David Cameron is under pressure to fire George Osborne as the Tories’ political strategist, with his MPs demanding the Prime Minister replace him with Ashleigh and Pudsey, the dancing dog act which triumphed last night in the live final of the ITV1 show Britain’s Got Talent.
Senior party figures are demanding that Pudsey’s owner, Ashleigh Butler, described as a “genius dog dancing strategist”, be appointed immediately amid warnings of a “year of turbulence” from MPs who believe they are led by a Westminster clique that has never won an election – unlike the teenager and pooch act.
Experts and pundits say it is the broad appeal of the dancing dog act to voters of all parties that has electrified the Tory ranks. As a result, the talent show winning act, which involves the border collie jumping, dancing on his hind legs, and weaving between his owner’s knees, has now become a totem for Tory dissatisfaction with the party leadership.
Critics claim Mr Osborne’s day-to-day responsibilities as Chancellor and a member of the coalition’s decision-making “quad” of ministers means he is not able to “take a step back and think through strategy properly” and unlike Pudsey’s 17-year-old owner Ashleigh Butler, would be unable to train a pet to jump and dance in elaborate routines – performed to the Mission Impossible and Flintstones themes – in just a few weeks.
As general-election campaign chief, Mr Osborne is increasingly blamed for the Tories’ failure to secure an overall majority in 2010, unlike the dog and his owner, who managed to secure a majority of the UK electorate’s votes last night.
A Tory minister said:
If we want to win the next election, we want Ashleigh and Pudsey to be in charge of our campaign. Pudsey is a first-class crowd pleaser, and to be blunt, we missed that in 2010. Let’s face it, there’s not a lot cute or appealing about Osborne and Cameron, even if they agreed to roll on their backs and jump between each other’s legs wearing sequinned dresses and sparkly leggings.
Tory MPs yesterday have made direct appeals to Ashleigh to take charge of their beleaguered campaign machine. Greg Hands, a former ministerial aide to Mr Osborne, wrote on Twitter:
Great win for Pudsey. Another thought – why wasn’t the brilliant Ashleigh Butler Tory campaign manager in 2010?
Robert Halfon, a Tory MP, said:
Labour are second to none in their Leninist discipline. We need to be as ruthless as them. Pudsey is brilliant at that. What we need are bare-knuckle dancers – and curley haired cross-breed collies with nice-looking teenage owners to help us win.
Pudsey’s owner, Ashleigh, refused to rule out the possibility of her dog being a future Tory Party strategist. Asked by the BBC why Pudsey managed to buck the trend and get people to vote when most politicians are unable to inspire interest in elections, she said:
Because Pudsey has charisma, unlike most politicians and because he can dance on his hind legs while wiggling his bottom and flipping his floppy, curly-haired ears, something most politicians are unable or unwilling to do. With the exception of Boris Johnson of course.
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