Join the Mailing List
Enter your name and email address below:
Subscribe  Unsubscribe 
Free Mailing Lists from

The despatch box

We're you thinking what the Conservatives were thinking? Did you believe the Lib Dems were the real alternative? Is Labour moving forward not back? This blog will focus on all things political. It will be irritating, agitating and maybe just maybe it will get you thinking.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Close encounter of the four legged kind

I was walking between Portcullis House towards Westminster Hall when I saw a dog on a lead. I though my god - thats a funny looking guide dog (assuming it would be leading one former Home Secretary).

But no, my eyes deceived me. It was Tory Vice Chairman and well known dog lover Andrew Rosindell. I seem to remember he had a dog called Buster (but I believe he passed away). I wonder who his trusty companion is supporting in the leadership campaign. Unfortuantely mans best friend was giving nothing away.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Leadership contenders get exterminated at television awards

Apparently the two Davids presented an award at the National television awards which is due to be screened tonight. According to the BBC "the pair were both booed as they arrived on stage".

Mr Davis asked his Tory rival: "Should you leave or should I?" To which Mr Cameron replied: "It's not for us to decide."

I think the audience already had.

It just goes to show that one day you can be the darling of the media - the next you are booed off stage. It could have been worse - a Dalek could have exterminated them!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

We dont need no educashion

Now should we be surprised that the Labour Government - in power for 8 years has now suddenly leapt on the idea that within education, selection, streaming, parental choice, and the provision of good schools for all is a good idea? Well we shouldn't be surprised - moreover we should be asking why has it taken so long for them to recognise this.

The problem I have with Ruth Kelly's proposals is more to do with the constant Labour hypocrisy in education. Its alright for Blair to go to a fee opaying school - yet its his party which shut my Grammar school. It's OK for Diane Abbott to send her child to a private school - but the rest of us will have to be happy with "bog standard comprehensives" (now who said that?).

Frankly I no longer trust this Government with our education system. They want 50% of our children to go to University, to get into debt with the promise of a better job - yet employers are telling us that they are finding applicants without even basic writing skills.

Finally perhaps someone could tell me the difference between the newly announced Trust schools being introduced by Kelly, and Grant Maintained schools of a previous more sensible Government?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Labour's camapigning plans

How nice of the Labour party to provide me with details of where they are sending their supporters. Wouldn't it be terrible if the Conservatives got wind of this!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Proud to be a Conservative

Tonight I am proud to be a Conservative. The leadership election is now in its final phase. Liam Fox bowed out tonight with a very gracious and dignified speech, and went up again in my estimation. I think he has always performed excellently in all the positions he has held in the party and I would think a front bench position would be guaranteed. It is now down to the battle of the two Davids. One has the experience of battle behind him and the scalps of two senior Ministers, and the other has set out a very attractive vision for the future of the party. To those in the Labour party who suggested the Conservative party was dead we have news for them. Its alive and kicking!!

Someones view on leadership (charming!)

All the organs of the body were having a meeting, trying to decide who was the one in charge.

"I should be in charge," said the brain , "because I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen".

"I should be in charge," said the blood, "because I circulate oxygen all over so without me you'd all waste away."

"I should be in charge," said the stomach," because I process food and give all of you energy."

"I should be in charge," said the legs, "because I carry the body wherever it needs to go."

"I should be in charge," said the eyes, "because I allow the body to see where it goes."

"I should be in charge," said the rectum, "Because I'm responsible for waste removal."

All the other body parts laughed at the rectum and insulted him, so in a huff, he shut down tight.
Within a few days, the brain had a terrible headache, the stomach was bloated, the legs got wobbly, the eyes got watery, and the blood was toxic. They all decided that the rectum should be the boss.

The Moral of the story?

The arse hole is usually in charge !!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Davis will fight on (contrary to yet more BBC speculation)

Good for you. The Davis camp have been swift to squash the rumour spread on the BBC that he will pull out post Thursdays vote. According to the DD blog:-

"David Davis is fighting for every vote. He is confident of going through to the next round and intends to take the contest to the party membership and win."

Its not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not long to go...

The first round of voting in the 2005 Conservative leadership election gets underway in a matter of hours. I have arranged to be in London so that I can nip over to the House to get a sense of the atmosphere and be there when the result is announced.

My prediction is that Davis will maintain his number of votes and top the ballot, followed by Cameron then Fox, with Clarke being eliminated.

Then what happens - well I suspect the various camps (who should already have identified who is likely to switch to whom depending on which is the first candidate to get eliminated) will be rushing around doing last minute calculations and further lobbying.

