Tara Hamilton-Miller: Savvy Tories rise as cull continues

More transparency! Fixed-term parliaments! More power to the quiet ones at the back! The ideas are coming thick and fast from David Cameron, with continual front-page splashes of deep-clean reform.

Tara Hamilton-Miller
Tara Hamilton-Miller

Where is Brown? Our PM has disappeared into oblivion and that says it all. The game is over.

The Tory leader is cleverly using the row to get rid of repellent little excuses for men such as Anthony Steen and Derek Conway. The chance to cull them and look as if he is in charge will be advantageous in the future. The likes of Conway will not be missed.

As for the rest of our porcine representatives, every MP now has to be his or her very own PR machine, carefully choosing how they dig themselves out of this pickle. How best to do it? Take the chance of a kangaroo court, deny doing anything wrong (yes, you, Shahid ‘massage chair’ Malik) or say nothing?

Kitty Ussher is a woman who dislikes Artex ceilings so much that in her begging letter for £20,000 she wrote, ‘pay as much as you are able’. She has now taken the rather cowardly approach of ‘say as little as you are able’. Refusing to meet constituents in Burnley, she is hoping the silly voters simply forget her excesses.

At least the sinister kumquat Andrew MacKay put himself before his flock to be destroyed. This was either brave or a show of staggering self-belief. When he faced the cameras afterwards and tried to convince the crowd of his louder ‘clap percentage’, one could almost feel sorry for him. (One didn’t, though.)

Those standing for parliamentary seats can have fun with literature in the coming months. Prospective Tory or Lib Dem candidates in James Purnell’s constituency could do worse than simply print leaflets saying: ‘This man spent £250 of your money on fridge magnets.’

Those in PR can learn from the past few weeks and the months to follow, asking ourselves what we would advise the chairman to do if it was one of our accounts. The Tory leader ‘got it’ early, getting out there with apologies, sackings and proposals and inviting new, untainted people to join to combat evil. Only nuns who already own flat-screen TVs and Nespresso Essenzas need apply.

Tara Hamilton-Miller is a political adviser and formerly worked for the Conservative Party press team

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