Lynton crosby

Lynton Crosby’s consolation prize

Theresa May’s ‘strong and stable’ election campaign was nothing short of a disaster for the Tories. But it isn’t all doom and gloom for everyone concerned. Step forward Sir Lynton Crosby. Crosby’s firm CTF Partners helped to mastermind the Conservative campaign. Although that didn’t play out exactly as intended, the company has just reported a profit of £4.46m for last year, according to a copy of the company’s accounts seen by Mr Steerpike. CTF Partners’ profit rose by almost a million on the year before. As for that campaign, as revealed last month, Crosby’s campaigning firm charged the party £4 million for advice in the run-up to the general election campaign.

The Tories have been diminished by this election

There’s an expression used in football to describe an approach to the game that discounts the virtues of elegance, style, beauty, originality and daring, and — concentrates on blocking, frustrating and grinding down. It’s called ‘winning ugly’. While degrading the game, it often works. But having won a match, a football team does not have to govern the country for five years. It does not need our love, our patience or our intellectual respect. The Conservative party attempted to win the general election by winning ugly, and in doing so, they have lost some of our love and our respect. That, I reflect, is what, without direction from the top,

Crosbyism is back, ready to bore us into voting Tory

Forget the phrases ‘long-term economic plan’ and ‘propped up by the SNP’, which came to define the 2015 election. Lynton Crosby, political mastermind and Conservative campaign director extraordinaire, has a new approach. It’s called ‘strong and stable leadership’ and its poster-girl is Theresa May. After having triggered the starting gun of the election earlier this week, the Prime Minister began her campaign with a speech in Bolton. It was pretty short, but it set the tone for the campaign over the next 50 days. ‘Strong and stable leadership,’ she said, over and over again. Expect to hear the same speech churned out throughout the campaign, with the odd news element sprinkled in for flavour, or

Boris Johnson’s campaign manager goes for Gove – ‘an emotional need to gossip’

After Michael Gove turned on his one-time ally Boris Johnson and decided to run for leader himself, there was disbelief and anger among the former Mayor of London’s supporters. While Jake Berry declared that there was a special place in hell for Gove, his fellow Tory MP Ben Wallace has used a comment piece in today’s Telegraph to claim the Justice Secretary has an ’emotional need to gossip, particularly when drink is taken’. In the article, Wallace explains why he believes Gove just isn’t up to being Tory leader — let alone Prime Minister. To do this, he reveals the chaos that ensued after Gove gave Lynton Crosby just five minutes notice that

Boris needs you!

Boris Johnson is nodding along as he reads Karl Marx. To be more precise, he is standing in the Spectator boardroom reading a letter that Marx and Engels wrote to this magazine in 1850 complaining about being pursued by Prussian government spies in London. He then admires a picture of the youthful Taki chatting up Joan Collins at a New York nightclub in 1957. When he was editor of this magazine, he called it ‘the best job in London’. But now he says that being mayor of London was even better. Less fun, perhaps, but more fulfilling. After eight years at City Hall, he is turning his mind to what

Jim Messina interview: how the pollsters got it wrong and why Labour lost

Jim Messina is the American elections guru who got the general election right. Hired by the Conservatives as a strategy adviser in 2013, the Tories hoped he would emulate Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election strategy. And so he did. Whereas British pollsters consistently missed that the Tories were moving into pole position, Messina’s internal numbers showed for weeks they were on course to be the largest party. Speaking to The Spectator from Washington, D.C, he reveals that he was not at all surprised when the BBC exit poll showed the Tories were going to trounce Labour. ‘We predicted 312 seats that morning to Lynton [Crosby] and 316 was right in line with

A knighthood? Lynton Crosby deserves a hereditary peerage

Was a political knighthood ever more deserved than Lynton Crosby’s? His personal involvement was the difference between defeat and victory – he kept Ed Miliband out of No10. As Tim Montgomerie  observed earlier, a hereditary peerage would be in order for that alone. We saw, in 2010, what a Tory general election campaign looks like if left in the hands of a Tory leadership more noted for its enthusiasm in campaigning than their expertise. Crosby distilled down the Tory offering and encouraged Cameron to drop the misnamed ‘modernisation’ agenda which had so narrowed the party’s popular appeal (and halved its membership). Crosby focused on the basics: tax cuts, efficiency, jobs, prosperity. The

