop of people who call themselves CoS to realise that it is not the top-clout job that it was 4/5 years ago.

About two weeks ago there was a two page spread in the London Evening Standard about how great 'Team Boris' was. Big mistake as it only highlighted the trouble Boris was in. His press team then failed to follow-up with a serious campaign...on anything. The tit-bits we see are nothing but morsels compared to the hefty lumps of red meat Ken is dishing out. The Ken/racism campaign was easy to avoid but 'Team Boris' walked into it with the eyes shut. 'Team Boris' is heavy-footed and lacks serious thinking or strategy. But then I come back to my first point, he will not get serious thinkers unless he can pay them proper money.

Even more serious is the problem faced by the Conservative Party should Boris not beat Ken next May. Labour will jump into the attack with 'voters reject Cameron's toff buddy' or something similar. Cameron will be linked to Boris in every attack thereafter. All it needs then is for Boris to have another 'Liverpool moment' or utter another stupid 'Portsmouth' comment and Labour's job will be done for them - mud will stick to Dave.

Team Boris/Conservative Party will soon be at the point of no return, for god's sake somebody get a grip before it is too late - at this rate even Paddick will beat Boris!

Simon R.

It's the parties' fault for picking another 'celebrity' instead of someone who might actually do a good job.

london conservative

Boris is lazy when it comes to unpaid politics. The surprise is...?

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