Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Heffer in a Huff

This morning I met Simon Heffer. Boris may have encouraged him to stand for parliament but I was not impressed.

I left home at 5.30am and joined local Conservative Council candidates at Chelmsford station by 7am to hand out leaflets at one of the main commuter stations into London. We were there one evening last week meeting people on their way home.

This morning's campaigning was well received - over half the people we approached took our leaflet, I had to pop back to the car to reload. I was even told more than once that as we were the only party they had seen they would vote for us.

By around 8.30am the mass of hard working commuters had gone on their and the team went for a coffee and bacon sarnie. NO Expenses.

So it was well outside normal commuting hours when a 4x4 rolled up and Mr Heffer huffed out of the passenger seat.

I have a friend (just one, admittedly) who hangs onto every word Heffer writes. I wanted to say hello. I bounced up to the car, with a smile and held out my hand - "Mr Heffer, I am Vicky Ford, one of the Conservative Candidates in Thursday's election. I live near Saffron Walden" (that's the seat he thinks he wants to win from the Tories in the next general election). I offered him our LOCAL election leaflet. Mr Heffer stared at me in dismay - or was it disgust? He pushed aside the leaflet, announced he would be voting elsewhere and marched off.

He could certainly improve his people skills! Dare I say it, he could learn a lot from Tony Juniper of the Green Party (and sometime adviser to the Conservatives), with whom I shared a Platform at the Cambridge Hustings last night.

Politics is team work - from the very local to the national and international level This evening at Shenfield Station as well as questions on EU "In or OUT" - I was asked questions about how to deal with harassment on Brentwood High Street, local planning issues and the head of the local swimming club wanted to discuss the issues with "free swimming" policy. One local councillor discussed what he is doing with the police on the harassment issue (they left happy), the swimmer had an in depth chat with a board member from the pool (ditto happy) and we all had a heated debate about the planning issue. OK sometimes our team is not perfect, but when it works it is a million times better than a huffy independent.


Backbench Warrior said...

I thought it was fairly well known that Heffer is currently fairly disgusted at the state of the Conservative Party (particuarly on the issue of the EU) and votes UKIP? He announced his voting intentions at least, in The Telegraph a few days back.

Anonymous said...

Yes-not surprised he didn't take your offering with open hand. And if he is how he writes I'm not exactly surprised he didn't stop to pass the time of day. Good on you for having a go, though!

Anonymous said...


Curmudgeon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Good on you for quitting banking.

I'll be voting UKIP like the rest of my family. I see no reason to vote Tory. Do you think it is easy / hard to get selected to be a Euro MP? And how much of our legislation do you think it is acceptable to come from an undemocratic EU: 10-20-30-40-50-60-70-80-90 or 100%?

Anonymous said...

Why on earth do you think the likes of a clever man like Simon heffer would want to get into any kind of a conversation with a dippy Tory at 8.30 am , hes worked out exactly whats wrong with the party and saw it personified in front of him .

Philipa said...

Why on earth do you think the likes of a clever man like Simon heffer would want to get into any kind of a conversation with a dippy Tory at 8.30 am

Good manners? It's politic? He's not an arrogant stuck-up arse? Oh he is, well, anyway..

The truly great thing about Boris, apart from his intellect and sound politics, is that he makes time for everyone. And I mean everyone.

I've written to a few MP's, quietly checking them out, and have been surprised at those who don't want to know anyone they can't make political capital out of - if your vote isn't up for grabs they don't want to know you. Not Boris. He's not proud (and pride is a sin) he'll talk to anyone if you have something to say. This was when he was an MP. Of course now he's Mayor he's so very busy, but he still makes time when he can. Even for those who don't live in London.

Boris Johnson is the real deal.

Simon Heffer can't compete - if all the pompous ageing journos went into politics where would we be? Let's be discerning here..

Good post, Vicky.

Anonymous said...

People should really bother to read Boris on this subject he clearly has a great deal of respect for Simon Heffer ( that we could have the same for our MPs and MEPs )
He states " he actually believes things and believes with a volcanic sincerity " would that we could say this about those pary political animals who are up for our votes tomorrow.
All Vicky Ford and the rest of the Conservative , Lib Dem , Labour lot want is to be part of the corrupt , inept, discredited , power mad , useless, boring gravy train that is the EU .
Strangely enough this was an idea that Adolf Hitler was all for.

Gongdonkey said...

Please, don't think it was you. Heffer is a "Legend in His Own Mind".
When the Barclay Brothers bought the Telegraph and replaced the decent Telegraph staffers with second eleven Mail staffers thereby becoming the first broadsheet tabloid since the Daily Herald, they forgot about him, unless they saw a "Mail" type ranter.
He's a dickhead - all mouth and trousers.
(iain - sorry ! You can delete this, given that the Brothers Barclay are more than a tadge litigious ( and vindictive by ordinary standards !) but if you do, leave this last paragraph up - everyone will guess .

Philipa said...

Anon - I do bother to read Boris. Knowing that a man 'believes things' doesn't stop him being incredibly rude and bad at public relations. Boris is engaging, funny and very clever and is himself a politician. There is nothing in your quote that prevents me from believing that Heffer thoroughly believes in himself. Or as Gongdonkey' puts it so beautifully "Heffer is a "Legend in His Own Mind". "

If you know what motivates Vicky Ford then please state your name and reasons, otherwise that is just a baseless slur.

I also suggest you read up on Hitler. He was not for a "corrupt , inept, discredited , power mad , useless" European Union. Quite the contrary.

tallboy said...

Hmmm lets think about UKIP shall we anon:

corrupt-Tom Wise and the other one
inept-can't spell Britain on their own campaign literature
discredited Kilroy-silk, Farage's expenses need I say more
power mad Have you met Nigel Farage?
useless ditto,

I think you've summed it all up!

tallboy said...

PS good luck today Vicky

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer has no manners and the people skill's of Gordon Brown.

If I lived in Saffron Walden, I wouldn't vote for him if he stood against Sir Alan Haslehurst.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't vote for him if he stood against coco the clown!

Emma said...

Congratulations on becoming a MEP - now the hard work will begin

Anonymous said...

I don't blame him, you are really irritating though when you bounce up like a demented Tigger.

John M Ward said...

Hmm. I notice a number of anonymous negative comments against you here, Vicky. I wonder what that means.

based on my experiences elsewhere, it suggests one or more Labour trolls with nothing useful to contribute, which is the norm for Labour as we all know (most recently electors in Norwich North were reminded of that fact).

Heffer is one of those relatively rare animals — the right-winger with a chip on his shoulder (the Left have that almost universally). I have found it best to ignore him as far as possible, as he is hardly doing the country any favours by his attitude.