Steerpike Steerpike

The Carswellian revolution

While Conrad Black re-entered polite society at Lulu’s in Mayfair last night, the Hospital Club in Soho saw the advent of a new political force. A tie-less Douglas Carswell, the rebellious Tory MP for Clacton, took to the stage to launch his new book The End of Politics and the birth of iDemocracy, a work described by Dominic Lawson in last week’s Sunday Times as ‘as a revolutionary text… right up there with the Communist Manifesto’.

Carswell thanked his wife Clementine for allowing him to lurk in the shed for weeks on end while writing his revolutionary tome, and then confessed that he had spent much of the time ‘Skyping with Dan Hannan’, his fellow ultra-modernising Tory. The self-deprecating Carswell said that a dinner party rant about ‘hyper-personalisation’ had been turned into book; but ‘Carswellian thought’, a term coined last night as the wine flowed, won cross-party plaudits. Labour’s poshest MP, the historian Tristram Hunt, heaped praise on his party political adversary:

‘In Douglas and his manifesto we have not as the whips office suggest a ranter, not a digger or a muggle-tonian but a true agitator with a modern Leveller tract, a 21st Century agreement of the people, and if the tools of the 1640s were the unlicensed presses of London, Douglas’ is the internet.’

Hunt, though, could not resist a dig at Tory party chairman Grant Shapps, who has been the subject of ridicule recently over his online money-making alter-egos:

‘I can think of no other politician who is more dedicated too, or has a better command of understanding how the internet is transforming our politics and our society, and I include within that ‘Michael Green’. He stalks the backbenchers with his iPad, as Lilburne stalked the parliamentary tents with his pamphlets.’

The laughs which that speech inspired should raise Cameroon eyebrows, given the number of Tory MPs present.

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