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Tories swing into action in Corby, at last

1 September 2012

The Corby by-election campaign is warming up, with the Tories selecting Christine Emmett as their candidate. Emmett is a local woman who lives in neighbouring Rutland. She runs her own management consultancy, and claims ‘extensive experience’ working with the NHS and in other areas of the public sector, notably in the fashionable area of ‘health and wellbeing’. The emphasis that the party is placing on Emmett’s work with public services, particularly the NHS, suggests that its strategy will concentrate on public service reform rather than economic policy.

Speaking of which, Nick Clegg, in an interview with the Times (£), has reiterated that the autumn will be dominated by a ‘rat-a-tat barrage’ of economic measures designed to alleviate pressure on households and boost growth. Clegg’s solutions appear to be Keynesian in the general sense of the term. He says that the Treasury will underwrite a house building programme in the south-east, and that there will be substantial capital investment in Britain’s former industrial heartlands. Clegg rejects backbench Conservative claims that he is an impediment to economy progress, but he concedes that he has failed to communicate his party’s interest in cutting red tape to help SMEs. In view of that, one can expect the Lib Dem conference to consider the issue, and perhaps then we’ll discover if Clegg is entertaining radical supply-side reforms, proposals which might be road-tested in the Corby by-election in mid-November.

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The distant vote has been timed coincide with the national campaigns for elected police commissioners, another radical public service reform initiated by the Conservatives. CCHQ has taken some flak from Tim Montgomerie and others over its leisurely approach to selecting a candidate. It’s nearly a month since Louise Mensch resigned and Labour (whose candidate, Andy Sawford, is from nearby Kettering) has made a cracking start, opening a 15 point lead, 6 more than their national lead according to YouGov and matching the national swing of around 8.8 per cent from the Tories to Labour since the last election. And, of course, there is the ever-present threat from the right. UKIP fancy embarrassing the Tories, and will launch considerable resources at the seat. A heavy round of leafleting and canvassing is expected this weekend.

It’s hard to reject the implication of Tim’s point: that CCHQ (and therefore Baroness Warsi, too) has been shambolic of late, a feeling compounded by news that a hapless press officer misspelt Corby and East Northamptonshire in the press release announcing Emmett’s candidature last night. The flagging blues need every second until polling day to convince the burghers of Corby that there is more to government than economics, and much vital time has already been lost. You’d be brave to bet on Ms. Emmett in these circumstances.

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Show comments
  • Marilyn Bowden

    I would really like to hear people speak English when I am out .you wonder if you are insome East European country ,with them on their mobile phones non stop, screaming at the top of their voices , and shopping till they drop , arnt they here to work and help our Bankrupt country back on its feet again,not live of the British Taxpayer Intergation does not work Germany and France are getting tough ,about time G.B. gets tough on these parasites as well”

  • Marilyn Bowden

    So Cameron turning right ,about bloody time we had ,enough of Tony Blair and his lunatics turning this country into a third world sesspool with mass immigration and unbelievable levels of crime . Dump the Human Rights law . Cherie Blair and Islamic terrorists are the only ones who have benefitted from it

  • Marilyn Bowden

    Why are Christians being persecuted for wearing a cross to work .Dammed Labour Govt who created this barrier ? It is ok for seiks to wear turbans ,and Muslims to wear burkas ,hijabs , get a grip this is a Christian Country after all, Get real for goodness sake !,

  • Marilyn Bowden

    How can we have a Muslim woman in charge of faith. And communities ,this is a Christian country .Period

  • JabbaTheCat

    To balance the public sector snout in the trough candidates from Labour and the Conservatives, we have the kippered pygmies offering Margot Parker, who is a Director of Eurocom-Consult, a well-known and respected figure in EU parliamentary and lobbying circles, who is keen to become an MEP and join crash test dummy Farage on the EUSSR gravy train. How can the electorate have full confidence in a ‘euro-withdrawlist’ who makes money out of advising others on how to make money out of the EU?

  • Frank Sutton

    “Corby and North East Hants” when it should be “Corby and East Northamptonshire”… and you call that a spelling mistake?!!
    And people say the Speccie’s standards are slipping!

  • anyfool

    Emmett’s work with public services, particularly the NHS, suggests that its strategy will concentrate on public service reform rather than economic policy.
    NO, it suggests the Tories are going for the votes of people who will not vote for them while at the same time alienating those that want to.

  • Heartless etc.,


  • James102

    So Labour’s candidate is from the public sector and the Conservative candidate earns her living from the public sector. Neither have much incentive to support reducing the burden of regulations.
    As for Warsi,does she have any experience in actually managing anything? Why should we be surprised that the Conservative campaign seems shambolic when no one in the Conservative leadership has any background in management?

    • TomTom

      Warsi was an Immigration lawyer in Dewsbury after spending her time at the Home Office learning the regulations

  • Daniel Maris

    I can’t see them getting anywhere with Ms Emmett. She sounds like everything people rail against here (no hint of real health creation, just the usual public sector teat-sucking) and it sounds like there is a strong potential conflict of interest between her county council role and her business interests. Will there be something there for the newshounds to feast on? Such conflicts though no doubt properly handled can become difficult in an election campaign. I thought they were going to pick Strauss! LOL A celeb might have had a chance.

  • WetherspoonThree

    Isn’t it the view amongst psephologists that voters traditionally punish the party which caused the by-election to called? In which case expect the Conservatives to get a good kicking added to which we have the Mensch factor. I feel sure her self-serving antics during her short spell in politics will have alienated even the most mild mannered voters and had a further negative impact on Cameron’s reputation.
    The only solution given the local demographics is to encourage the Scottish National Party to put up a candidate and thereby split the Labour vote in Corby. A bit desperate I know but it might help the Tory cause.

