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Why I’ll never vote Tory again The Conservative Party has become a vessel for personal ambition

Where's the morality? Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty

Where's the morality? Leon Neal - WPA Pool/Getty


July 22, 2021   4 mins

I’m not sorry for voting Tory on 12 December 2019. If I were to go back, I’d do it again. Like millions of others, I had two main reasons for doing so. First, Brexit. And, the Conservatives delivered. It was the most important political decision of my lifetime and je ne regrette rien.

Second, the state of the Labour Party, riddled with anti-Semitism and personal vindictiveness, with people cancelled for the slightest ideological slip, with its gender wars obsessions, with its hatred of the very idea that one might love one’s country. It was a huge personal relief to leave all that behind. Good riddance.

At first, my switch of allegiance to the hated Tories came as something of a relief. And in the early stages of our relationship, it was easy to keep on making excuses for the things that did not sit quite right with me. I found myself, less than a month after the vote, inwardly cringing at the refusal of Tory MP’s to support the bid to reunite unaccompanied child refugees with families in the UK. It seemed heartless and unnecessarily petty — a kind of unvirtue signalling designed to send a strong message to the faithful that this government wouldn’t be manipulated by any of that sentimentalism so beloved of the Left. Perhaps you just have to take the rough with the smooth, no party is ever going to be perfect. And with this sort of unconvincing blah, I soldiered on, morally embarrassed.

I’ve had other wobbles. But now, with the reduction of the aid budget to 0.5% of GDP, the romance is well and truly over. The idea that we export our Covid-related economic pain to the most vulnerable is just too much for me to swallow, especially as the Conservatives made a clear electoral commitment on this one. Not only was their previously stubborn defence of the 0.7% figure a bunch of garlic that could ward off the “nasty party” tag, it was also a promise to some of the poorest people on the planet. Theresa May was right when she spoke against this ÂŁ4 billion drop in funding, warning that: “Fewer girls will be educated, more girls and boys will become slaves, more children will go hungry and more of the poorest people in the world will die.”

An instinctive distrust of grand, over-arching theories of morality is one of the principle features of the Conservative mindset. Practice trumps theory. Utopianism is dangerous. Human beings are messy, complicated, conflicted creatures, and strict moral prescriptions are often inhospitable to the lived reality of human life. I get all of that. I agree with it. But one of the inherent weaknesses of this position is that morality can become so bendy and pragmatic as to be practically non-existent. And there is nothing Conservative about the abandonment of guiding moral ideals, however qualified they might have to become when they bump into reality.

What distinguishes this government from so many Conservative governments of the past is that this one doesn’t seem to do morality at all. One suspects they think that morality is for lefties. Which is just rubbish. Because Conservatism has always had a moral core, albeit a different one from that of the Left. It honours the implicit moral tone of communities, customs and institutions – monarchy, law, military, the family. Traditionally, it has had a close relationship with the Church of England and its establishment.

It has a ready affinity with environmental concerns, with its instinctive preference for the countryside over concrete. And while it does not typically appreciate the way modernity has formatted the moral instinct, it nonetheless holds important things like honourable conduct, something that used to be called character, keeping your word, being fair, even that much derided idea of noblesse oblige, which, when sympathetically understood, is a sense of social responsibility by those who have much, towards those who do not. All of these add up to a powerful conjunction of obligations — something we used to be comfortable describing as implicit in what it was to be British. And they are deeply conservative instincts.

But what do we have with this government? No one can say that Boris has ever made any great play of being constrained by morality, certainly not anything like a Judeo-Christian one. Perhaps he thinks that the air has gone out of this particular balloon. But if that’s the case, another one of the bulwarks of moral Conservativism has been dislodged. I wonder if he thinks that the sense of honour implicit in keeping one’s word is equally old fashioned. Green MP Caroline Lucas is right to be concerned that with Boris Johnson there has been a gradual “normalisation of lying to the house”. And this normalisation is highly corrosive of one of key institutions that Conservatives have traditionally respected: Parliament itself.

I don’t care so much about the money spent on soft furnishings, but it’s that creepy conjunction of greed, entitlement and sexual licence that eats away at the integrity of our public life. I am not terribly judgmental about a bit of old-fashioned hypocrisy; the gap between what we want to be and who we are is there in most of us. What I find so deeply dispiriting is its, yes again, normalisation — as if, for instance, there was nothing about Matt Hancock’s bit on the side that should concern proper grown-ups. And such was the normalisation of this corrosive and amoral me-first philosophy that it seems Boris genuinely thought he could get away with there being one Covid isolation rule for him, and another for the rest of us, the little people. Pilot project? More Pontius Pilate, if you ask me.

