Eric Pickles’ QT cock-up – the eerie silence of the right-wing blogs

by Stephen Tall on March 27, 2009

I blogged earlier today on LDV about Eric Pickles’ pitifully embarrassing performance on last night’s Question Time, the Tory chairman riling the audience with his tone-deaf defence of MPs’ second homes. It’s not just in Lib Dem circles that this attracted attention – it’s provided much water-cooler comment in the office, and PoliticsHome.com has uploaded the transcript and video here.

You might have though it would have merited some coverage in the right-wing blogosphere, whether springing to the Tory party chairman’s aid, or brushing it aside as a momentary gaffe. I’ve checked a couple of times today on the leading right-wing blogs – ConservativeHome, Guido, Iain Dale, Spectator Coffee House, Times Comment Central – but there’s nothing, nada, zilch. A deafening silence.

Readers of ConservativeHome (and, to be fair, the site usually has comprehensive coverage of the party, both the good and the bad) have been leaving comments all morning asking when Mr Pickles’ humiliation will be mentioned. But no response yet.

I ask the following question purely rhetorically: can you imagine how much coverage there would have been on those blogs if a Lib Dem or Labour politician had tanked as badly as Mr Pickles did last night? Less rhetorically, I ask: have we just seen a preview of how the right-wing blogosphere will react when a future Tory government cocks-up?

Update:
as noted in the first comment, ConHome did eventually publish a piece this afternoon while I was writing this article, remarking kindly that Mr Pickles “didn’t do a good job” under the diplomatically discreet headline, MPs must lead the way in preparing for the ‘austerity Parliament’.

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Actually, ConHome have commented.

http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2009/03/mps-must-lead-the-way-in-preparing-for-the-austerity-parliament.html

I haven’t because I don’t like to intrude on private grief. For similar reasons, I haven’t commented on Ed Davey’s performance. Although there is an added reason. Later on today he and I are going to be on the panel of a Schools Question Time in Kingston!

by Iain Dale on March 27, 2009 at 1:45 pm. Reply #

Timing is everything and yours is a bit out. ConHome put something up about Eric and hour or so ago but interestingly disguised it under a ‘Tories must lead the way on cutting MP’s pay and expenses’ headline.

Take your point about the rest, especially those that claim not to be formally linked to the party. Formal links are not relevant when their latent bias is so strong.

Ian Dale’s dismissal of the Clarke fuss over inheritance tax was beyond belief – the one flagship Tory policy that most people knew about being talked of as an ‘aspiration’?? This would have caused a collective explosion if it had been Labour or the Lib Dems.

Saying that, ConHome is still far better than LabourList for open debate against the party line and when you take into account how much more there is to debate around Labour then the Conservatives, that’s saying something.

by Louis Mazzini on March 27, 2009 at 1:50 pm. Reply #

I’ve never understood why Pickles is so well rated by Tory commentators. He’s a lot like Tony McNulty – reasonable sense of humour, fairly straight talking, but still deeply flawed.

by Mark Wright on March 27, 2009 at 2:10 pm. Reply #

Sorry to both Iain and Josh, for some reason the URL you provided was deemed to be spam by Akismet and both comments got caught.

by Ryan Cullen on March 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm. Reply #

Iain Dale

‘I haven’t because I don’t like to intrude on private grief’

Since when has 11pm on BBC1 been private? Surely the exact opposite is the case, the very epitomy of public grief by a man championed by the Tories as ‘good old Eric, down to earth, connects with the voters, not like those out of touch Etonian types’

Sorry for spelling your name wrong earlier by the way.

by Louis Mazzini on March 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm. Reply #

Ah, now I see the real reason Iain hasn’t mentioned it. He’s been on the case of Fern Britton earning less then Gordon the Gophers old partner.

Congratulations to Iain for giving a fair analysis of the Pickle’s SNAFU though.

(that’s Martin rather then Dale)

by Louis Mazzini on March 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm. Reply #

“I haven’t because I don’t like to intrude on private grief.”

That didn’t stop you with Simon and Lammy’s inept recent performances on the Today Programme did it?

Iain Martin’s picked up on it at the Telegraph:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/iain_martin/blog/2009/03/27/tories_should_put_eric_pickles_under_house_arrest

by slothrop on March 27, 2009 at 3:19 pm. Reply #

I’ve never understood why Pickles is so well rated by Tory commentators.
He may not be the Tories’ top performer on the small screen, but he is a formidable organiser.

I missed QT last night, and the defence of second homes. Strangely, Guido Fawkes missed it also, and he has been very hot on “Porkbusting” of late.

by Frank H Little on March 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm. Reply #

Stephen, Stephen, Stephen, you just don’t understand.

The story right now is Daniel Hannan, universally acknowledged to be the finest orator since Demosthenes.

The idea that a nationally televised epic fail by a big figure of the right should be of any interest or enlightenment to the British electorate is clearly grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre, etc etc.

move along, nothing to see, move along, nothing to see, …

by Squirrel Nutkin on March 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm. Reply #

only fair to point out that Guido and the Spectator have now blogged about it

by slothrop on March 27, 2009 at 5:00 pm. Reply #

Er – ‘a future Tory government’, Stephen?

(Shudders at the thought that it might be a possibilty, let alone an inevitability.)

by Liberttag on March 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm. Reply #

I’m gutted I missed this now, I decided to give it a miss and get an early night 🙁

by Joe on March 28, 2009 at 7:14 am. Reply #

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