Opinion: Tory woes over the Eastleigh campaign continue

Channel 4 news are carrying a story highlighting Conservative Minister Nick Boles’ unease with the Eastleigh campaign’s “war on planning” strategy which he feels went against what he had been asked to do in government, and that he was asked to stay away from Eastleigh to keep the messaging on track.

This in itself is not that surprising, as the LibDem campaign (and even the media) knew that the Tory campaign was a double-back on their County Council and Government commitments and declared policies. It was pretty typical of their campaign, and of the overall shambles which is Tory election strategy at the moment.

However, a little point raised therein is the campaign lead. Who ran the messaging for the Tories in Eastleigh?

Lynton Crosby?

Nick Boles is reported as feeling:

The (Tory) leadership gave Lynton Crosby free run on the Eastleigh campaign and Mr Crosby ran what Mr Boles feels was “a truly rotten campaign. 

This directly contradicts a statement the Tory Party gave to the Guardian. See the footnote to the article.

We have been told that Crosby was not involved in Eastleigh and that he predicted in advance that the Tories would lose.

Someone, somewhere, is not fully aware of the facts. It would surely not be unreasonable to speculate that CCHQ is keen to protect Crosby’s reputation as an infalliable election campaigner.

If Lynton Crosby was running the Tory election strategy, which was typical of the kind of negative, brutal campaigning for which he is (in)famous, then Crosby’s triumphal return to Tory campaigning has started with an abject failure,  coming third in one of their target seats.

So what was Lynton Crosby’s involvement in Eastleigh? Was he as sceptical as reported by the Guardian second hand, or was the failed campaign for Maria Hutchings his work?

Has Lynton Crosby’s shine already begun to wear off for the Tory electioneering machine?

* Alisdair Calder McGregor was Candidate for Calder Valley in 2015 and is a member of the party's Federal Policy Committee

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2 Comments

  • Tony Greaves 12th Mar '13 - 6:05pm

    The point about the Tory campaign in Eastleigh – on housing development – is that it was thoroughly dishonest. But it illustrated well the huge gulf in the Tory Party over the issue. What they will do locally when it’s Tory Councils that are (rightly or wrongly) being forced to do the government’s bidding, is not clear.

    Tony Greaves

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