The Tory candidate who has dropped his Quadruple barrelled name as part of Cameron’s Detoffication Plan!

Would you change your quadruple barrelled name just to fit in? It certainly makes the posters that much easier...

Now plain Richard Drax you might think he is just a Bond villain with an exciting surname, but the Conservative candidate for Dorset South is really known as Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax.

Plunkett-Ernle-Erl-Drax, 51, is an Old Etonian like Mr Cameron and lives in a small Elizabethan pad set in just 7,000 acres.

The descendant of Admiral The Honourable Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfurly Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax (1880-1967), says that he uses Richard Drax in real life but says:

“I come from a very privileged background but it shouldn’t make any difference. It is what is in your soul.”

I find it difficult to disagree that he comes from a privileged background and by all accounts Richard’s ancestor from whom he has earned such an extreme name was in fact the person upon which some of the more outlandish P.G. Wodehouse names are based.

So, if you want Bertie Wooster as your MP in Dorset this may be the man for the job!

I must confess I am a little disappointed that just ‘Drax’ will appear on the posters in Dorset South, they would be a true collectors item for the smallness of the font on the billboards, but I suspect the ballot papers will still need to be made a little larger to accomodate his official name.

The Daily Mirror has a bit more here.


18 out of 32 in the Shadow Cabinet would benefit from the Tory Inheritance Tax cut

18 of the 32 Conservative frontbenchers would benefit from their own Inheritance Tax cut - truly representative of Britain...

It may not come as a shock to many to discover that the Conservative front bench will, on the whole, benefit from the cut in Inheritance Tax, but the fact that they will benefit to the potential tune of £7 Million will.

According to today’s Daily Mirror calculations, ‘Mr Cameron and shadow chancellor George Osborne are among nine top Tories whose families stand to gain the maximum £520,000 from the change, because their wealth is estimated at more than £2 million.

George Osborne’s plan to cut Inheritance Tax to help the wealthiest people in Britain is a sign that if the Tories get back in to power they will not, as they claim, ‘be in it together’ with the rest of us.  They, and their rich chums, will give themselves such a large financial boost that they won’t need the outside jobs they have at the moment.

Mr Osborne has claimed that the cuts will benefit people who live in former council houses, and once again the Tories are proven to be completely out of touch with reality.

‘John, it’s Mark Oaten on the phone saying someone’s been mucking about with his face!’- The Press Officer’s Guide Lesson 2 – Dealing with a Crisis

Mark Oaten MP

One of our candidates had cut and pasted his own face onto Mark Oaten's - The Daily Mirror came on the phone!

As a press officer you sometimes get calls that need immediate and urgent action. I was in someone else’s office when a call came through saying that I urgently needed to speak to Mark Oaten, the MP for Winchester.

It was apparently an issue about some photographs that were going to be published in The Mirror the next day, and I needed to give them a comment, as Mark was very keen to say nothing himself.

It transpired that a Liberal Democrat council candidate, in my region, had been a little bit over-enthusiastic with Photoshop and messed around with a photograph of Mark.

The photograph, of Mark Oaten, the winner of the Winchester By-election, arriving in Parliament, with leader Paddy Ashdown and all the other Lib Dem MPs was quite well known, and available.

To improve his electoral chances the Lib Dem candidate had super-imposed his own face on that of Mark Oaten’s body and passed it off, on his leaflets, as if it was genuine.

This, as you can imagine, was quite a tricky situation, and one that Mark was keen for an apparatchik, like me, to deal with.

The Daily Mirror came on the phone, ‘so John what do you make of this fraud, perpetrated by your candidate?’

After a moment’s pause, ‘Well, I think it’s very important that all candidates keep their heads during this election campaign!’

So happy was the journalist with his quote, that I merited the description, ‘Wag, John Ault,’ in his piece!

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

Carers allowance should Mirror the money that carers save the nation

Carers save the nation £87 Billion per year - we should show them the respect they deserve

Carers save the nation £87 Billion per year - we should show them the respect they deserve

£53.10 per week is what a carer gets paid by the state for the full-time work they do for the member (or members) of their family they are looking after.

This, based on a full-time equivalent, means they get £1.52 per hour. If they are in receipt of the state pension, £95.25 (for a single person), or are a student, or have an outside income over £95/week they don’t qualify at all for the carer’s allowance.

With an ageing population we need to be more and more aware of the work that carers do which actually saves the country money. 

Carers UK, the charity that champions the cause of the UKs 6 million carers, has estimated that the work carers do in their own homes would cost the nation £87 Billion/year, if the state had to provide it.  If the carer was unable to provide the care, through whatever reason, this is what would have to happen.

I, for one, could not survive on this paltry amount and feel; although its relatively recent introduction is a welcome lifeline to carers, it really is a benefit that ought to fairly represent the work and commitment that carers give.

Some people tell me that this is just looking after their family and that carers should do it for nothing. However, if I found myself in the position of having to care for a close family member, ignoring the issue of whether I could actually cope with it or not, I would have to abandon my career, and my pay, to care.  As a consequence I would lose my own future to care. The commitment is intellectual, emotional as well as financial.

The next election will increasingly be fought in the environment of social care being a key election battleground.  Liberal Democrats need to make sure that they put their ideas about, and support for, carers at the centre of their manifesto to improve the lives of this often forgotten group in society.

That’s why I will be helping to organise a Carers Rights Day event in my area later in the year others should too.

(I was delighted to see that the Daily Mirror is running a campaign to raise the profile of the work of carers.)