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October 06, 2005



It was the strength of exactly this media endorsement that was behind the trouble-free coronation of Michael Portillo not so long ago.


speaking of which, the Newsnight/Cameron focus group gave me a fantastic idea for a new TV show. The idea would be that you would combine the Frank Luntz focus group things with Stanley Milgram's "Obedience to Authority" experiments. So you would have the politicians in a back room with electrodes attached to their testicles and a room full of punters on the other side holding dials attached to rheostats. Luntz would then show the punters various clips of the pols in action and they would turn the dials to indicate the severity of the electric shock the politician would receive. As with the Milgram experiments, it would make suprisingly little difference to people's behaviour whether or not they could hear the victim's screams.

Kevin Gopal

Parlour game question: if the Conservatives could manage to get say Clarke, Portillo, Cameron and Hague together on an opposition front bench, would it make a difference to the way New Labour governs?


Dsquared - you're a sick, sick man...

More generally, it's eerie the way the culture of Tory leadership contests hasn't changed since the John Redwood event in 1995 - remember Portillo getting his extra phone lines put in? These days the giveaway might be The Candidate getting a T-1 instead, but the principle's the same. All the phrases are there - "skip a generation", "stop $candidate", "$candidate's people".

There's something Darwinian about it - the Tory ecosystem has ruthlessly selected out every other form of behaviour from the population and created a species entirely specialised on mid-90s intraparty politics.

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