Week 8: Prat – Maria Hutchings

by Jackie_South on February 24, 2013

prat_iconThis week, our award for the greatest prat of the last seven days goes to Maria Hutchings, the Conservative candidate in the Eastleigh by-election

Eastleigh should have been an easy election for the Conservatives, given the fall from grace of Chris Huhne that precipitated it, the Lib Dems’ national poor polling and the current news about Lord Rennard.  And yet, the bookies think that it will be Lib Dem Mike Thornton that will be successful on Thursday night.

Part of that is down to the national failings of the Tories, including losing our AAA rating, and Hutchings cannot be blamed for those.  But if she loses, some blame will certainly attach itself to her, as a disastrous candidate.

She has told us that none of the local schools are good enough for her son if he is to become a surgeon (although this of course is not too dissimilar to Clegg’s justification of considering private education) and has a history of off-the-wall rabid-right utterings on the EU and same-sex marriage.

To cap it all, she did not turn up to the BBC hustings on Thursday, unlike the candidates of the other main parties.

Her excuse – that she had to meet David Cameron who was turning up in the constituency – was poor on two counts.  Firstly, the idea that missing the best opportunity to talk directly to her potential voters was less important than hobnobbing with the PM comes across as condescending to the voters.  Second, his visit commenced after the hustings, and she would have had time to get from one place to the other.

Of course, there is speculation that she was told not to go by Central Office.  But if true, this too demonstrates her prattishness – being kept away because she is regarded as too likely to say something unbelievably stupid if she turned up.

Worryingly, she could of course still get elected on Thursday, particularly if Clegg’s apparent dishonesty about Rennard develops into a narrative to add to Huhne’s dishonesty about his driving.  But if not, it will be Hutchings’ prattishness that will have cost the Tories an open goal.

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