Could Nadine Dorries lose her seat thanks to TV stunts?


1:06 pm - November 22nd 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Tory MP Nadine Dorries said taking part in ITV’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here was “a golden opportunity to communicate with sixteen million people”.

But a poll by Lord Ashcroft of her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency found that most contituents – including most Tory voters – disapproved of her stunt.

He says:

My poll of her Mid Bedfordshire seat found nearly all of them knew she was involved in the show, and nearly half said they would watch at least one episode. But more than half, including more than half of Conservative voters, said they disapproved – and most of those did so strongly.

Perhaps not surprisingly, older voters objected by a huge margin, but even those aged under 25 were more likely to disapprove than approve of her taking part.

Only a third of her constituents agreed that her appearance on I’m A Celebrity will get her “more attention for the issues she cares about” than in Westminster.

Ouch. Worse – 45% of Conservative voters in the area told pollsters they would be less likely to vote for Nadine Dorries again.

Time for a strong opponent to take advantage and unseat Ms Dorries?

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Although I pretty much disagree with all her policies I couldn’t help but concede she had a point when she said that if politicians want to be listened to they need to go to where the public is directing it’s attention and not expecting the public to turn its attention to them.

From UK polling report:

Topline voting intentions in the constituency are CON 51%(-2), LAB 22%(+7), LDEM 14%(-11), UKIP 8%(+3), GRN 4%(+1) – changes are from the general result in 2010.

Pretty important details you missed there.

“Worse – 45% of Conservative voters in the area told pollsters they would not be less likely to vote for Nadine Dorries again.”

Are you trying to say with this tortured sentence that 55% would be less likely to vote for her again?

1@ Even with that being true – politicians aren’t there just to be listened to. They’re elected to work for their constituencies, which she wasn’t by being in Australia.

“if politicians want to be listened to they need to go to where the public is directing it’s attention and not expecting the public to turn its attention to them”

Except that broadcasters won’t broadcast anything they say unless somebody else is there to give an alternative viewpoint. Even the most basic act of ‘stop and think’ should have told her this.

It’s also delusional beyond belief to think “the the only think that stops the nation agreeing with my views is because not enough people have heard me articulate the case for X”.

Stewart – oops, that was bad phrasing on my part. Have corrected it.

Safe seats regularly elect ‘Donkeys’, it matters not whether they sit for New Labour or the Tories just stick the appropriate rosette on their arse and watch the voters fall in place.
Until voters understand that those they elect have nothing but contempt for them, nothing will change.

Sunny – excellent. Hate being a pedant, just struggled to comprehend. And I’m keen to understand the chances of the pound-shop-Sarah-Palin being deselected.

Of course she won’t lose her seat,in fact I bet she’ll be a shadow junior health minister if Boris becomes leader of the Tory party after the next election. I hate to say it, but I actually rather like Nadine Dorries (even though I think she is wrong on most issues) and I think her performance in ‘I’m A Celebrity’ has allowed her to communicate with a younger audience even though it is unwise for MPs to go on these shows. She is also an outspoken but hard-working MP who did get permission to have time off, unlike Galloway who was never in Tower Hamlets. I personally think it says something when Cameron suspends Nadine Dorries even though the Chief Whip at the time allowed her to have the time off, when he refuses to suspend two male MPs, one who was plotting against in the Tory candidate in Corby (when he was the campaign manager) and the other for running Nazi stagdos as well as toasting Hitler (and is also pending criminal investigation in France).

@5. Planeshift: “Except that broadcasters won’t broadcast anything they say unless somebody else is there to give an alternative viewpoint. Even the most basic act of ‘stop and think’ should have told her this.”

Or at a lower level, the production company will not broadcast anything that Dorries says unless it will entertain viewers. At best that would give space to Dorries to say something that upsets a fellow member of the cast, to receive a dead fish in the face as response.

“It’s also delusional beyond belief to think “the only thing that stops the nation agreeing with my views is because not enough people have heard me articulate the case for X”.”

Not it ain’t. The fact that Dorries wishes to argue her case is one of her decent points. I’m going to wander over to other threads to read your arguments that are counter to popular opinion. I may be busy for some time.

Richard (#2) suggests that the voting makes Dorries look fairly safe. I’d say the danger doesn’t come from the other parties, but from a prominent independent running with cross-party support.

