Thursday, 7 January 2010

In defence of Steve Hilton

You can get a sense of why Steve Hilton has been causing some irritation among the Tory ranks by reading his 'strategy bulletins' to Tory MPs in full, courtesy of the FT Westminster blog.

Though they do seem designed for those MPs who might confuse a clippings service with a political 'strategy.'.

The shorter Steve Hilton strategy memos: have you lot not read Nudge yet?

But he's normally seen as quite a jovial chap, as Matthew d'Ancona mentioned in his defence of Hilton in Monday's Evening Standard.

No one in the Western hemisphere says “Great!” more often, or with more conviction.

Next Left certainly can't condone the conduct which, as Channel 4 News exclusively reports tonight, earned Hllton a criminal record and a fine for disorder on his way back from the Tory conference in 2008.

But we wouldn't make too much of it either - even if we are less sure that Andy Coulson may take a benign view.

No doubt there is an intriguing tale as to why this has been revealed publicly now, and by whom, and whether this is part of an internecine power struggle in camp Cameron.

But let us at least note that Hilton's reported offence - shouting out "wanker" and getting very shirty when asked to show his ticket - did at least seem to get his point across clearly.

In fact, we wonder whether it might not be the very first thing Hilton has said on the public record which does not qualify for Next Left's new Steve Hilton Award for Progressive Gobbledegook.


marcuscleaver said...

The story was much more likely released by Labour to take the heat off the failed coup.

Prodicus said...

When's the Deputy Leader up before the beaks? For leaving the scene of an accident. Which she caused. While on her mobile.

Just asking.

Newmania said...

Steve Hilton Award for Progressive Gobbledegook.

Yeeesh that is just sooo lame , usually when you make a joke and no-one starts laughing you sort of quietly drop it . Just a thought

Sunder Katwala said...

many thanks for the feedback. each to their own. i thought this one was funny as a plea in mitigation anyway

we've had a good pitch from John Rentoul; my usual foe Tory Bear tweets that he is "lmao at the last two paragraphs of this", which I understand denotes humour. had some good comments from LabourList piece on it too.

So we'll keep running it, as long as Mr Hilton and others keep up enough nonsense.

Letters From A Tory said...

"No doubt there is an intriguing tale as to why this has been revealed publicly now"

The smart money says Labour have known about this for months and have been waiting for the right moment i.e. when they're in serious trouble and need to put the heat on someone else.

Sunder Katwala said...

Tory sources have been briefing the press that this is coming from the Tory right; and they have not suggested the Labour theory as a possibility.

It doesn't necessarily prove they are right. It is clear that many/some of the attacks on Hilton are coming from the Tory party - eg the leaking of the strategy memos has to be from Tory MPs or staffers, and the aggressive anonymous anti-Hilton briefing from Tory backbench and even at least one frontbench voice, which has been widely quoted.

So we know there has been a sustained anti-Hilton campaign from his own ranks, even if you think Labour has somehow thrown in this one element to it. The balance of probability seems to me against that, but I don't know.

Broadly speaking, while a critic of Hiltonian contradictions and meaninglessness, I would have some sympathy with him over those anonymous attacks.