I have discovered and nurtured my inner conservative since 2019. People like Roger Scruton have become central to how I look at the world. But the more conservative I become, the less I like the Government. It is true that the very different values of market-led liberal individualism have been hollowing out more traditional Toryism since at least the Thatcher revolution. But there were hopes of a fightback. The Brexit vote was a refusal to put the values of economic growth over those of democracy and sovereignty. It was a repatriation of distant unaccountable power and the first great break with the Thatcherite economic consensus. And there is still a long way to go to undo the damage it did.

I won’t return to the Left. But I won’t be voting Conservative next time either. They have forgotten the values of being conservative. And without those values, the Conservative Party is little more than a vessel for the personal ambitions of the depressingly self-entitled.


Giles Fraser is a journalist, broadcaster and Vicar of St Anne’s, Kew.

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Rob Britton
Rob Britton
2 years ago

There are lots of things to get very heated about with this Tory government; I’m not sure that the cut in foreign aid is one of them.

Bill W
Bill W
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

well said.

Frank Wilcockson
Frank Wilcockson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rob Britton

“Thinking Allowed” on Afghanistan this afternoon on Radio4, especially Nicola Khan’s contribution included reference to the level of corruption of aid provided to the Afghan authorities, evidently with the knowledge of the USA and UK governments. This demonstrated to the local population that Western democracy was corrupt which, in turn, contributed to their unwillingness to fight against the Taliban.
If corruption on this scale was ignored by our governments, then stories of widespread corruption in our aid programmes are more likely to be believed – so just more of our hard-pressed taxpayers’ money seems thoughtlessly wasted.
Neither the Labour nor the Conservative governments since WW2 appear to have seriously considered tackling government waste anywhere. So is it really likely that someone with Boris’ spendthrift ways coupled with his lack of attention to detail will address the public sectors’ frivolous attitude to finance?

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
2 years ago

I have always voted Conservative, and probably always will.
But I couldn’t agree more with your dislike of the current government, and specially Boris – he doesn’t seem to have a single principle.

Shiv Taneja
Shiv Taneja
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Couldn’t agree more. Depressing.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

That is because he is a socialist not a conservative.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

He is an egoist verging on a narcissist.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Of course Boris Johnson isn’t a socialist on any meaningful definition. Can we on this forum stop just using words in whatever way we wish to. If we mean engages in government spending, then every government in the world in modern times is socialist. The word then becomes devoid of meaning.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

He is clearly not a Socialist but he isn’t conservative or Conservative either.

Nile Kingston
Nile Kingston
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

Likewise the current Government is all wrong on so many levels. Either Boris does something positive in the coming months or I believe he will be gone by Christmas.
Would I vote Labour or Liberal? No.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Nile Kingston

I have heard the “gone by Xmas” comments many times about Boris.
I’ll take your wager 


J Bryant
J Bryant
2 years ago

Because Conservatism has always had a moral core, albeit a different one from that of the Left. It honours the implicit moral tone of communities, customs and institutions – monarchy, law, military, the family. Traditionally, it has had a close relationship with the Church of England and its establishment.
It has a ready affinity with environmental concerns, with its instinctive preference for the countryside over concrete. And while it does not typically appreciate the way modernity has formatted the moral instinct, it nonetheless holds important things like honourable conduct, something that used to be called character, keeping your word, being fair, even that much derided idea of noblesse oblige, which, when sympathetically understood, is a sense of social responsibility by those who have much, towards those who do not.
What a wonderful summary of conservatism–a set of values that are almost universally reviled in the modern era. Giles Fraser is really on form in this article.
I’m an American so I never had strong opinions about Boris Johnson. I don’t have skin in that particular game. He strikes me as a clever man who uses a comic persona to hide his cleverness and scheming. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe ‘BoJo’ is nothing more than a clown lurching from one crisis to another.
Meanwhile, we here in the US have our own problems to worry about.

Zac Chave-Cox
Zac Chave-Cox
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

As portrayed wonderfully by C.S. Lewis in The Great Divorce, if you hide behind a persona for long enough, eventually you’ll eat away at yourself so much that the persona is all that’s left

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree; he is clever rather than intelligent.

Jon Hawksley
Jon Hawksley
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

I would say he is intelligent, he has a capacity to understand, but is intellectually lazy and prefers to wing it ending up behaving rather stupidly. He does not enjoy the problem solving in investigating any issue and finds conclusions reached by those that do make that effort inconvenient, he fails to make the effort to, intelligently, listen, challenge and lead them. It is only when he fears being blamed for the stark horrors that he acts with a U-turn. Hospitals full of patients dying without treatment, the Queen catching Covid from him. The wonky shopping trolley is an apt analogy.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Jon Hawksley

