You will by now have read about Shaun Bailey's somewhat less than convincing performance on the Politics Show. I described Thames Water's representative at that encounter as being a "sharp media operator" - but one of you pointed out to me that there was a reason for that.
As poor Shaun, who in fairness was trying to defend a pretty weak position, struggled .. have a look at who he was up against from his Wikipedia entry. Step forward .. Richard Aylard, or should I say Commander Richard Aylard, Director of Thames Water:
Commander Richard Aylard, CVO Royal Navy, was Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales 1991-1996.
He was born in 1952, and educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Barnet, the University of Reading, where he graduated with a BSc(Hons) in Applied Zoology with Mathematics, and the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth.
Aylard joined the Supply and Secretariat Branch of the Royal Navy in 1972. He served on HMS Shavington, HMS Ark Royal and HMS Fox 1974—1977, and was promoted to Lieutenant 16 November 1975. From 1977 to 1979 he was on the staff of FOSM, and 1979-1981 was Flag Lieutenant to Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic (SACLANT).
He was Captain's Secretary on HMS Invincible 1981-1983, when he received the South Atlantic Medal. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Commander 16 November 1983. In 1984—1985, he was Supply Officer on HMS Brazen, where he also served alongside Prince Andrew. In November 1985 he was appointed Equerry to Diana Princess of Wales, an office he held until 1988. He became a Commander 30 June 1987. From 31 May to 30 September 1988 he was temporary Assistant Private Secretary to the Princess.
He left the Royal Navy in July 1989, and from May 1989 to 1991, was Assistant Private Secretary and Comptroller to the Prince and Princess of Wales. From May 1991 until his retirement in 1996, he was Private Secretary and Treasurer to the Prince of Wales. He remains an Extra Equerry to the Prince of Wales.
He was made a CVO in 1994. From 1996 to 2002, he was a consultant on environmental issues, and public affairs. Since 2002 he has worked for Thames Water and is currently their Director.
So in other words they put Shaun in with someone who'se been eating people like him for breakfast for the last 30 years! Shouldn't the Tories be looking after their candidates!?