Interesting times!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Clarke backing Davis? Could it be true

According to BBC Newsonline Ken Clarke, talking about Cameron commented:-

"He's probably too young and I'm probably too old. He's got no experience at all and I am loaded with experience. The ideal candidate may be somewhere between the two of us, half the age but half the experience. But he ain't there."

Hmmm so you need someone younger than Clarke but with more experience than Cameron.

Step forward Mr Davis.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Can't wait for the answer

Parliamentary question tabled in the Lords:-

The Lord Redesdale—To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the performance of traditional singing and dancing, such as morris dancing, at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in 2012.

Do we have a policy I wonder?

Battle Commences

Nominations have closed and now its a race between Cameron Clarke, Davis and Fox (no last minute hat throwing by Edward Leigh then).

In 5 days time the MPs will get to have their say in the first ballot. We will then see if the promised votes for the various candidates materialise.

Battle commences.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Westminster Watch

I was down in Westminster today and can report on the comings and goings of the day.

George Osbourne and David Cameron glided in and out of Portcullis House numerous times looking "busy". The extremely hard working Chief if Staff for David Davis, Iain Dale seemed to hardly have enough time to grab lunch - so the Davis campaign looks to be moving on apace.

Ken was seemingly in a jolly mood - and this was before Rifkind pulled out. (I can't remember when he was so visible).

Liam Fox was around - I saw him in conversation with Bill Cash - perhaps a supporter due to the European issue I wonder??

And my friend on the Telegraph was busy updating his list as to who is supporting who.

What a day!

Gin for anyone?

I was in the House of Commons Gift shop when who should pop in but the Lib Dem leader, who proceeded to ask whether they sold House of Commons Gin.

"Why of course Sir would you like some?"

"Yes - This will make someone very happy."

"Would you like a bag?"

"No don't worry" - as the gin goes in the briefcase.

Maybe its a gift for Lib Dem leadership contender Simon Hughes? What do you think? Any suggestions as to who is getting the bottle?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Jonathan Sheppard: I'm voting for David Davis

Copy of the text of my piece which has recently been published on the great Conservative Home blogs

Jonathan Sheppard (of the Despatch Box blog) was the Conservative Party Candidate in Bassetlaw in the 2005 General Election. He works in Government Relations for a major High Street retailer based in Nottingham, and is also unpaid political adviser to a Shadow Minister. Jonathan submitted this article to conservativehome before the Blackpool Conference.

I joined the Conservative party in 1990 – and now aged thirty I have already spent half of my life already as a Conservative. Ever since I have been old enough to vote, the Conservatives have lost General Election after General Election – the upshot being that the party has now lost three in a row, the fist time in modern democracy.

Unless you have been stranded on a desert island, you couldn’t help to notice that the party is once again in the midst of a leadership election. This time I would suggest the decision taken by the party is more important than ever. The public are getting weary of our party changing leaders in the hope that it will bring better results. We don’t want to become just like the football club who gets a new manager yet doesn’t shake up the squad, but still expects a better performance on the pitch.

I am not one of those who is prepared to criticise any of the candidates who have put themselves forward for this election. We are all Conservatives, and there is a frustration I and many others share, in that since May 5th we have let the current Government get on with doing what ever they want – while we have focussed our guns inwards.

There are many good candidates, but for me one man, (and this time it is a man) stands head and shoulders above the rest. That man is David Davis.

Critics have said we need a “big beast” to take on Gordon Brown, but I say big beasts can be slow, cumbersome, and often become extinct – especially in modern day politics.What the party needs is an agile, and disciplined performer, and that man is David Davis.

Much of the debate has focussed on whether a candidate is a moderniser or a traditionalist. In Davis I say we have the best of both worlds. We have a candidate who is rightly Eurosceptic, a candidate who believes wholeheartedly that hard working people pay too much tax, yet at the same time believes that we need to reform public services, not smash them, and I am sure is committed to reforming the party internally to ensure we are best placed to take the fight to Labour.

But what of the criticism which is thrown at David Davis? Some say he lazy – yet at the same time he is accused of being a hard task master as a boss, having the cheek to call people at 11:00pm at night. You mean to say he brings the drive of a business-man to the world of politics? I say more of it!

Some say that his parliamentary experience isn’t as wide as the other candidates. I point to his Chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee and more recently his masterful handling of the Home Office brief as just two examples of what a Davis could look like. Given that crime and the war and terror are likely to dominate the political agenda for years to come, there can be no better preparation for party leader than having been in charge of that portfolio.