He is not intellectually lazy, he is just plain lazy, especially if he is involved in something he doesn’t find interesting. Although he is intellectually curious I would say. Personally that is the most relatable aspect of him for me.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I think Boris is highly intelligent, he is a great writer rather than a great orator (read his book about London), and his instincts are, on the whole, good ones. When his Whatsapp message about the over 80s was made public my partner and I (he hates Boris with a passion) both said ‘he’s right though’ and I think his libertarian anti lockdown instincts have actually been exposed for the GOOD because Cummings has revealed them, while revealing his own authoritarian sensibilities and his utter lack of loyalty or self awareness. So Boris, for all his faults, generally has a finger on the pulse of the public far more than his peers. Never underestimate the power of a positive, can-do, pro-British PM who doesn’t mind getting stuck in and getting his hands dirty. I don’t think it’s fake. His downfall I would argue is his yes, lack of attention to detail (but that’s what the minions are for isn’t it?), his ego, and his desire to be liked. I do suspect though that there is more than one faction at work to deliberately undermine him due to personal dislike, not to mention the leftist bias in our institutions and the Remainer camp, still strong within the corridors of power. Why else are there so many leaked private conversations? So many decisions made on the basis of advice from experts and advisors that then miraculously changes the next day forcing a u-turn? I don’t think this is all a coincidence. And I honestly don’t mind or care if he spends some money doing up No 10 or painting a plane with our flag, it’s barely a drop in the ocean. Boris is a political operative of many years standing and I was actually quite impressed when he took office with the purpose with which he and his cabinet were operating. It started off so well…… Covid has ruined everything, for so many of us, and for them too. Something people also forget, is that the same criticisms have been aimed at all western governments (bar Saint Jacinda ‘CCP’ Ardern of course). France had the same PPE and testing issues, our govt initially had the same *scientific* approach as Sweden, Italy, a smaller country than us, has the same death toll, Spain has not fared well at all, there were no reports in the UK of care homes being abandoned and residents left to die, and we didn’t have to get written permission to leave the house. The Nightingales were never utilised, the NHS was never overwhelmed, millions were spared financial panic thanks to the furlough scheme. All countries have had high death tolls in care homes. And we played a blinder with vaccination making the EU look like vindictive little chumps. I thought Matt Hancock might have a nervous breakdown this time last year and I honestly don’t think they just see Covid as a way for them and their chums to make money, that’s a rather dehumanising attitude to take, especially when I think some of them have visibly aged 10 years in the last year. Dehumanising Tories and right wingers is what leftists do while they preach the gospels of diversity, tolerance and being kind….. All in all I don’t think the government has done as badly as the media love to hyperventilate about. Years ago we’d never have known about any of this stuff so it’s so easy for minor things to be seized upon and blown up out of all proportion by the media for clicks and views. Unfortunately this also means the media are no longer trusted when the big stories really do appear. The fact that the Tories aren’t tanking more in the polls tells me that a. The public largely sees through the media machinations b. Labour are an even worse option.

Michael O'Donnell
Michael O'Donnell
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Extremely well put. It is human to err, and our performance has been remarkably similar to that of comparable nations. Can anyone provide an explanation as to why our apparent mortality rate from covid was so high relative to the number of infections? I am told that our ITU survival figures are world-class, so it can’t be poor care. I rather think that we have over-recorded deaths/cases compared with the rest of the world

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Good point. It could be multiple things but I suspect that our general levels of fitness as a nation are perhaps lower than others. If obesity, diabetes and other relevant comorbidities play a huge part in Covid’s ‘success’ as a virus then the UK’s relatively high levels of obesity would be a factor.

Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Diabetes too,and lack of exercise fitness perhaps due to long working hours and pre-made food.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Also we have a lot of ethnic minorities who for reasons not fully understood appear to be more susceptible.
I suspect that in a few years’ time it will be found that demographics explain the different death rates much better than do the political decisions that were taken.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Cheryl… I am not Doctor but have read that people with Co morbidities have much higher levels of Plasmin an enzyme in their bodies. The virus cleaves these enzymes and many others (ACE-2) which eventually leads to the immune system going into overdrive creating a cytokine storm which was responsible for many deaths.

Hosias Kermode
Hosias Kermode
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

That’s a pretty reasonable analysis. But morality is important. In the case of the people living in buildings with dangerous cladding or insulation, the government has steadfastly refused to do the right thing, ever since Grenfell. These buildings are in the state they’re in, because for thirty years, different governments refused to heed the warnings of experts about fire safety issues with insulating materials. The companies that built the buildings complied with regulations as they were at the time. Which leaves the taxpayers on the hook to fix this mess. Yet the government flails, about trying to avoid doing its duty, and especially trying to protect the house builder party donors. In the process it has created ridiculous schemes like the External Wall Survey regulations, which are ruining householders and enriching armies of professionals from surveyors to managing agents to landlords, at their expense. Now they propose a Building Safety Bill that will heap further financial burdens on leaseholders without doing a damn thing to make buildings safer now or in the future. And Jenrick is less a Minister than a sort of nodding dog. As far as housing is concerned, they are utterly clueless and unwilling to do the right thing and put proper consumer law in place. And meanwhile families in England and Wales have more protection buying a new kettle than a new home.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I agree to an extent but I also think if you are a private company selling private apartments to private citizens, managed by a private maintenance company, making lots of money from doing so, then the bulk of the responsibility for maintenance and upkeep must fall to them. But yes, if the cladding was deemed dangerous and this was not acted upon through legislation and, yes, some subsidy, then those in charge of those decisions (local councils as well as central government) must also share the blame.

Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago
Reply to  Hosias Kermode

I was responsible in my local authority work for inspecting and enforcing standards in private blocks of flats, engaging with management companies to organise improvements. The vast majority of management companies are appointed by leaseholders and report to the leaseholders. They administer the service charges, get works done, organise routine maintenance etc. If larger works required there is a consultation procedure to go through which ensures leaseholders have an input into the choice of builders and the tendering process. I can tell you it’s really hard to be a managing agent/company of leasehold blocks! The leaseholders don’t pay their service charges, argue with the agent, refuse to agree to works. I was often taking enforcement action against leaseholders under Housing Act 2005 to make them take responsibility for the state of their blocks!
As you might imagine, there aren’t many people queuing up to be managing agents! It’s a giant headache.
There is also a serious disconnect in fire safety standards between Building Regulations (responsible for new builds and renovations) and the enforcement of fire safety in existing, occupied blocks of flats. Two govt departments with overlapping responsibility but little connectivity. No joined up government as far as fire safety in residential buildings is concerned.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I agree with almost all you say. Well put. I too well remember Boris’s original plan which was sensible.
The thing that amazed me is how many of the public supported the lockdowns – a lot of which was caused by furlough which will come back to bite. There seems to be a disconnect regarding where money comes from. Arguments about public health vs the economy was staggeringly ignorant as they are inextricably linked.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Yes, lockdown, furlough and public acceptance definitely linked, however I am not sure how, if lockdown becomes the plan, how you do that without something like the furlough scheme. One thing guaranteed to result in mass civil disobedience would be that degree of sudden economic insecurity in millions of (normally secure) people. If you think lockdown, at that stage, was necessary, then furlough also becomes necessary.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

The problem with the furlough scheme is that it was too generous. Where is the motivation to get back to work? Here in South Africa the only people supporting lockdowns are those getting paid a salary – including devil (that was meant to be ‘civil’ but I will leave the delicious iPad version) servants, the independently wealthy and a slice of people with empathy and imagination.
One of my favourite sayings throughout is that I have not met a single person who is pro lockdown who does not have food on the table and money in the bank.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
tracy clements
tracy clements
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I can’t speak as eloquently as you have so I have only to say well done, I agree. But even if I didn’t I would adore the way you express your views- with honesty and passion. Lovely

Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Thank you for this well thought out response. How easy and shallow it is to pretend that the PM is in charge of everything and can control everything. I suspect all ministers are frustrated and hampered at every turn.
Remember how Amber Rudd was shafted by her own department over Windrush. She resigned but the disgraceful civil servants got off. If I were a minister I’d be wearing a stab vest to work to deflect the backstabbing.
Priti Patel now has the Police Federation on her case saying they have no confidence in her as Home Secretary. Note they aren’t baying for Cressida d**k’s resignation. Political posturing over pay. Whining about recruitment while advocating graduate only police officers.
Time to call out the hypocrites.

Stuart McCullough
Stuart McCullough
2 years ago
Reply to  Deborah B

You do very well to point out the hypocrisy inherent in the workings of government, particularly given that the civil service and other instruments of bureaucracy in this country now make little secret of their political leanings.

To lead a country, a political party, a cabinet and the administration of policy is tough at the best of times, even harder in the teeth of a storm like Covid 19.

To do so effectively, you need allies. People you can trust to stick by you through the hard slog. This is where Boris seems to fail. Although he has an engaging and amusingly flamboyant style when talking to an audience and can therefore cut through with the public, he doesn’t seem to have many (if any) true friends and allies. Even his latest wife seems to be acting more as a Russian sleeper agent than a pillar of domestic support and comfort.

Johnson’s chaotic personal life and what Lord Sumption called his lazy intellect are at the heart of his problems. Whatever his true political instincts, this Prime Minister does not have the personal integrity required to get the right people around him and allow him to lead.

Those foundations were not there when he came to prominence and the chance to underpin his leadership has now long passed.

The Tory party is a fetid swamp of vested interests and personal ambitions at the best of times and I can see little prospect of them identifying and uniting behind a robust and morally secure person that would be capable and willing to lead us out of this mess.

Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago

Yes, you’ve identified one of the main problems. Boris seems to be a loner, rather than a trusted friend or ally. Remember Michael Gove stabbing him in the back after the referendum result. The Domshells keep coming, too. And while I can accept that a leader has to keep himself somewhat apart, he does appear to engender spiteful resentment among those he has spurned.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I cannot remember reading a comment with which I so wholeheartedly agree. A broad and yet detail summary of reality. Thank you.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
2 years ago

…the refusal of Tory MP’s to support the bid to reunite unaccompanied child refugees with families in the UK

Oh, FGS. You are such a mug. Those weren’t “children”. Most of them were about 35. You completely fell for it face-first.
If you carelessly allow people who aren’t poor to steal the alms, there’ll be fewer alms for the actual poor. See how that works?
When exactly did you and your church forget that?

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago

I am not surprised that any single issue change voter as you appear to be over Brexit then get cold feet about the realities of governing over electioneering or even opposition. The PM for some reason does not knock down straw man accusations, for instance Starmer’s PMQ jibe at the coincidence of BJ and RS both being selected for a random trial when it was nothing of the sort but was openly part of a workplace trial with several very large and some small organisations taking part. This all drives the false impression created in the bubble and that normal people are immune to.
However I think your focus on overseas aid is highly questionable and lacking in perspective Yes it was a promise, yes it is important to keep promises where possible, but there are many mitigating factors that the left, MSM, and the usual suspects in their faux outrage choose to ignore.
We are still giving a substantially greater share of national income than the vast majority of western countries. 0.7% put us very close to the top of the list, 0.5% keeps us very high in the list.
Not all of the programmes we sponsor are life saving and urgent, not all are even to countries who cannot afford it themselves. Aid is important, but equally so targeting.
This is not a permanent change of mind but a temporary, emergency change.
This is open and honest, we haven’t hidden the billions we have provided in jabs for poorer countries, nor the early investments to ensure very low cost vaccines for the whole world. We are still giving.
There is a pandemic, an emergency, the very definition of Force Majeure and terribly debilitating to the national economy.
Most importantly this is not a change in our extremely high charitable nature, generosity and moral leadership.
Starmer et al want to face both ways at once, to accuse the government at the same time of spending too much and not enough. Of selecting every individual case to justify more expenditure but slam any encroachment of taxation on the bulk of the country. Even if we went back to the Labour Party’s 98% income tax rates the sums wouldn’t add up. Yes, I did say that, 98% rate of income tax under the last Labour government before Tony Blair. And what did that lead to? A collapsing economy. Followed by a Labour opposition who slamed the replacement government for the pain of clearing up the mess and rebuilding the economy.
Sound familiar? Yes, well history does repeat itself.
Government is not easy and events like a global pandemic skewer the best laid plans. If you are just a fair weather friend, then you may find yourself stepping out of a breeze and into a gale.

Last edited 2 years ago by Antony Goodman
Dr Anne Kelley
Dr Anne Kelley
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

Your comment was an absolute pleasure to read! It is that rare thing – a rational, intelligent and informed piece, backed up by actual data. So many of the comments on this website are shallow invective.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

Thank you

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Dr Anne Kelley

I actually feel that the the proportion of “shallow” comments on this site is refreshingly lower than most sites – and those that are, tend be called out politely – and in short order

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

Well said. In fact I don’t think it’s been shouted enough that the UK taxpayer poured money into vaccine R&D and facilities that are benefitting many millions, including the EU who wouldn’t stick their hand in their pocket but instead tried to commandeer a private companies assets. And Remainers STILL defended them SMH.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Yes they ploughed ÂŁMillions into the state of the art Vaccine Manufacturing & Innovation Centre. This was initiated before Covid 19 came on the scene.https://www.vmicuk.com/vmic-facility

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

Agreed

Stuart Y
Stuart Y
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

100% agree. The biggest factor although for me, is the calibre of the Government PR machine. People on blogs such as this are aware of everything you say, but in my experience the wider public is unaware of just about all of this. They I find are conditioned by the endless loop of MSM and BBC anti-government propaganda. Have no idea whose in charge of this but whoever should be replaced urgently.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
2 years ago

We are trying to trade with nations rather than patronising them and treating them as victims- hence both the aid cut and Liss Truss’ trade deals. If we all make money together, then there is a greater chance that the reduced aid percentage might be an increased sum in absolute terms.

