Richard Osley has tweeted that Town Hall Belsize newbie Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland has been elected deputy leader of the Camden Conservatives.
I considered this for a moment. Then I thought: “Who is Claire-Louise?”
A casual 30-second googling establishes the main facts:
1) She’s originally from Cape Town, South Africa
2) She a state-registered Art Therapist
3) (and this is the killer) She’s a member of trade-union UNITE
Remember them? Of British Airways fame? Didn’t one Dave Cameron suggest their members should cross picket lines?
Dave highlighted Gordon Brown’s connections to Charlie Whelan, Unite’s political director, and said Gordon wasn’t pressing for a workers surrender to Willie Walsh because Unite was funding the Labour party. Even his
diehard understudy fellow party leader Nicholas Clegg got a look-in, saying something along the lines of “Lord Ashcroft and Charlie Whelan might as well be the same person!” (Yes, he did sound as pathetic then as he does now.)
So with these words, Dave unleashed a tirade of dirty campaigning and witch-huntery among the local Conservative associations. And this wasn’t just in deepest Tory-land – just over the borough boundary from where Comrade Leyland would soon be singing the Red Flag in celebration at her election, one Antonia Cox, Tory candidate in Islington South and Finsbury, wrote to her Labour opponent – incumbent MP Emily Thornberry – talking of Unite as if they were mass murderers.
Cox alleges Unite plans to “ruin British business” and “opposes making public services work better”. She seeks to vilify Thornberry in a cheap political stunt for her membership of the trade union. Perhaps Cox should have applied for the Chairmanship of the House Un-American Activities Committee rather than the Islington Tory candidacy.
Emily sent back a priceless response, opening with “how nice to hear from you”, and complete with an attached picture of her proud receipt of a cheque from her beloved Unite. What a great end to this exchange – but I’ll leave this for you to enjoy – let’s not distract from Comrade Leyland.
Although there’s not really that much to say. She must be thanking God (or an nice secular figure, Lenin, perhaps) that she lives in Camden, rather than Islington, or she’d soon be up before Cox’s un-Islingtonite Activities Committee, doomed to a life on the blacklist, rather than admiring the newly-restored Marx bust in the Town Hall’s members’ room from her high seat of the chairmanship of the shadow Council of People’s Commissars.
But the question is – has Comrade Leyland opted out of the Unite political levy? Although we must respect she is a member of the Tory party, that’s not to say she wouldn’t want to further the cause of the oppressed. So, who will she be using her leadership vote for? If she follows the instructions of her leadership, surely it will be one Highgate resident whose name begins with E…
Workers of the world, Unite!