The Chairman of the Bow Group says the party no longer stands for anything at allby Benjamin Harris-Quinney / July 27, 2018 / Leave a comment
When the Chequers White Paper was announced a long standing Conservative Party member said to me: “I sat through modernisation, I sat through gay marriage, I sat through council tax rises and a decline in services, I sat through a doubling of the debt, social care tax and even a proposed rise in general taxation, but if the Conservative Party makes a fudge of Brexit I cannot think of a single purpose it continues to serve.”
Support for the Conservative Party is a mile wide and a millimetre deep, and so every stutter-step it makes plunges it into an existential crisis which is now its natural state.
Brexit was a golden opportunity to reconnect with a genuine movement. Despite the referendum campaign being dominated by senior Conservative cabinet ministers predicting a Leave vote would cause the collapse of civilisation, to his minor credit a defeated David Cameron acknowledged that a Brexit result needed a Brexit government. Instead what we got was a Macbethian piece of theatre in place of a leadership election, after which rank and file members were presented by default with another establishment Remain-supporting leader, and a 75 per cent Remain-supporting cabinet.
It is the product of a bizarre status-quo in which the Conservative “modernisation” project has delivered 25 years of electoral failure, but it’s adherents continue to inexplicably and unaccountably hold sway within the party, and call for more of the same. Reminiscent of the febrile theoretical socialist glaring at history’s condemnation screaming “but that wasn’t real socialism.”
The best result modernisation produced was a 12 seat majority for 20 months in nearly three decades. By contrast Margaret Thatcher held a majority of 144 at the height of her powers, and still remains, 40 years after her election as prime minister, the rallying example of leadership for Conservatives.
In lieu of any governing set of principles the Conservative Party has taken to hoovering up any rag-tag collection of policies considered en vogue, particularly if it feels they will attract the youth vote. The resultant perceived need to rid all vestiges of public life of the “pale, male, and stale” (the acceptable modern face of racism and sexism) has only seen a further bounce in support…