So hold back on the outrage and see where this goes.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago

The UK was one of the founders of the principles of international trade with Smith and then Ricardo expounding his theory based on the two greatest trading nations of the time, England and Portugal. It is also clear that we have lost our way and our desire to export has withered over several decades. Accession to the EEC was an illusory panacea that, for instance, Germany and The Netherlands never fell for.
This government is working hard to drive a fundamental change in attitude and thereby build greater success from exports

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

Portugal was not a great trading nation by the time Ricardo wrote about comparative advantage. Its time in the sun had long since passed though it had not negligible resources in Brazil and Africa.
That said we did trade with the most important nations, by the mid 19th century we had extensive free trade agreements with the USA, France, Prussia etc.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
David Harris
David Harris
2 years ago

Well Giles, you voted Tory in Dec19 and decided not to in Jul21. That didn’t last long did it? Maybe dilettante voters like yourself are not for them after all. Oh, and the ÂŁ5 billion saved on foreign aid is probably not needed by our poorer Northern Red Wall voters anyway. Much better to send it 3rd world cleptocrats Bye now.

sybildurham77
sybildurham77
2 years ago
Reply to  David Harris

Well said David.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Good luck with finding the moral party that also has a money tree in the back yard. I think voting for the least awful outcome is what most of us do. I also think that it is time for people to realize that Covid spending on things like furlough will come home to bite hard.

Last edited 2 years ago by Lesley van Reenen
Hersch Schneider
Hersch Schneider
2 years ago

He flipped over to the Tories for Brexit, then just two years on he’s NEVER voting for them again over a 0.2% cut to foreign aid? Bit neurotic

Last edited 2 years ago by Hersch Schneider
Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago

Making allowance for the sub-editor who probably writes these lurid titles that often seem to bear only a vague resemblence to the tone of the main piece, I think it would be fair to replace ‘neurotic’ with ‘attention seeking’. For some reason a ditty is stuck in my head…
And this is law, I will maintain
Unto my Dying Day, Sir.
That whatsoever King may reign,
I will be the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
2 years ago

I fear Giles Fraser is on the right track. I think they latch on to whatever policies will be popular. Unlike him, I would like to see more market based policies but they are a hard sell. It’s easier to promise all that the government can save them.

But his more important point is that there seems to be little morality and integrity in our leaders. Failing to sack Hancock immediately and trying to avoid isolation rules are such lapses of judgment that I despair.

Sadly, I see no-one worth voting for.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

Spot on. Democracy results in popular policies because it is the way to power. Market based policies give the consumer the control over what happens through competition, but big business does not like that and they control politicians and ensure regulations limit competition.

Jason Smith
Jason Smith
2 years ago

I assume you didn’t write the title of your piece. The idea of “never” voting for a political party because of its current incarnation seems ridiculous. For example, I happily voted for Labour in the 1990s, but would never have done so whilst led by Corbyn. You should vote for either the person you think will be the best MP in your constituency, or the party with the people and policies you find least repellant.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

That is like having a choice of being eaten by a lion or a tiger.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Jason Smith

The titles here are clearly written by a subeditor in his 20s with an eye for clickbait.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

“the Conservative Party is little more than a vessel for the personal ambitions of the depressingly self-entitled.”

It is very depressing to believe this, But I think I do. I really think Boris is in it for the multi-Millions of Pounds one gets after being PM by selling on your connections and influence – that and the status I am sure he likes. I have never gotten that he is in to Serve his Nation. It is hard to maintain personal feelings of patriotism when you feel your leaders do not.

“that with Boris Johnson there has been a gradual “normalisation of lying to the house”.”

I get this, like he is an act, a shell containing his ego and id, but little else. To be ‘Prime Minister’ is to set the standard, to be the standard bearer, and he is failed in this as I do not think he has any. I watched him wile he was MP for Uxbridge and felt good about him, he has been a huge letdown. I think ‘Term Limits’ when I see Boris, as he has no opposition, so will likely just stick where he is, total ‘Peter Principal’. (although not the horror Biden is)

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I dont agree that BJ lacks patriotism. For all his faults, be they many, I think that is not one. He comes across on many issues a vacillating, but not patriotism, that is written through him like Blackpool rock. It also serves as a basis for the levelling up agenda. Treating the UK as a country not as an adjunct to London and the Westminster bubble.

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

I can see your point but I don’t think he understands what real patriotism is; and the really tough decisions that go with it. The whole situation over Northern Ireland illustrates this; his easy “oven ready” deal was a calamitous mistake and it risks the union itself as well as the security of Ireland’s people. No true patriot would have done that deal and now he and his side kick Frost want to rip it up.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

A true patriot would stick to his guns and get Brexit over the line, as promised to the electorate. The fact that EU acts with complete intransigence and Article 50 is so vague it allowed the EU to set arbitrary rules while running the clock down, is another issue.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Disagree totally I’m afraid.
You couldn’t get Brexit done without feigning acceptance of the disgraceful NI nonsense that May had generated.
Any real patriot would have had to do the same.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Antony Goodman

Well he was happy being a dual citizen of the US, at least until the tax bill arrived.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago

Like everyone else 


Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Look how Blair used his position for personal gain.They are all the same.

