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Bye bye! The (often non-existent) excuses given by quitting Tory MPs

Louise Mensch: I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Corby!

With 36 year-old Tory Chris Kelly quitting parliament after just one term, a parliamentary counterpart has observed he is among nine 2010 intake MPs to jump.

While Kelly has declined to offer a reason — a lack of advancement in the Commons and a considerable salary boost on offer at his dad’s truck company, for which he was moonlighting while MP, may be factors – what excuses have his colleagues given? We’ve included Labour’s official target seat numbers to give you a massive clue:

  • Dan Byles (North Warwickshire, #1)No reason given.
  • Jonathan Evans (Cardiff North, #4) — Despite uber-marginal seat, the 62 year-old claimed he feared serving until 2020 if he stood again.
  • Louise Mensch (Corby) — Prefers New York City to the the East Midlands. Though it would have made an appearance, Mensch quit her 1,951 majority seat so early that Labour hadn’t even released an official target seat list.
  • Mike Weatherley (Hove, #28) — Understandable re-assessment of personal priorities after a battle with cancer while in office.
  • Aidan Burley (Cannock, #50) – Minor issue relating to Nazi uniforms.
  • Chris Kelly (Dudley South, #74)No reason given.

Then there are the trio of women whose resignations have become a shorthand for the challenges faced by female MPs in general and Tory ones in particular.

While some of the MPs above have offered genuine reasons, others clearly lack the stomach for a fight they suspect they will lose.

Nicholas Soames MP on the ‘rank disloyalty’ of his grandfather

Nicholas Soames

Grandson of Winston Churchill and Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames rants to the Mail on Sunday of Douglas Carswell’s defection to UKIP:

“What Douglas Carswell has done is sheer madness. It is rank disloyalty to a party that gave him a place in Parliament.”

Perhaps Soames should familiarise himself with his grandfather’s political career. Churchill only became the fabled Conservative wartime leader after defecting from parties that had given him places in parliament, errr, twice.

Churchill was originally elected to the Commons as a Conservative in Oldham but didn’t even manage to get through a whole parliament before crossing the floor to join the Liberals. He then stood for the Liberals and under the ‘Constitutionalist’ banner with mixed success in at least five different constituencies, before finally re-joining the Conservatives to become Stanley Baldwin’s chancellor in 1924.

At the time he quipped:

“anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat.”

What rank disloyalty, eh?

Polish internet addresses insert pro-Tory link spam on Wikipedia

Spam can

Computers linked to Polish internet addresses have made nearly 130 spam edits to Wikipedia in a blatant effort to promote the campaign websites of Conservative candidates in target seats, Political Scrapbook can reveal. The news comes after staff for the Tories’ controversial election guru Lynton Crosby were caught removing legitimate, sourced criticism of him from the crowd-sourced website.

Wikipedia rules state that new information should carry a reference at the bottom of the page. But the changes ostensibly made via Eastern Europe either insert the names of Tory candidates with directly-clickable links to their campaign pages or — in a move which lays bare the motivation for the edits – replaces accurate, properly-formatted and referenced information about a Conservative candidate with a direct link.

The edits were made over the course of at least three days earlier this month and from at least three IP addresses ( and Reverse DNS lookups show that the addresses are associated with hosts on subdomains of, the domain of T-Mobile’s Polish operation — suggesting the culprit may have been using a mobile SIM.

Spending days making boring spam edits to Wikipedia doesn’t seem to Scrapbook like the kind of activity undertaken without payment.

‘Enoch was right’, says Tory MP on ‘arrival of non-Christians’

Gerald Howarth and Enoch Powell

A Tory MP has threatened to pour petrol on the glowing embers of the Birmingham schools ‘Trojan Horse’ row — by invoking Enoch ‘Rivers of Blood’ Powell.

In a letter to a constituent seen by Scrapbook, Sir Gerald Howarth — the chairman of Thatcherite group Conservative Way Forward – writes:

“Clearly, the arrival of so many people of non-Christian faith has presented a challenge, as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago.

“Recent events have illustrated that some of these new arrivals have a very different ethos from traditional Christian schools and we are right to intervene to prevent them from teaching divisive ideology to children born here.

The Aldershot MP (who was a parliamentary colleague of Powell’s and represented a seat in Enoch’s former West Midlands stomping grounds until 1992) is on holiday but a staffer told Scrapbook that he “stands by every word” of his message.

Howarth has form.

As a student in Southampton, Howarth was apparently party to hosting Powell on campus in the wake of his notorious 1968 race speech. Praise for Powell as “fantastic” features amongst his numerous references to him in parliament.

Tories’ 27 battleground seats funded through ‘donations loophole’


The secrecy of the Tories’ fundraising operation has been underscored by new research revealing the party’s reliance on a loophole to keep the names of its donors under wraps.  With the party’s 40/40 strategy focusing resources on 80 seats to win or hold, 27 of these get a majority of their campaign cash from ‘unincorporated associations’.

