Caroline Righton is not having a great week. Seven days after the former tv-am presenter and (at the time of writing) Tory PPC for St Austell & Newquay was invited to apologise for what still looks very much like a smear campaign, her silence on the subject remains defiantly unbroken. In between, Twitter and ‘the blogosphere’ have been feeding freely on the Tories’ ‘talk to the hand’ strategy.
What may well have been a basic mistake by Ms Righton and her election team has resulted in something of an awkward dilemma for David Cameron. He has received an official approach inviting him to tease out a simple apology, thereby leaving him with a choice of either backing his candidate – despite her campaign’s highly dubious smear tactics – or hanging her out to dry seven months away from a General Election. And all of this from an incident which could have been put to bed a week ago, but has instead snowballed into a serious fly in the Cornish Tory ointment.
This is somewhat surprising considering her media background and her presumably strong instincts for managing a story. Indeed, a glance at her Wikipedia entry demonstrates that, very recently, ‘her people’ have shown a very keen interest in trying to control what is written about her. “Caroline Righton does not want to have a Wikipedia page,” asserts an anonymous minion on the discussion page, only to be told (hilariously): “It’s not up to her”.
So, given the obvious control-freak element within the campaign team, why are they so reluctant to deal with this? What is so difficult for them? A simple apology might just undo some of the self-inflicted damage – but no one should hold their breath.
What others have written:
‘A Lanson Boy’ – The Curious Case of Candidate D**kh**d
Mark Pack: Caroline Righton: Will David Cameron Reply?
Andrew Reeves’ Running Blog
Matt Davies: Conservative Smear Campaign Or Just Stupidity
Norfolk Blogger: Caroline Righton – Hypocrite, Liar or Fool?
Chris Lovell: Caroline Righton Still Refuses To Apologise