This month, we contextualise the Tory crisis by looking at the bigger picture and taking the longer viewby Tom Clark / June 20, 2018 / Leave a comment
Britain is gripped by the theatre of the absurd. The dialogue is rife with Alice in Wonderland arguments about the meaning of “meaningful,” and whether or not to back up the “backstop date.”
The colourful chancers controlling the plot threaten to walk if they don’t prevail on such arcane distinctions, and warn of a “meltdown.”
Meanwhile, pinstriped oddballs in the wings mutter darkly that they could any day bring it all crashing down by “weaponising” letters they claim to have tucked away in a drawer.
It is, in its way, compelling drama. Bizarrely, it’s also important. For underneath all the frivolity of the Brexit farce, what’s at stake is a nation’s prosperity, indeed its place in the world. But until you escape the parliamentary ping pong and breathless claims of reassurances being ratted on, there’s no hope of making sense of how the Conservatives got into this mess, or how they might get out.
So this month, we contextualise the Tory crisis by looking at the bigger picture and taking the longer view. Andrew Gamble sees Brexit as one manifestation of a nationalist-populist global insurgency against the moderate right. Donald Trump is the unmissable embodiment of that.
Less noticed, but no less important, is the waning of Europe’s centre-right. It is very recent: long after the financial crash, the likes of David Cameron and Angela Merkel could thrive. Only in the last year or so have the French Gaullists been walloped out of contention and Merkel’s mighty CDU begun to slide.