Grant Shapps: data error

Writing for ConservativeHome, Grant Shapps’ former top advisor seems keen for his old boss to take credit for the parts of the election campaign which worked, but strangely not for a new IT system which went into meltdown on polling day — leaving Tory activists across the country unable to print vital ‘get out the vote’ data.

But it’s definitely not Shapps fault, honest, says Paul Abbott:

“Votesource was built in-house by a small coding team in CCHQ, because our antiquated Party Constitution makes it impossible to use off-the-shelf systems from America.”

Impossible, eh? Is that why Tory HQ reportedly spent some time considering whether to do precisely that? One option on the table was Nationbuilder — an off-the-shelf system from, errrr, America:

“A debate then followed about how best to replace [the party’s old voter ID system]. Should CCHQ buy off the shelf – getting a product like NationBuilder … or develop their own system in-house, to precisely fit CCHQ’s needs? The fateful decision was made to go with the latter option.

No prizes for guessing who ultimately oversaw the development of Votesource — and was personally billed as “unveiling” the project before it became mired in technical issues.

And as for the claim that the party’s constitution prohibited an off-the-shelf system …

… that would be the same constitution that says: “The Board shall have power to do anything which in its opinion relates to the management and administration of the Party”.

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