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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Delingpole – Corby Campaign That Never Was

[Update at end of post]

Much attention has been given during the run-up to next month’s Parliamentary by-election in the Corby and East Northamptonshire constituency to the candidacy of James “saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole. Del Boy was to stand as a single issue candidate, opposed to onshore wind farms. But the level of support he could expect would have been minimal at best.

Moreover, Del had recently moved from London to Northamptonshire, suggesting that he could no longer afford to live in the capital. So where was he going to find a spare £500 to spray up the wall? That is the current amount that must be deposited with a candidate’s nomination papers, and which is forfeited if they fail to secure at least 5% of the votes cast in a Parliamentary election.

Well, there was a solution to that one: don’t actually enter the race, but use it as a characteristically shameless way of garnering attention. Thus there would follow media opportunities for Del to inform broadcasters and hacks of his considerable wisdom, make suitably grand gestures, maybe plug his latest pisspoor book and persuade one or two editors to commission articles from him.

But here a problem entered: there would be a deadline by which those nomination papers would have to be submitted. If Del Boy were to pull off his exercise in self promotion, there would need to be some kind of event which he could latch on to, in order to claim some kind of victory. Then he and his supporters could spin the whole thing positively and hope no-one would notice it was a fraud from the start.

And so it came to pass: energy minister John Hayes has, in the context of onshore wind power, said that “enough is enough. The comments were passed to the Maily Telegraph and Daily Mail, by the most fortunate of coincidences the two papers most likely to be receptive to such views, and although Hayes is not sufficiently senior to make a difference to Government policy, it’s enough for Delingpole.

So, via the obliging conduit provided by the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, Del Boy has declared “Windmill Victory”, and withdrawn from the campaign, telling the Fawkes folks John Hayes has just gone and made my every dream come true. I’m overjoyed. In fact, I think I may well have run the most stunningly successful election campaign in the history of elections”. But one news item is missing.

And that is that Delingpole has withdrawn just before the deadline for submitting nomination papers, which is 1600 hours today. So he doesn’t have to stump up a £500 deposit, but gets his free publicity. The Fawkes blog item is spin of the most blatant kind: the real story is that James Delingpole never intended to submit himself to the electorate of Corby and East Northamptonshire.

His campaign has been one big, long premeditated fraud on public and press alike.

[UPDATE 1 November 1000 hours: to no surprise at all, Delingpole has penned a self-congratulatory comment piece for the Telegraph, asking a rhetorical question in the style of Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). "Have I just broken the record for the shortest and most successful election campaign in the history of politics?" he crows, although as I've shown, the answer is no, he hasn't, and the only reason he pulled out was to save his having to open his wallet.

Once again, Del Boy claims his battle to "save the British countryside from one of the ugliest and most pointless outbreaks of vandalism in our history" justifies his "withdrawal", but fails to address the point that he did so just before the deadline for submitting nomination papers - ie actually show he was serious about submitting himself to the electorate.

And, as Alex Hern has pointed out at the Staggers, there are none of those wind farms that Delingpole is campaigning against in the Corby and East Northamptonshire constituency. An application has been made for one to be built, and this has proved controversial, but the status of that application has not changed. Del Boy's presence has made no difference whatever.

Moreover, all that he can muster in his defence is abuse towards Hern, whining that he is a "tosser". What Del is not doing is making any attempt to dispute the assertion that he was never intending to have his name on the ballot, and used the contest as a source of free publicity. That's not good enough]

1 comment:

Nick said...

It was obvious, really - "I will be a candidate in this election" was about as accurate as all his other statements of "fact".