Last night, at a suspiciously late hour, the Conservatives chose Jackie Whiteley as their candidate for the forthcoming Bradford West by-election. Two years ago, Ms Whiteley became their spokesman for Rotherham.
As is often the case in these things, and again it's something I know about, the chosen candidate is quoted as being this, that and the other about their ward, division, constituency or what-have-you. In my past experience, these quotes come from a Big Book of Leaflet Copy. Rarely do candidates genuinely speak in that peculiar mix of tourist board and local paper editorial.
Ms Whiteley is quoted from prior to the 2010 election saying:
“It is a real privilege to be the Parliamentary Spokesman for Rotherham. Having previously campaigned in the seat at the general election and as the owner of a small business, I have got a real understanding of the issues and concerns of Rotherham’s residents and local businesses. I will continue to campaign passionately for jobs, investment and a brighter future for the community.”
Ms Whiteley is quoted from last night saying:
"It is a great honour and extremely exciting to be the Conservative candidate for Bradford West. As the owner of a small business and local employer, I have got a real understanding of the issues and concerns of Bradford’s residents and local businesses. I will continue to campaign passionately for jobs, investment and a brighter future for the local community."
Memo to Conservative candidate HQ - or to any Party for that matter. The Internet remembers. It holds on to facts, faces, quotes and scandals. It also remembers that a candidate sincere about Rotherham can be sincere about Bradford. If you wanted Jackie Whiteley to be passionate about jobs, investment and a brighter future, you have succeeded only in making her sound computer generated and insincere.