Maybe (s)he could wear a white suit…

I can’t bear to watch this terrible programme, but I’m asuming that Dorries didn’t get to expand on her political ideas on the show. Anything like that would have been edited out as not being interesting.
She’s been voted out I hear. Was she any good?
A bit of a damp squib is my guess.
Anyone who goes on that programme goes down in my estimation.

@11. Sam: “Richard (#2) suggests that the voting makes Dorries look fairly safe. I’d say the danger doesn’t come from the other parties, but from a prominent independent running with cross-party support.”

Sane liberals can be elected to Parliament when Liberal Democrats stand aside: cf Richard Taylor MP and Martin Bell MP. And (discreet, cough) advise and assist.

Dorries’s vote is already shot to pieces. There are a lot of 50% of that and 50% of this pieces to examine. Her credibility relies on that she is the MP.

Dorries can lose the election if X candidate who knocks on the door is charming. X candidate has to knock on doors. X requires charming mates.

And you know what? If you wanna win elections, listen to people. And don’t be ashamed to proclaim that you are a liberal.

14. Richard Carey

I doubt if it will do her any lasting damage.

As various people have pointed out many times before, the “would you be more/less likely to vote” questions are pretty much useless. Many people who disapprove of Dorries’s behaviour will claim it makes them less likely to vote for her, even if they are still almost certain to vote for her because they hate the other parties, or if they already despise her and would never have voted for her anyway.

16. Man on Clapham Omnibus

13. Charlieman

‘And you know what? If you wanna win elections, listen to people. And don’t be ashamed to proclaim that you are a liberal.’

Ha Ha Ha very droll… tell them your a liberal.Good one!
While your at it why don’t you tell them you’ve got the clap and you’ve shagged their cat.

Although I pretty much disagree with all her policies I couldn’t help but concede she had a point when she said that if politicians want to be listened to they need to go to where the public is directing it’s attention and not expecting the public to turn its attention to them.

The medium is the message: she chose a medium where the message is conveyed through the language of eating kangaroo anuses.

I wouldn’t vote for her but I think I would be willing to have unnatural sexual intercourse with her, in the jungle, in Australia. Without lubrication I hasten to add. Tasteful.

19. Man on Clapham Omnibus

18. Johhno

That’s what the other Kangaroo said!

I actually felt sorry for her, as I do for Thatcher now.
Pity is venom for politicians.

Non-dom Lord Ashcroft conducted a poll in Mid-Beds? I’m surprised he knows where the constituency is. But I suppose he wants a return on his investments and Dorries is like a loose cannon, who could easily slide over to UKIP.

@16. Man on Clapham Omnibus: “Me: ‘And you know what? If you wanna win elections, listen to people. And don’t be ashamed to proclaim that you are a liberal.’

Ha Ha Ha very droll… tell them your a liberal.Good one!”

A few thoughts about UK electoral politics:

* Outside a few places in Scotland, there are few concentrations of red necks or their equivalents in mainland GB.

* 10% or so of the UK electorate will *only* vote for a (small L) liberal candidate. That is smaller than the proportion who solely back Conservatives or Labourites but is sufficient to support liberalism as a UK political movement.

* Small L liberals are unlikely to vote for a liberal candidate unless s/he tells them about it. If you want those 10% of votes, you have to ask for them.

* Shock horror 1, but voters back candidates with whom they disagree on some points. Voters are less ideological than political geeks.

* Shock horror 2, but voters expect candidates to be honest. The worst thing that you can do is to deny who you are.

Here’s a for instance not from the UK and not victorious, but which demonstrates that voters are unpredictable. In the 2006 election for Governor of Texas, Kinky Friedman, running as country singer, mystery author and Jewish cowboy, won 12% of the vote.

Treat voters with respect. Don’t assume that Daily Mail readers are scum.

19. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Only while we were giving her a good roasting.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    Could Nadine Dorries lose her seat thanks to TV publicity stunts? http://t.co/oTrPFxQm

  2. Jolyon Green

    Sometimes people just make it far too easy for @johnrentoul http://t.co/aID7V8Vf #QTWTAIN

  3. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Could Nadine Dorries lose her seat thanks to TV publicity stunts? http://t.co/T7GKuGTs





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