Perhaps it’s right that the Conservative Party should have a hapless fool like Oliver Dowden as its chairman – he reflects the state of the organisation he runs.
Dowden’s latest blunder is his donation of a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson to a Hertfordshire charity, for inclusion in a fundraising auction.
That organisation cannily listed the item as follows [boldings mine]: “A bottle of champagne signed by Boris. Hugely valuable as a souvenir of partygate and the examplary behaviour and morality of our dear leader!”
See for yourself:
A spokesperson for Dowden said, “this item was donated in good faith several months ago” and “this is obviously not his view” after the auction leaflet was shared on Twitter.
Of course it doesn’t matter if the bottle was donated several months ago – the Covid-19 lockdown-busting Downing Street parties had been taking place under the prime minister’s nose since April or May 2020.
Whether Dowden knew about it at the time he passed on the bottle is more debatable. But we have video evidence of Allegra Stratton laughing and joking about a party that took place on December 18, 2020 (and for which 50 people have just been fined), that was taken four days later.
If Dowden didn’t know about this, then he’s clearly unfit to do his job, and nor was his immediate forerunner, Amanda Milling, if she did not have that information to pass on to him.
Then there’s the question of Dowden’s reaction to the way the lot was accepted by the charity:
The Conservatives have been in touch to say that Dowden didn't write the caption, that the charity did, and he was very angry about it. Curiously, according to those who were in the room, the lot was greeted with hilarity and at no point did Mr Dowden intervene. Happy to clarify. https://t.co/NQWBE7pds9
— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) May 13, 2022
Probably more damning still is this observation:
The issue isn’t that Oliver Dowden didn’t write the description for the bottle of champagne, but that none of us would have been surprised if he had.
— Supertanskiii (@supertanskiii) May 13, 2022
So we have a Tory chairman who should have known about the Partygate allegations at the time, donating a bottle of champagne signed by Boris Johnson that he should have known – or should have been advised – could cause embarrassment to his party and government, to a charity that greeted the donation with hilarity (indicating that this happened after the scandal became public knowledge); he apparently did nothing to counter that response at the time.
And now he’s complaining about the way it has been marketed in a fundraising auction.
This man is too stupid for words.
If the Tory leadership – Johnson – had any teeth, Dowden would be heading for the backbenches with his tail between his legs, there to stay for the rest of what we should expect to be a mercifully short career.
But it is a sign of the weakness of Johnson’s team that this embarrassment to the name of Conservatism will probably go unpunished in any way.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:
Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.
1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.
2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical
3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/
Join the Vox Political Facebook page.
4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com
And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!
If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!
Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.
The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:
The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here: