James Forsyth

The back story to the Cameron-Miraj showdown

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Martin Bright has some great detail on the lead up to the Cameron, Miraj row. Here’s the key passage:

“I understand that at a meeting this year Cameron himself urged Miraj to accept to fight another marginal as local Tories were becoming increasingly hostile to the imposition of non-white candidates. Sayeeda Warsi, now shadow minister for community cohesion, also found it nigh-on impossible to find a seat. In Warsi's case, Cameron nominated her for a place in the Lords, which may explain the discussion between Cameron and Miraj about peerages.”

Considering that Cameron also requested the meeting, not Miraj, and that the purpose of it was to discuss an article attacking the leadership that Miraj had already written, the Cameronian narrative that Miraj walked into the leader’s office, demanded a peerage and then having had his request turned down went out and bashed Cameron to the press is extremely misleading. Indeed, Cameron's desicion to turn this row nuclear really does raise questions about his judgement.

Cameron would have done far better to heed the advice that George Osborne gave the Tories back in 2004:

"the Bush team is also brilliant at negative campaigning, but there is an important lesson here for Conservatives too. Character attacks on his opponent almost never come from the President’s own lips. They come out anonymously in TV ads or by e-mail from the campaign’s HQ in Virginia. In recent weeks, Mr Bush has gone out of his way to praise John Kerry’s record in Vietnam, even as his campaign tears it apart. For Mr Bush knows that in politics the message tells you a lot about the messenger."  

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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