  • David Lindsay

    They are only going to come second because the Lib Dems are in even worse shape than they are.

    • James102

      Or 3rd

      • David Lindsay

        Imagine that, if UKIP came second, they came third, and the Lib Dems came fourth or below.

        • James102

          Just what our political class needs.

        • abennett461

          Better still UKIP win.

          • David Lindsay

            No chance of that. UKIP will never win a Westminster seat, and it ought therefore to be treated as a party like that, not denied any coverage at all, but only given as much as, say, Arthur Scargill’s SLP.

            But the victorious Labour candidate is doubtless as staunchly Eurosceptical as his father, the Campaign Group MP for nearby Kettering until 2005. Whereas right-wing Eurosceptics are mostly gobsh*tes, far less numerous than they pretend to be, devoted to the woman who signed the Single European Act, and hysterically abusive of the man who kept Britain out of the euro.

            • Nicholas

              So how many Eurosceptics are there, exactly? Or was that, like most of your comments, hyperbole for effect?

              • David Lindsay

                Defined as denouncers of Thatcher, and no other definition will fit the historical facts, I should say that the Conservative benches in the House of Commons now featured one, the staunchly Keynesian, pro-Commonwealth and anti-neoconservative Sir Peter Tapsell. Unless anyone can think of another sitting Conservative MP who voted against the Single European Act? It also seems quite likely, based on his record since election, that Robin Walker shares the very similar views of his late father. So, at a push, two.

                • Nicholas

                  So it was hyperbole.

                • David Lindsay

                  Not really. Just how many are there who are anti-Thatcher veterans or, being of later vintage, in sympathy with that position?

            • rosie

              “hysterically abusive of the man who kept Britain out of the euro.” You mean Rupert Murdoch, I presume?

              • David Lindsay

                If Brown was influenced by anyone on that, then it was by Ed Balls.

              • Radford_NG

                You may care to see my more recent reply to Linsay on this .

            • Andy

              ‘and hysterically abusive of the man who kept Britain out of the Euro’. You mean Sir John Major ?

              • Radford_NG

                You may care to see my more recent reply to Linsay on this.

            • Radford_NG

              2 Sept. c.9.30pm.BST…….The man who kept Britain out of the €uro & who they were hysterically abusive of was ‘he’ they called ‘the dirty jew-boy from Mexico,who tryed and failed to buy a General Election’.This being Sir James Goldsmith with his Referendum Party.[Alright;they did not actually call him a dirty jew,but the message was there.]So, desperate for votes, Major promised he would hold a referendum on joining the €uro;causing Blair to do likewise:so Blair was committed to a referendum that could not be won:hence strengthening Brown,who I’m sure did not need any encouragement to prevent the EU weakening his own authority over the economy.And Sir James also rid us of the obnoxious David Mellor.

  • 2trueblue

    It will be interesting to see what turnout is on the day. The whole thing will not be pretty. Mensch should have done some ground work before resigning to get a successor in place.

    • Douglas Carter

      Her apparent neglect to do so speaks volumes.
      I’m by no means a cheerleader for her but the suddeness of her departure – I suspect – conceals a very much larger picture, and one which will be unveiled as the months draw on.
      Ambitious and self-possessed she doubtless was – but I’d bet there’s an awful lot more to this than meets the eye.

  • TomTom

    Christine has extensive experience
    working in the NHS, reviewing and advising on major Department of Health
    projects including re-configurations and rationalisation.She has been
    involved working with trusts to achieve foundation trust status and
    changes to health care delivery.

    As Commercial Director for rail
    privatisation she achieved a wide range of high value aquisitions.

    This is so appealing to voters……???? Perhaps they can lend her Website a “c” for acquisitions

  • Frank P

    Or put another way, and to paraphrase your post-caption slightly: “The Tories SHOULD swing for their action in Corby last time!!

  • Nicholas

    I agree with Frank – another quangocrat in the HUGE indirect health industry (multiple “agencies” and fake charities) where public funds that could be used to actually improve treatment of the sick and elderly are being channelled instead into lucrative sinecures that churn out endless nanny propaganda and pursue the Common Purpose ideology of creating covert, unaccountable and undemocratic power networks to progress overtly socialist policies.

    No thanks. And the British flag is red, white and blue – not green, or even aspirin carton turquoise.

    • Austin Barry

      The new flag happily conflates green and black, the colours, respectively, of moderate and militant Islam. I welcome this recognition of our cultural transition to the Caliphate and only Clint Eastwood-style, fuddy duddies like Nicholas and Frank P. would object.

      • Frank P

        Heh, heh, heh. Five down ticks, clearly indicating that trolltopia is without a sense of irony. In fact probably devoid of any sentience whatsover.

        • Austin Barry

          Yes, Frank P, the 6 (to date) down ticks seem to suggest that it’s not just Hiram F. Pipesucker III and his fellow Hicksvillians who can’t detect irony.

  • Frank P

    And to rephrase your post-caption slightly: “Tories SHOULD swing for their action in Corby last time!”

  • Frank P

    Another ‘management consultancy’ wonkess sucking off the State teat and diverting funds from the NHS front line. Go Margot Parker! She’s a local businesswoman who gets down and dirty, fighting for local business in the private sector. I hope SHE sucks most of the votes away from the ‘main’ parties. They need to be shown that the writing is on the wall.

    As for the departing incumbent? The local electorate should register their disapproval of quota placewomen by letting Cameron know what they think of his selection process. .

    • wonderfulforhisage

      Come now. I’m ukip inclined but not if they indulge in this type of negative campagning.

    • ArchiePonsonby

      Spot-on, as per, Frank!

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