Isabel Hardman

Of course Lynton Crosby deserves a knighthood

Why should Lynton Crosby get a knighthood? The Sunday Times today reports that the Conservatives’ election chief is in line for an honour, which has provoked fury from democracy campaigners and, naturally, those aligned with the parties he helped to humiliate in May. The fury of the Labourites is quite easy to understand, and not just because it is miserable seeing the guy who was instrumental to a surprise election victory that many around Ed Miliband thought was theirs being honoured. It’s also because many of them will complain that he is a negative force in politics, someone who isn’t averse to flinging a dead cat on the table at

Zac Goldsmith is the Tory candidate for London Mayor. But is he too posh to push?

As expected, Zac Goldsmith has won the Conservative nomination for next year’s Mayor of London race with a sweeping 71 per cent of the vote – but on a distressingly small turnout. Anyone in London could vote by paying £1, so there had been hopes of a high turnout – figures of 60,000 were mentioned. But a pitiful 9,227 turned out to vote, from a city of ten million. Given the excitement caused by Labour’s leadership race, this is hugely disappointing for the Tories — and bodes ill for the race now in prospect. If the turnout was bad for Zac, it was worse for everyone else. Syed Kamall, an MEP for London, was second with

Lynton Crosby offers Nigel Farage some career advice

In an interview with Sky News Australia, David Cameron’s former election strategist Lynton Crosby has today offered his thoughts on the Prime Minister’s rivals. Unsurprisingly, his conclusions are hardly flattering. However, the man who has taken the brunt of Crosby’s ire is Nigel Farage. Crosby claims that Ukip does not have ‘a long-term future’. Furthermore, instead of trying to win a Westminster seat again, Farage would be better advised to look for chat show work in Australia: ‘They are very reliant on the performance of their leader Nigel Farage and even he couldn’t win a seat. Sixth or seventh time he’s tried to win a Westminster seat. I think he might be

Why I voted for Jeremy Corbyn

Is the ‘Tories for Corbyn’ campaign politics at its most infantile? As one of the few conservative commentators willing to defend it in the media, I’ve been doing my best to rebut that charge. The most frequent line of attack is that there’s something dishonest about it. The Labour leadership election isn’t an open primary. It’s restricted to members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters. OK, you can register as a supporter for £3 — a change brought in by Ed Miliband to reduce union influence — but only if you pretend to be a Labour sympathiser. And that’s just wrong. The short answer to this is that no such pretence

‘Tories for Corbyn’ isn’t just a bit of fun. It’s an effective political weapon

Is the #ToriesForCorbyn campaign politics at its most infantile? As one of the few conservative commentators willing to defend it in the media, I’ve been doing my best to rebut that charge. The most frequent line of attack is that there’s something dishonest about it. The Labour leadership election isn’t an open primary. It’s restricted to members, registered supporters and affiliated supporters. OK, you can register as a supporter for £3 — a change brought in by Ed Miliband to reduce union influence — but only if you pretend to be a Labour sympathiser. And that’s just wrong. The short answer to this is that no such pretence is necessary

Tory MPs congratulate Lynton Crosby on his election success

Tory MPs are currently hearing from Lynton Crosby at a special meeting of the 1922 Committee on his election victory. Many of them are wryly amused that they are having to applaud a campaign that they found restrictive, uninspiring and negative – and which they think relied on Alex Salmond as a bogeyman, not the Tories’ own appeal in order to win the election. But they will be applauding the Wizard of Oz nonetheless today because whether or not he did, as he claims, know all along that the party would win the election outright, he did run a campaign that led to an election win, and there’s not much point

Lynton Crosby vs. Lord Ashcroft round two: ‘he’s not a pollster’

