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Even top Tories think Dave and Co can’t do piss up in a brewery

Posted on 27 November 2009 | 8:11pm

Can’t wait to see what prominence the Dave C fanzines give to the views of Mr Stephen Greenhalgh in the morning press.

This is the man who suggested that the inexperience of the current shadow cabinet is so serious that they have not even run a piss up in a brewery.

So what, you say, I hear that kind of thing all the time. Yes, maybe you do. But Mr Greenhalgh is what is known as a ‘top Tory’ by dint of his position as leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council. But he’s even topper than that. He is head of the Conservative councils’ innovation unit, and his policies and ideas have been picked out for special praise by shadow chancellor George Osborne.

Yet in his comments, Greenhalgh seems to think Osborne’s inexperience is perhaps most worrying of all of them. ‘My mates are all in the shadow Cabinet, waiting to get those [ministerial] boxes, being terribly excited,’ he told a round table discussion. ‘I went to university with them, they haven¹t run a piss-up in a brewery… they¹re going to get a department of state, in one case running the finances of the nation.’ He doesn’t exactly sound terribly confident about George’s abilities, does he? Who said all Tories were out of touch with the real world.

Greenhalgh pointed to other countries, such as France and the US, where members of the government had typically served at a regional level earlier in their careers. ‘If you¹re going to fail, fail running Alabama, fail running Texas, fail running the city of Paris,’ he said. ‘Don¹t just take over the country.’ Well at least Boris was listening as he goes around failing to run London.

Of course as a few people have said on my Facebook and twitter pages, TB, GB and Co were very inexperienced pre 1997. But most of the British public did at least have a fair idea about who they were. Not just Blair, Brown, Prescott and the ones we used to call ‘the Big Guns,’ but quite a number of shadow cabinet members were pretty long serving and had at least set out a stack of policy to the public.

I was in a cab – sorry I would have got the tube but I had luggage and was late – when I heard about Greenhalgh’s comments. I asked the cabbie if he could name any members of the Tory top team. He knew Cameron. He knew William Hague. And he knew ‘Osmond’. (I was too polite to correct him). And he knew that a new portrait had just been painted of Mrs T. Now there was someone who knew how to run a piss up in a brewery. At least I assume the person who organised the privatisation of the railways was pissed at the time.

  • Kath Chib

    Once the nasty party always the nasty party – it’ll only be a matter of time before they start ripping into each other in the way Greenhalgh already has, or even more dramatically over Europe. They won’t be able to keep their true natures muted for long. Give them enough rope…..

  • Graham Jelley

    Re the prominence — rather less than if a Labour council leader said the same of Gordon Brown and his team.

  • Harry Gill

    Did you put the words ‘organised’ and ‘rail privatisation’ in the same sentence? Shurely shome mishtake as dear old Denis would have said

  • Alan Quinn

    I didn’t know that Dennis was responsible for the privatisation of the railways………

  • Gary Owens

    Interesting to hear the observations of Greenhalgh. Really think that the main figures of the Tories are all style and no substance. I truly believe they will unravel before May.

  • Just Sayin\’

    Be interesting to see what prominence the Alastair C fanzines give to this quote I found on a blog yesterday. (Or did a taxi driver say it?)

    “Alistair Campbells comments don’t surprise me at all unfortunately. From day one, he and New Labour, have played a cynical bare-faced trick which bamboozled people for years. It involves claiming firmly and unashamedly that other people are doing what they are actually doing. It’s psychologically sinister, dangerously effective, hugely irresponsible and has corroded the heart of our democracy.”

    Will they print it? Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath!

  • Alvina

    I am a student at university level and i wanted to know all the names of the spin doctors that Gordon Brown has hired during his term …
    Thank you