Diary

ConHome Diary: Hillary Debates The Donald and Why Corbyn Won't be Magnanimous

23 Sep 2016 at 14:45

Over the weekend I head up to the Labour Party conference. It’s my 18th conference, but I suspect this will be different to all the others. I’m expecting a very different clientele to be attending. Gone will be the sharp suited youths of the Blair years, present will be a new breed of the hard left. I suspect the atmosphere will be horrible. The Corbynistas will feel that they are at their most powerful and all this talk of Corbyn being magnanimous and making a peace offering to his critics is for the birds. Even if he wanted to, McDonnell wouldn’t allow it. The Shadow Chancellor sticks firmly by the rules of the Trotskyists handbook. Stamp your opponents into the ground when they are at their weakest. Give no quarter. No compromise. See if I’m not right.
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This week I convened my panel to compile this year’s Top 100 People on the Right. It consisted of a Conservative MP, a party agent, a prominent Vote Leave campaigner, a broadsheet journalist and a Tory writer. The most enjoyable part of this three hour session was deciding who to eject from last year’s list. It was quite a task given the regime change we’ve been through. Perhaps the most difficult thing to achieve was to agree where David Cameron and George Osborne (last year’s top two) should feature in the list. You will be able to see the results of our deliberations next weekend on ConservativeHome.
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So Mary Berry has quit the Great British Bakeoff. Give. A. Toss.
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I suspect the viewing figures for the first Presidential debate early on Tuesday morning will be at an all time high in this country. With the polls narrowing there is an awful lot at stake for both candidates. I’d love to be a fly on the wall as the Trump debate prep team take their candidate through what he should and shouldn’t do. “Be the voice of sweet reason and don’t say anything sexist,” shrills one. “Ground the bitch into the dirt,” says another. “Let Donald be Donald,” says another. It will be very interesting to see which of his advisers wins the day. Hillary’s task is to speak human. She’s not a great speaker or a debator, but her strategy surely has to be to show Trump up for what he is – a racist, sexist bully who has no clue on either domestic or foreign policy. Having said all that, Trump has one strong card in his hand -that of the outsider. Like Nigel Farage, he seems to be inspiring people to vote who haven’t voted in years. I am astonished by the number of Democrats who say they can’t vote for Hillary and will therefore vote Trump. The questions is, can they be outnumbered by the Republicans who can’t stick Trump and will hold their noses and vote for Hillary. And to think, that out of 320 million people, these are the best two candidates the Americans could throw up. And I use that phrase advisedly.
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The Liberal Democrat conference was held in Brighton this week. Just thought you should know.
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I’ve always rather liked Diane James. In case you haven’t a clue who I am talking about, she has just been elected Leader of UKIP. I’ve rarely seen a woman more pumped up with adrenaline than when she accepted the job on stage at the UKIP conference. I did think, though, that Nigel Farage shouldn’t have been on stage. It was her moment, and she should have been allowed to enjoy it on her own and bask in the applause from a very excited audience. Diane is transparently nice, but she is also quite steely. The big question against her, though, is can she appeal to voters in northern Labour seats. They are the key to UKIP’s success in 2020 but she won’t appeal to them in the same way that Nigel Farage did. The other question against her is whether she can escape from Nigel Farage’s shadow. The jury is out on that one. There have been several defections of relatively high profile UKIPpers back to the Conservatives in recent days. I doubt whether this trickle will become a flood, but you never know. If Suzanne Evans decided to make the journey back, I suspect she would be followed by quite a few others.

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