Thursday, May 28

Charge of the Right Brigade! – Is it the Death of The Tory Party?

- January 14, 2019

So in the reams written about Brexit, one thing has not been said until now. It is this. Brexit will inexorably lead to the death of the Conservative Party. The only question is whether it will be slow or quick. If we have no deal death will be fast. MPs like Dominic Grieve, Justine Greening, Ken Clarke, Sarah Wollaston, Anna Soubry, Nicky Morgan, Heidi Allen and dozens more will leave or cause such a split that the party will lose their majority. And note that these MPs are the younger element of the party. The government could totter on in office but not in power but it will be just a stay of execution. An early election might also just keep the party alive, like a badly injured accident victim on an oxygen machine. But the Conservative government will be over.

The Conservative Party is dead. Long live the Conservative Party

But here’s the clincher. Every financial report on the effects of no deal say catastrophe for incomes. The government admit this but say to control our borders ( immigration they mean) our laws and our money ( they don’t say very diminished money ) it is worth it. The public haven’t said yet what they think but history knows! Business organisations say we will as a country be cataclysmically worse off. Every family won’t just be poorer, they will see the worst drop in household income ever! So how will the public vote in those circumstances in an election a year or two down the line after no deal. Voting for the Conservative Party then will be like turkeys voting for Christmas! History knows. The public always have and always will vote on their own personal economic situation and would vote for anyone rather than the Conservative Party. Yes, literally anyone! They would vote for Atilla the Hun ( yes even though he might have a German name! ) No amount of criticism of the opposition – even if it were Corbyn – in the largely supportive press and broadcast media will work. The Conservative Party will get the blame forever for the most catastrophic decision in 21st century politics and the popular vote will never forgive them. And the party will be over. In every sense.

So those Conservatives on the right clamouring for their ideal no deal… more like 60 than 600 actually – are boldly leading their colleagues in their Conservative Party into the valley of death. The charge of the right brigade while all the world wondered at their madness. They ride their cause like religious martyrs, so valiantly and they do really think they will be retaking their glorious party to their greatest success but they fail to see that in the very moment of their triumph they have created their own demise. What was it that Yeats said. – “the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Of course they will say that everyone else is wrong. Experts and their financial forecasts will be dismissed with the usual arrogance of people who are so certain they alone are right. The Conservative Party of old has had it. It is old and is on life support courtesy of the DUP. And sometimes old age brings wisdom but sometimes old age means angry and crotchety and mean and envious and out of touch with the new generation who will soon have the strength and power they had.
Young people ( except of course the nationalist extremists ) largely want to spend time in Europe., whether visiting or studying or living there. Many see themselves as European as I do. They increasingly recognise that food is better from local sources. And Brighton is good, Brest pretty good, Berlin ok but Baltimore or Beijing not so good. All those clever things they use to freeze the food to travel here are not good and the young know that. The young also have a live and let live moral ethos. They largely don’t have a homophobic bone in their bodies. They don’t even notice colour, race, gender, it’s no big deal. The young are outgoing, modern, local and global whereas the old right of the Conservative Party are out of touch with the zeitgeist and getting more out of touch with every passing day. In one word “old.” Don’t worry I’m ok as in Julie Burchill’s memorable phrase “ In Brighton you’re either young or you’re dead .”

But there is hope for the party as there are young people who still believe in those age old beliefs, love of family and entrepreneurial endeavour which has created much of the wealth of the UK and there are still many who prefer individualism to state control. You can see that in so many start ups. If it is to be saved the Conservative Party needs to do a few things. Ditch no deal. That as I’ve described will be the end of the party full stop. Ironic that Rees Mogg and Boris Johnson at the time of their greatest triumph will seal the death of their beloved party. I still think that Boris may see the light. He is more pragmatic than principled and it is his only hope to be the Churchill he aspires to be.

The party will also need to appeal to the young. This will again only work if no deal is ditched. There are plenty of people out there who don’t want the centralised state promised by Corbyn and McDonnell. Frankly Conservatives need a defence of neo liberalism !!! But the policies needed to win the popular vote mean people have to be made richer and that could easily be achieved with an investment programme across the UK like Roosevelt’s New Deal.

So the Conservative Party is dead. Long live the Conservative Party. Now is the time for the new king or queen to take over with as soft a Brexit as possible and a radical – yes radical – plan to increase the wealth of every single family in the UK. Now I know who in the Conservative Party can do this but do they! Death from the charge of the right brigade. Or glorious revival.

Bill Smith aka Latest Bill

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