Conservative Diary

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A brush with the Prince of Darkness... or is that the Prince of Stability?

Tea with Pickles.

It was a lovely way to the start the day. A name check from the prince of darkness, sorry, the prince of stability, as he now likes to be referred to at Labour’s morning press conference. Not many people know this but we’ve got history. More than thirty years ago we both served on the British Youth Council. His Lordship sent me out to the Soviet Union in an attempt to convince me about the merits of communism.  I didn’t fall for the spin but I am eternally grateful that the prince of darkness, sorry stability, let me back into the country.

I also have to say it was not my dear Lordship’s finest hour as he waged war on journalist after journalist who dared to utter the truth this morning. My favourite moment was when Lord M attacked Adam Boulton sniping at him: “Adam you are not standing for election.” Andrew Neil fired back “neither are you Lord M.” Couldn’t have put it better myself. Watch the clip here.

And what could be a more fitting way to finish off this Soviet style press conference than by locking journalists in at the end and forcing them to witness what I can only describe as a masterpiece in scaremongering from Lord Mandelson with his latest Party Election Broadcast. It nearly didn’t happen as the Prince forget to run the tape and was walking out the room when he was called back by a worried Labour spin doctor ...  sadly it wasn’t Alistair Campbell. I wonder if our supreme leader gave his Lordship the nokia treatment afterwards for losing control of what was meant to be a carefully choreographed set piece?

I have to say I was surprised to see Ed Balls making a guest appearance at this wonderful event. We know he’s practically spending every waking hour in Morley and Outwood battening down the hatches fearful of the relentless surge in support for our great PPC there Anthony Calvert. It was in that vein that I was back in the north today pushing the Conservative message in more Labour heartlands flirting with going blue. I always think the doorstep is the best barometer of the public mood and there’s definitely something dramatic happening in traditional Labour areas. Peter I am pleased to tell you they’re going blue.

Eric Pickles


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