Charles Lawton
Charles Lawton
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

I agree but so did Cameron a salary of ÂŁ1m a year for his “consultancy” Thatcher never needed money she married a very wealthy man. Major and Gordon Brown did not seek to gain after leaving office to their credit

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

That’s not true about Thatcher. She lectured extensively in America and was paid very well for it. There is video footage of these that I have seen. Whether she needed it or not I don’t know, but she was a trail blazer for PMs as lecture speakers, along with Harold Wilson who made a small fortune on TV and his autobiography. Major also was heavily involved in the lecture circuit but somewhat more discreetly than say Blair.
As for Gordon Brown the idea of researching what he did with his life after being PM sounds as boring as it gets.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
2 years ago
Reply to  Charles Lawton

Im not a Blair fan, but Cameron was an utterly talentless PR snake oil salesman whom achieved absolutely nothing.
No real comparison.
I doubt my mothers budgie could learn anything from a Cameron lecture.
However, if it wasnt for him being a self-loving imbecile we would still be stuck in the EU 🙂

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Barton
Stephen Rose
Stephen Rose
2 years ago

The figures for aid put UK on 0.7 at number 3 in the world, behind the USA and slightly behind Germany, I think at 0.5 we slip to 4 or 5 behind France. Is this sufficient reason to throw your arms in the air?
Where is China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Argentina,Sweden, Switzerland, Brazil etc, etc.More war, want, slavery, ignorance, the West is damned for involvement or non – involvement.
As for moral turpitude, can you not remember the Blair government, with Robin Cook, John Prescott all using Government property for a leg over.Liars,how about Lloyd George, Disraeli, Walpole, duplicity is a useful tool for a politician, people claim they want a paragon, but in reality they vote for someone effective.
I have occasionally voted Conservative, did last time and might do again. They seem more cohesive, which isn’t a ringing endorsement by the way.
There are Tory MPs that have the qualities you seek, unfortunately many were on the wrong side of the bed when it came to Brexit.
I have heard so many conflicting stories from people I know who worked with Boris, at City Hall and FO, some say he is hard working, some he never digests a brief. He’s amenable, duplicitous, weak a disaster. They said similar things about John Major, a more unlikely comparison I couldn’t imagine, but both accused of talking out of the side of their mouth. Both surprisingly charismatic with women (can I say that!). An acquaintance I trust, gave Boris his very first job, he lasted a month, always in a hurry, not enough advancement. I think he likes collecting job titles, relishing the memoir sales in genteel retirement. He can’t be relishing the morass we are in, those with the lean and hungry look, will bide their time,then strike.It is the Tory way.

Antony Goodman
Antony Goodman
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Rose

USA as a % of GNI is only 0.18%, Germany was lower than our 0.7% with 0.67%. France was 0.43%

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Rose

I knew a dyed-in-the-wool Liverpudlian socialist who worked in City Hall and was wowed by Boris’s charisma, which says something.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Rose

Boris is someone who somehow connects with ordinary people. Perhaps it is his natural optimism and joyous can-do patriotism. I don’t think it is fake. For better or worse that makes him a great asset that shouldn’t be underestimated. Let others in the team be the thinkers and analysers.

Tris Torrance
Tris Torrance
2 years ago

A a regular Conservative voter, I agree about the uselessness of the current Conservative government although I think that the venality that Giles abhors so is every bit as present in all other parties, without exception. The predilection to easy money, easy sex, entitlement, and corruption is a personal problem of our politicians, not a party political one.
I completely disagree with Giles about the aid budget. A former supporter of this, I have watched in horror the corruption and the greed that it has caused. I have watched our civil servants, desperate to hit their “spending targets” (yes, that’s really true) blowing mindless sums on completely unregulated and un-vetted items, while the money is trousered by dictators, and middlemen.
Meanwhile the recipient charities and aid agencies are riddled with sexual perverts, rapists, and opportunists who ruthlessly prey on the real victims of disaster. The charitable sector’s fat-cats turn a blind eye, pocketing insane salaries, perks and interest-free bridging loans to buy their houses, while hob-nobbing for the media with celebrities.
Giles, I get what you’re saying, but on this, you are so, so wrong. Our aid budget should be frozen at zero for the next 5 years, until the entire, gross, edifice of corruption that it enables, succours and nurtures, has been torn down and completely re-built.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tris Torrance
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Tris Torrance

Agree. I think the British public have no problem providing ‘aid’ so long as we know what it’s being spent on. If it were all going to girls education action scenes, clean water, and helping out during natural disasters there would be no argument.

John Riordan
John Riordan
2 years ago

I’m minded to agree with the point, but not for any of the reasons given. Immediately after Christmas 2019, the Johnson government started making mistakes and has not stopped since. HS2 was approved despite an authoritative report proving that it would not return above 60% of the money it cost (this against a multitude of shovel-ready projects possessing above 400% return). Huawei was appoved for 5G rollout despite severe reservations from our security services, and only received the boot later due to politically adverse changes re Covid19. Heathrow runaway 3 was blocked in the High Court on what amounted to a technicality, and the government simply accepted it instead of adjusting the proposals to keep the project on course, thus committing to the waste of billions of pounds in planning, preparation and lost economic growth.