I was once told that where you come from isn’t as important as where you going, however that is only half true. Where you come from can shape your opinions, and can be a determining factor in where you may end up. I can’t remember the amount of times I was told “You aren’t a typical Tory” when I was on the door-step in Bassetlaw, by people including ex miners and public sector workers. This was down to my background, which included the fact that I was from the East Midlands, I had worked the majority of my working life in the public sector, and I knew what it was like to be brought up in a single parent family. In short I could empathise with them, and in return they were prepared to give me a fair hearing. David Davis wasn’t born into the Conservative party – he chose it, and therefore his convictions are all the more stronger for it.

If we are to win those voters who deserted us for Labour in 1997, from the urban areas, and from the North and Midlands, then we need a leader who can go into those Labour areas, and make people think twice about the party. They may not agree with everything we say, but if they think, “Well their leader went to a state school; he was brought up by a single parent family – he knows about modern day pressures” then we are half-way there. It would be a fool who discounts a persons background.

His ability to see off the Lib Dems decapitation strategy in his own back yard, trebling his majority in the process just goes to show what we can expect in campaigning terms under a Davis leadership – a will to win.

Some may say that I am not the best person to judge the merits of David Davis. I would say you are right. But perhaps his colleagues are in the best place to past judgement – and at the time of writing he already has the support of 66 Conservative MPs.

Any future leader has to have the confidence of his colleagues in Parliament, and must ensure he draws upon the experience of people from across the spectrum of the party. Only David Davis has shown he can achieve this.

His recently launched manifesto highlights his desire for “Changing Britain, Improving Lives”. For this to happen it is essential that the Conservative Party re-discover its will to win. Under David Davis I am sure it will.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sheppard attacked Brown attacking hypocrisy

According to BBC News Online

Chancellor Gordon Brown is expected to criticise the "hypocrisy" of rich countries which restrict trade with the developing world.

Perhaps he should have a word with his former colleague and current un-elected European Eurocrat Peter Mandelson. Prudence can't have forgotten China and the bra wars so soon can he????

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Has the world gone mad???

Probably not - its just what we have come to expect. Rights coming before responsibilities. Apparently not allowing prisoners the right to vote breaches their human rights.

Excuse me? Human rights?

And where do the rights of their victims come into this?

What a nonsense!

One to watch

The following was flagged up in the press review provided by e-politix.

It has to be a must watch. the final sentence made me chuckle. Poor David!

Details of a television drama based on David Blunkett's affair with Kimberly Quinn are published in the papers today. The programme, 'A Very Social Secretary', will air on Channel 4's new entertainment channel More4 on Monday and is set to cause embarrassment to the former home secretary - portraying him as foolish, love-struck and hopeless in bed.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Rumours about.....

Ancram to announce candidacy. Interesting if true.

Stop Press.... He just announced his intention NOT to stand.

Shows what I know!
Sent via BlackBerry

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

David unveils weapons of mass distraction

I'm not sure whether I am happy about this - but both my wife to be and my mother have asked (independently of each-other) - whether I could get hold of a "It's DD for Me tshirt".

They weren't too keen on wearing tshirts with my pic on during the election!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

What a day!

Back in my hotel in Blackpool I have now been up for 21 hours. I have just played my part in helping to communicate details of a £7 billion retail merger. That and driving about 500 miles today have left me somewhat jaded.

My tiredeness disappeared after a couple of diet cokes in the Imperial. It was good to be able to have a few words with Iain Dale CoS to David Davis, and to see Davis meeting and greeting the party faithful. Davis has something you can't learn - leadership presence - and he certainly seemed master of his domain tonight.

The cabbie on the way in said he thought Sir Malcolm had made a good speech - although he did say he thought Davis would be good for the party as "he's an ordinary bloke".

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Telegraph troubles

I made my first round trip to Blackpool today. Safely back home - though will be making another two hour trip up tomorrow afternoon.

I bumped into a pal who know works on the Telegraph who happened to pass on some advice about getting a taxi.

Apparently during Lib Dem conference he had tried for ages to get a taxi at 2:00am to take him back to his hotel. After finally succeeding he asked the driver why so many taxis for hire passed him by. The taxi driver replied - oh you'd have no problem if you were on a stag or hen weekend. They are always friendly and are that drunk they tp well. You on the otherhand look like a local - and they moan like hell about the prices!

So if you want a taxi in Blackpool it seems like you may have to wear a bright coloured wig, a kiss me quick hat or even worse and you'll have no problem!
Top of the British Blogs Call me!