Did Broadland Conservatives actually Google Nick Conrad?
PUBLISHED: 12:09 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 09:12 09 November 2019
Me: “Ok Google, tell me about BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad.”
Google: "Telling you about BBC Radio Norfolk presenter Nick Conrad: He presents the breakfast show; he is often compared to the comedy character Alan Partridge; he does a lot of good work for charity; he once said women should 'keep their knickers on' to avoid rape."
Does anything stand out? To the vast majority of us, the last thing is - no offence to Tories - a red flag.
Which makes me wonder whether any of the members of Broadland Conservative Association has ever used Google or even heard of the internet.
In the modern world, when you get job applications it makes sense to run the names through Google to make sure there's no history of criminality or controversy. Why wouldn't you?
Who would you choose from the following three?
1 - Alicia Kearns, a counter-terrorism expert who led government interventions in Syria and Iraq.
2 - Jerome Mayhew, the son of former cabinet minister Lord Mayhew and managing director of outdoor adventure company Go Ape.
3 - Nick Conrad, a local radio presenter who once said women should "keep their knickers on" to avoid rape.
I'm doing Mr Conrad a serious disservice by summarising his life in such a skewed way, as he has many fine qualities. But I hope you'll forgive me, as I'm using hyperbole to make a point.
It beggar's belief that the Broadland Tories could have chosen Mr Conrad ahead of the other two.
They have the good fortune to be presiding over the safest of safe seats, defending a 15,000 majority. They'd be hard pressed to be ousted - it could even be close if they pinned a blue rosette to a large turnip.
In football, when a team is protecting a decent lead, the players take the ball to the corner and waste as much time as possible. They play safe.
It's boring, but the Conservatives don't have a large Commons majority that enables them to try backheels or a rabona in their own penalty area.
That's what they were doing when they selected Mr Conrad.
Why would you choose a candidate who is instantly offensive to half of the electors?
It's all very well people saying that Mr Conrad made some ill-judged comments five years ago, but that he has apologised and should be allowed to move on.
However, this is the era of #MeToo, of growing awareness of sexual harassment, of increasing acceptance and tolerance. The past is catching up with people - and sometimes that past is not about crimes, it's about comments.
I have no intention of ever standing as an MP. It's partly because I do not support any of the current parties, but also because a trawl through my internet and social media history would soon turn up a litany of offensive and near-the-knuckle comments.
The Conservative Party faces a constant fight to shake off its lingering reputation for sexual impropriety and outdated attitudes to women.
Having Boris Johnson at the helm does not help, though he somehow continues to survive, despite outscoring Mr Conrad by about 100 to one in the offensive comments stakes.
I guess the big difference is that Mr Conrad was easy to offload. In the grand scheme, he doesn't matter - the Conservatives will still back themselves to hold Broadland.
His departure enables Conservative Central Office to geT the message out that they are listening to the public, and that they will not tolerate comments such as those made in 2014 by Mr Conrad.
Mr Johnson - with a straight face - condemns Mr Conrad's comments, Mr Conrad steps aside (ie gets a big shove from Tory top brass), and the circus moves on.
It's hypocrisy, balderdash and bunkum - but that's politics.
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