The names of individuals giving a constituency party more than £1,500/year would ordinarily be declared to the Electoral Commission. But rich donors can maintain their anonymity by hiding behind an unincorporated association – allowing them to give up to £7,500 per seat, per year.

The list of 27 seats receiving a majority of donations in this way — published below exclusively by Scrapbook – includes 16 for which 100% of declarable donations have come from organisations such as the United & Cecil Club.

Tory battleground seats with majority of cash from Unincorporated Associations

A donor working with fundraisers in this way could give a whopping £3 million to target seats over the five years of this parliament — without anyone outside the party knowing who they are.

Louise Mensch: Jewish father of political Zionism is ant-semitic

Scrapbook is confident Theodor Herzl didn’t have a Twitter account. If he had, however, he would definitely get blocked by Louise Mensch:

Absolutely classic Mensch.

In full: the criticism deleted from Lynton Crosby’s Wikipedia page

Lynton Crosby Wikipedia

With Channel 4 News revealing that staff of controversial spin doctor Lynton Crosby had deleted criticism from his Wikipedia page, it’s worth having a look at exactly what:

On 9 December 2012 references to Crosby’s dog-whistling tactics were removed:

In the 2005 British general election, in what Robert E. Goodin calls “the classic case” of dog-whistling, Crosby commissioned the creation of a campaign for the UK Conservatives with the slogan “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?”: a series of posters, billboards, TV commercials and direct mail pieces with messages like “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration” and “how would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter?” focused on hot-button issues like dirty hospitals, landgrabs by “gypsies” and restraints on police behaviour.

On 15 July 2013 the following was deleted from Lynton Crosby’s page with the edit description reading “An untrue, unsubstantiated statement”:

During the 2001 Australian federal elections, Howard government ministers falsely claimed that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia, and Howard, in the final days of the campaign, launched a slogan that later grew notorious: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”.

On the same day, the following was also deleted, with the edit description reading: “Unsubstantiated reports. Inaccurate and misleading information”.

In July 2013, following the government’s rejection of a plan to remove branding from cigarette packets, British prime minister David Cameron was urged by Liberal Democrat members of the governing Coalition to sack Crosby as his chief election strategist because of Crosby’s connection to the tobacco industry. Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow was quoted as saying: “Lynton Crosby cannot remain at the heart of government while he is also serving the interests of the tobacco industry. If he does not go the prime minister should sack him.”

References to Crosby’s work — under the radar — for the New Zealand PM were removed at the same time:

According to investigative journalist Nicky Hager, Crosby is also an adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key.

The following section on Crosby’s alleged tactics was persistently the subject of ‘edit warring’ between Crosby-linked accounts and established Wikipedia editors:

Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as “below the radar” campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities. To find such issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions.  Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.

Hilariously, the operators of the rogue accounts even had the temerity to lecture other editors:

“How can it be considered balanced to repeatedly select information to insert into a post for purpose of painting a negative picture of an individual. Wikipedia is supposed to be a community based portal of information not a forum for smear campaigning. Selecting sources to fit a personal opinion is not encyclopaedic content, its bias and it has no place on Wikipedia. Either balance your views for the integrity of this digital encyclopaedia or remove them. Forcing your opinion on the wider community further damages the reputation and purpose behind Wikipedia.”

Did someone say ‘damaged reputation’?

44 teenage girls and 1 teenage boy: it’s Sexy A-levels (2014 edition)

With A-level grades dropping for the first time in over 30 years, the mainstream media seem to have missed an even bigger story: the almost complete absence of male entrants for the qualifications.

The creators of the (now retired) Sexy A-Levels Tumblr have previously set out the magic formula for picture agencies and newspaper picture desks:

“The Platonic ideal being the following elements, in this order: 1) Blonde 2) Twins 3) Going to Oxbridge 4) Leaping for joy 5) Holding aloft their results 6) In low-cut tops).”

First up, The Express. Number of teenage girls: 6 / number of teenage boys 0 (and Rolf)

Sexy A-levels: Express

The Sun: 3 teenage girls, 0 teenage boys.

Sexy A-levels 2014: The Sun (updated)

The Times: 2 teenage girls, plus 3 on the next image panel (5 total), 0 teenage boys.

Sexy A-levels 2014: The Times

The Mirror: teenage girls: 2, teenage boys: 0 (we’re not counting the blurry)

Sexy A-levels 2014: The Mirror

The Telegraph: number of teenage girls 3, number of teenage boys 0

Sexy A-levels 2014: The Telegraph

The Guardian is a tricky one. They’ve with teenage girls — but might salvage some of their right-on credentials for going with Muslims, one wearing a hijab. Teenage girls 3, teenage boys 0.

Sexy A-levels 2014: Guardian

Wow. The Mail HAS A BOY — outweighed by 16 girls.

Sexy A-levels 2014: The Mail

The Independent: 6 teenage girls, 0 teengage boys — plus bonus blonde points.

Sexy A-levels 2014: Independent

The final score: girls 44, boys 1.

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