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Wednesday, March 16, 2005 

Anne Milton's latest pamphlet

[SPECIAL UPDATE (Jan 2007) - Click here to find out what Michael Chambers has been up to since this first outing.]

There was something that caught my eye on the latest Anne Milton pamphlet to drop through my door. It all began with the back page featuring real-genuine-on-the-spot-people-on-the-street giving their opinions and showing that Anne Milton is the talk of the town and beloved by all. But the subject of one of these vox-pops also appears on the front page in a group shot of local Tory councillors.

They may very well have collared an ordinary member of the public on the street for a vox-pop and then coaxed her into the group shot. I admit that this is possible. But it was enough to make me curious about some other faces on the back page.

I began with 'Mike', who says: "Fun, enthusiastic and a real fighter for young and old. Anne's a winner."

The only problem is that 'Mike' bears an uncanny resemblance to Mike Chambers, who describes himself here as "Chairman of The Conservative Society" (for the University of Surrey, presumably) and a "Tory party activist"...

This isn't the only discussion board that Mike Chambers has been active on, BTW. Here's Mike Chambers singing the praises of Anne Milton and here he is slagging off Lib-Dem MP Sue Doughty.

Here he is getting a plug on the Guildford Conservatives website, and here he is again on a decision to "establish a Guildford branch of Conservative Future – the wing of the Conservative party for 18-30s" (this same page also announces an exciting future event - Comedy Night with Jim Davidson!)

The photo above was sourced from this photo gallery at the University of Surrey Conservative Society website, where you can see Mike Chambers meeting Anne Milton and meeting Jeffrey Archer.

If the two Mikes are one and the same, then:

1. Yes, he's local
2. Yes, he's welcome to his opinion
3. He's hardly your typical man on the street, now is he?

So, that's one. Before I dig any deeper, let's begin with that and ask Anne Milton straight out...

To: anne AT annemilton DOT com
From: Tim Ireland

Dear Anne,

I've just received a copy of your latest pamphlet. On the back are some vox-pops that appear to be from ordinary members of the public, but 'Mike' looks an awful lot like Mike Chambers, who is a self-proclaimed Tory party activist and - as far as I can tell - Chairman of The Conservative Society for the University of Surrey.

1. Are the two Mikes one and the same person?
2. Who else on this back page is closely tied to a Conservative organisation and/or your campaign?

Before you answer by promising to investigate, please remember that you promised to investigate an unpleasant call I received recently, but failed to reveal or 'discover' that the call came from a Tory Party call centre.

Tim Ireland

UPDATE (2:00pm) - I emailed Mike Chambers about it, too. At his Learning & Skills Council email address. And since then, someone using this Learning & Skills Council IP address has visited this page and refreshed it quite a few times. Perhaps Mike is waiting to see if there's an answer from Anne. But an answer from him would do just as well. Mike, I know you're probably reading this... would you care to confirm or deny?

UPDATE (5:30pm) - Well, this pretty much nails it for me... I popped into the Univeristy of Surrey discussion board linked above and asked some regulars if this was the same Mike they knew and loved. There was some confusion at first, because the Mike in Anne Milton's pamphlet does look like Mike Chambers... only much younger. But I'm now convinced that it is him. The clincher (apart from the responses on this board and two private confirmations by email) was the response from 'maxski', who not only knows Mike, but is involved in some of his Tory activities. His response wasn't 'yes' or 'no', but "Haven't you got anything better to do???"

(BTW, my answer to that question is; "304 days, 17 hours, 44 minutes and 54 seconds"...)

UPDATE (7:00pm) - We now have confirmation direct from Anne Milton that it is Mike Chambers. Her position can easily be summed up as 'So what if it is?', as the pamphlet says "What do local people think about Anne Milton?" and being a Tory party activist does not stop someone from being a local person. Technically. I personally hold a different view. The pamphlet is designed to suggest that these are normal work-a-day people who have nice things to say about Anne as she is 'the talk of the town', when in reality, an unknown number of them are closely associated with her party and/or campaign. Anne has promised to get back to me with details of the other vox-pops. Updates to follow.

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I do hope your penning a weekly letter to the Guildford Times. Local papers will generally print anything (not that this isn't worth printing) on their letters pages.

They'll be slower to turn it into proper editorial. Try cultivating a more junior hack rather than the editor.
(sorry it rendered the HTML weirdly first time: those links: http://www.surreyad.co.uk/feedbackemaileditor
http://www.surreyad.co.uk/contact )

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Not a bad idea... but the last person who dared to pen a letter in the local paper that was critical of Anne Milton ended up with a Tory rep on their doorstep wanting to 'discuss the matter'.

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Reading this afresh, I feel I should point out that this unexpected appearance wasn't menacing... just annoying.

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Mike Chambers curiously has a very close resemblance to the original Alfred E. Neumann of MAD magazine ("What, me worry ?") Are They related ? I think we should be told; it was bad enough having Anne Milton looking like Julian Cleary having a bad-hair day !

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I think you *may* be onto something there:

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What eveyone has failed to notice is that the third person in the picture of Anne with Mike Chambers is in fact Howard Flight ex-MP.

Perhaps he an Anne were talking about secret cuts?

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Dear Tim,

I also received the Talk of the town through my letterbox. Agree that it is completely vacuous and I also wonder why Ms Milton continues to claim she is a nurse when she is clearly working as a consultant - this is duplicitous and a drain on the public services.

A friend of mine (former Parish Councillor in Ash) has also revealed the identity of one of Anne's local residents.

Suggest readers visit: http://www.ashpcsurrey.gov.uk/parish_cllrs.htm

and scroll to the bottom

clairejenkins(at)registerednurses (dotcom)

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Mike H is right about the person between Dipstick and Chambers being now-famous Howard Flight MP (?). I wonder what he was doing in Guildford, which is quite some way from Arundel. Was he bankrolling Dipstick, perhaps - his personal wealth is legendary?

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Dear Tim,

What is your problem? Why can't you just admit that your real agenda is an anti-Tory campaign and drop this personal attack on Anne Milton?

Who on earth are you to declare that being a nurse and a mother at the same time is unimpressive? This is a woman who has worked hard for her community for very little monetary reward, for a quarter of a century! I don't see that as something to be sniffed at and I'd like to see you try and manage that as well as a family.

As for failing to look into your petty complaint over somebody elses phone manner, I'm not surprised it wasn't followed up. Do you not think that there were more important things for her and her office to be doing than to look into who was rude to you (God forbid!) when it is plainly obvious that you were probably the instigator of bad feeling (why would they be rude to you when they're looking for your vote??)

You cannot possibly start accusing her of not delivering her promise to try and stop the guildford Casino when she's been an MP for less than 24 hours! I think you have grossly overreacted towards Anne Milton, stop treating her like someone we should all be suspicious of and realise that she is going to be one of the best MPs this area has had for a while.

Congratulations Anne!

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Try a few facts next time.


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I just think you need to put your energies into a more worthy cause instead of battering a brilliant and inspirational woman. Stop picking at straws about who was in what photo and why. Even if those people hadn't been members of the Conservative Party, they would have been supporters of Anne Milton. Name me an MP who would put bad comments about themselves on an election campaign pamphlet! Also, stop spending so much time in front of the computer, it can't be good for you!

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    Hi. I'm Tim. I live in Guildford. I've built a few political weblogs here and there. If you're wondering why I decided to start this particular blog, click here.


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