This entry was posted on
Thursday, February 8th, 2007 at
2:07 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.
Two days ago I highlighted the fact that Nick Boles has been caught using Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a personal website with a clear party-political purpose and asked you lot to get in touch with him about that… and since then, nobody has heard a damn thing back from the man.
One would think that if the defence that has so far only been made anonymously (quite likely by someone using the Policy Exchange web server) is solid – i.e. that Nick Boles is only guilty of “(using) his office computer to register a website” – then Nick Boles would have responded with this defence himself… but he hasn’t.
There are three possible reasons for this lack of response (and any that do apply may overlap):
1. Nick Boles does not regard this particular use of Policy Exchange facilities (to pursue a personal and party-political objective) to be relevant.
2. Nick Boles does not regard the appearance of the related evidence on a website to be damaging (i.e. like his uppers in the Conservative Party, he doesn’t see the point in addressing any given matter until there’s a significant level of noise in the mainstream media).
3. Nick Boles has used the resources of Policy Exchange to do more than just register a few domain names.
Now, dear reader, I want you for a moment to imagine that you are the Mayor of London:
You are in charge of a great deal of public money, and can direct, influence or develop many resources that are paid for out of the public purse.
Your job description is pretty straightforward; acting in the public interest, you have to manage said money and resources in an effective/efficient manner for the duration of your term.
The ‘for the duration of your term’ bit is far more important than it looks; you not only have to act properly, you must fastidiously avoid any appearance of impropriety… as the latter could be your undoing at the hands of one rival or another, thereby stuffing up the management side of things (while you scramble to keep your job and/or valuable time and money is wasted finding a permanent replacement).
That is why, if you were running for Mayor, and you were ‘only’ guilty of using your office computer to register a domain name for a personal website with a clear party-political purpose, you would no longer enjoy my support.
Now, enough about you… let’s get back to Nicholas “Call me Nick!” Boles.
I’d much rather be out playing in the snow, but I think that now is a good time for me to finally write my email to Nick, which appears in full below:
From: Tim Ireland
To: Nick Boles
CC: Iain Dale; Jeffrey Archer; David Cameron
I’m concerned that your silence on the matter of using Policy Exchange as an administrative base for a few domain names may signal that this is not the first, and not the worst, of such ‘oversights’.
This concern is twofold:
– If this matter is not indicative of your general conduct, then – in my opinion – your remaining silent on the matter does you more harm than good.
– If this matter *is* indicative of your general conduct, then I should warn you that I’m a curious little dickens and I will quite likely be digging for more, and I won’t be alone… especially after about 8pm last night, when results like this started going live:
In the highly unlikely event that the latter is the case, I wish to offer you some advice, using a hypothetical situation for purposes of education and illumination:
If, for example, you have been using Policy Exchange staff, premises and/or facilities to arrange and/or conduct meetings purely for the purposes of research for your intended candidacy, I advise that you:
1. Stop now.
2. Erase any record of related correspondence and/or meetings before a formal investigation begins:
a) For email, you will first need to sweeten your IT team with an afternoon jolly or a similar incentive; only well-motivated individuals with great technical expertise (and perhaps the occasional unfortunate ‘first day’ intern) have the rare ability to erase data so completely that no trace remains.
b) Appointment diaries may be slightly trickier; if you feel you need to create a new set of diaries to replace the old ones, I suggest that you approach Jeffrey Archer for some thoughts on pitfalls to avoid. Jeffrey may also have some advice on the level of scrutiny one can expect when running for Mayor of London.
c) Of course, this would still leave you with the small problem of correspondence that has left your network, and the possibly-quite-inconvenient recollections of individuals who have received such correspondence. If this looks like it might become an issue, you may want to contact the Russian embassy in London for further assistance.
I’ll let you know if anyone gets back to me. If you like, you can chip in yourself by clicking here. Cheers all.
UPDATE (21 Feb) – Bloggerheads – Nick Boles steps down! (Nothin’ to do with me, Guv’nor…)