Those hoping one of Westminster’s most entertaining ongoing feuds would cool after the election will be disappointed. As the dust settled on David Cameron’s majority, his 2010 confident and in-house polling guru Lord Ashcroft let rip in the New Statesman at the Tories’ victorious 2015 election strategist Lynton Crosby: ‘By and large, on balance, we can all agree that it has not been a great election for the pollsters. But there is (or so we read) one notable exception. The private polls commissioned from the Tory bunker by the campaign chief Lynton Crosby and the US guru Jim Messina got the result ­absolutely right, at least according to, well, Lynton Crosby

George Osborne kissed Lynton Crosby after election promise backfired

It isn’t the type of kiss-and-tell story Mr S is used to reading in the Sunday papers, but Lynton Crosby has today spoken about an election smooch he shared with the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Sunday Times reports that George Osborne was so convinced that the Conservatives would not win a majority in the election that he promised to French kiss Crosby if they managed to win enough seats. However, with the party storming to victory, Osborne had to honour his promise and kiss Crosby. The election strategist confirmed the incident to the paper: ‘It’s true. His aftershave still haunts me. Fortunately tongues remained withdrawn. The pledge was on election day. The consummation

How the polls got it so wrong

Not all the pollsters got it wrong. On the morning of the election, a set of strikingly accurate predictions was slapped on David Cameron’s desk. They had been compiled by Jim Messina and Lynton Crosby, the strategists who had been running a campaign derided as dull and repetitive. But, as their research showed, it was also effective. Messina is now back in his office in Washington DC. ‘We predicted 312 seats that morning to Lynton,’ he says. This was in line with the exit poll (316 Tory seats) that shocked Westminster. Yet, every day of the campaign, the polls had the Tories and Labour neck and neck. Did he ever

There was one pollster who predicted a Conservative victory: Jim Messina

The shock election result has resulted in a lot of finger pointing. Why did the pollsters not see a Tory victory on the horizon? Was Labour deluded in thinking they had any chance of making it into government? Judging from conversations I’ve had with Conservatives, those inside the party weren’t particularly certain about getting the most seats either, never mind a majority. The leadership campaigns were even prepped for a contest soon after May 7. But there was one man who did see a Tory victory coming: Jim Messina. The Obama guru and former White House deputy chief of staff was hired by the Tories for his data nuance and his

Ten handy phrases for bluffing your way through election night

The hours between polls closing on election day and the result emerging represent an almighty challenge for journalists and know-alls everywhere. Demand for punditry is huge, yet there is little to say, and nobody knows what is going to happen. Tomorrow evening, The Spectator will launch our own ‘Pundyfilla Award for Inane Political Commentary’ – but until then, here are a few stock phrases that should help everyone (remember, in the age of social media, we must all be journalists) sound as if they know their election onions: ‘What I’m hearing is…’ The TV correspondent’s best friend. This line suggests an ear to the ground — even if in truth ‘hearing’ means checking Twitter. It hardly matters what you

Westminster’s obsession with US politics is both embarrassing and foolish

Can you sense it? That thrill in the air? The feeling that suddenly the Labour campaign is just somehow more exciting? Yes, that’s right, David Axelrod is back in the country. Try to control yourselves. The Guardian recently revealed that 26 April was the date that The Axe was landing back in the UK. And not a moment too soon, as some in the Labour party have started to question what Obama’s former adviser has been doing for his reported £300,000 apart from the odd conference call. The idea that the election was a fight between the American and Lynton Crosby – who, whatever you think about him, clearly eats, breathes and

Alastair Campbell finds old habits die hard

Post Blair’s government, Alastair Campbell has billed himself as a pious, ethical commentator on the state of the media and politics. If there’s one thing he can’t stand, it’s the negative campaigning from the Tories, and especially from his old foe Lynton Crosby: ‘Meanwhile lest anyone dare to say the Tories are only fighting a negative campaign against Labour, perish the thought… I have seen some dire campaigns in my time. Crosby’s Michael Howard 2005 vintage springs to mind. But this one is taking all the awards for the direst. They are not so much making it up as they go along as going along not sure what they just made