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“A Nightmarish Political Discourse”

John Rentoul

Bless Peter Oborne. He may have a point about Michael Ashcroft’s disaffection with the Prime Minister, although, as Twitter bird 300x207 A Nightmarish Political DiscourseLord Ashcroft himself points out in reply, he commissions a lot of polling that makes the essential point many of David Cameron’s Tory critics fail to grasp, that the Prime Minister is “the party’s greatest asset”.

It is Oborne’s view of Twitter that really sets him apart, though. He thinks it is a conspiracy by Tony Blair to create

a nightmarish political discourse that favours the short-term over the long-term, the sensational over the mundane, the false over the true, and the strident over the thought-provoking.

Well, it’s a point of view, but as he is not on Twitter how would he know? Overcoming such obstacles, Oborne nevertheless understands how the conspiracy by Lord Ashcroft to acquire a “dangerous monopoly” over the internet operates:

On May 25, Rupert Murdoch (no fan of Mr Cameron) attacked him for going on holiday in Ibiza in the aftermath of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby. Lord Ashcroft immediately gave this currency by circulating it to his online followers.

Murdoch has 444,000 followers on Twitter. Lord Ashcroft has 5,200.

Photograph of the Monarch Nuquinegro (Hypothymis azurea) via @Globe_Pics

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  • greggf

    “….that makes the essential point many of David Cameron’s Tory critics fail to grasp, that the Prime Minister is “the party’s greatest asset”.

    Maybe, but not necessarily for a Conservative government.

  • Junius

    It appears that Blessed Peter Oborne’s piece in the Telegraph is an update on one written almost a year ago*, when he voiced disquiet over what he perceived as Lord Ashcroft’s undue internet influence, asserting that the Tory peer had established himself as ‘the most powerful proprietor in the emerging world of online publishing and political intelligence, where he is so dominant that last week he became subject to an investigation by the Competition Commission’.

    Oborne further asserted ‘there is no denying that since he [Ashcroft] acquired the ConservativeHome website in September 2009, it has been transformed from a relatively loyal voice of the Conservative Party as a whole into the Prime Minister’s most damaging critic.’ Warming to his theme, Oborne accused Ashcroft ‘and his small but beautifully placed army of editors, columnists and pollsters’ of starting to push David Cameron around. ‘On issue after issue – Europe, welfare, education, taxation – Mr Cameron has edged away from the political centre towards the Right.’ All hail, Blessed Peter the Visionary!

    Perhaps Ashcroft the Kingmaker has belatedly realised that after May 2015 he and his internet army’s pushing power will be featherweight and has decided to emulate the Stanleys at Bosworth Field, hence that open letter to Ed Miliband. Doubtless Ed will politely decline his lordship’s generous invitation, knowing there is no such thing as a free lunch.

    *27 June 2012. Lord Ashcroft’s Tory Right is stopping the Coalition working


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