And then, just to prove that no set of f***ups is so great that Boris can’t find an even bigger one, Covid19 came along and provided a genuinely car-crash-fascinating glimpse into how ludicrously complacent, incompetent, inflexible, politically-cowardly and spendthrift a government can be. At every stage Boris Johnson has sat there on an 80 seat majority and still managed to let himself get bullied into stupid decisions by a corrupt and venal mandarin and media class. He has shown the very antithesis of leadership with his absurd and fatuous rhetoric about “following the science”, which is nothing of the sort: he is simply abdicating responsibility for governing to a class of government bureaucrats whose ideology can best be described as scientism, not anything remotely resembling rationalism.

And the truly horrifying irony is that Brexit, the guiding star for this government, was principally about escaping the technocratic elites in Brussels that are presently making a pig’s ear of the economies of Europe. Boris Johnson seems to have interpreted his present role as an opportunity to conduct a race to the bottom in this respect, competing with Europe as to who can smash civil liberties and economic rights the fastest.

Labour has reverted to a comfort zone in which a rump of self-righteous idiots get to shout about moral virtue with no intention of ever making any of their ideas work in government. The Tories are presently doing nothing at all about any of the things that really matter, such as getting a moribund and self-harmed economy back to vibrancy through genuine growth instead of tax/borrow/spend stupidity, or making a proper attempt to attack the increasingly authoritarian culture of the public sector and the media. It’s ducking all the genuine challenges and instead farting about on the sidelines of an unfolding disaster while pretending to look important.

Would I vote for either of these two major parties next time? Would I f***.

Last edited 2 years ago by John Riordan
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  John Riordan

It’s funny because I can relate to much of what you say but also argue the complete opposite. So much of what we come to believe is based on how we are presented with the narrative. For example, imagine the govt saying F- the science, we know better. Sweden follows the science to such a degree they separate themselves almost completely from the decisions so it is presented as apolitical. It’s not shirking responsibility to defer to experts in a highly complex field with ever changing data, working constantly at the limits of our knowledge. Lockdown might have gone against all of Boris’s political and social and economic instincts but I actually give him credit for putting his desire to be liked second to being very unpopular with large swathes of the public because the experts have persuaded him this is the right course of action. I think some of his u turns have been a mixture of his natural positivity running away with him, with others perhaps more machiavellian attempts to unseat him (I noted Cummings’ comments).

Claire D
Claire D
2 years ago

I think this article is a bit unrealistic; social media means many more people have not just a vote but also a voice in our democracy. Unfortunately their opinions are often based on scandal-mongering, memes and/or hostility instead of facts and critical thinking. We’re only just beginning to work out how to handle this problem.

Our leaders are not gods, just fallible human beings who have now got to find a way to lead people under these new circumstances, I don’t think that can be done, realistically, without a degree of some obfuscation and/or avoidance of the absolute truth at times.
Boris Johnson seems to me to have done pretty well – he’s delivering Brexit, he’s muddled his way through a pandemic, and I defy anyone to claim they could have done a better job without the benefit of hindsight.

I agree with Giles regarding the kind of conservatism I would like but the only way we can get something approaching that is to build a consensus by persuasion and fighting small battles when necessary.
There is no noble leader in waiting, only flawed individuals a bit like us, who are yet clever and ambitious enough to organise a whole country without us ending up at war or in the midst of a revolution.
There is no utopia to come, neither a socialist nor a conservative one, but we might be able to achieve something that is not as bad as it could be if we do nothing. A little bit more humility and less self-righteousness might help.

Last edited 2 years ago by Claire D
jill dowling
jill dowling
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Couldn’t agree more Claire.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Claire D

Well said.

Malcolm C
Malcolm C
2 years ago

Sadly, I agree with much of this article. Unfortunately, with the state of the two main parties, it comes down to voting for the lesser of two evils as there doesn’t appear to be an honest credible alternative that represents how the silent majority in this country feel. Small comfort that the US seems to be in an even worse state of affairs!

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago
Reply to  Malcolm C

The conclusion is that politics and politicians are the problem, and I would throw in the dreadful media of today.

Neil Kemsley
Neil Kemsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

You are spot on, Alan. Gradually, and over the last two decades at least, there has been a steady deterioration in the quality on MPs on all sides of the House. Too many parliamentary candidates do not have a hinterland which provides the quality of knowledge, experience and devotion to the needs of the wider population – as well as a sense of wider duty instilled by upbringing.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil Kemsley

Because public service itself became devalued, by a multitude of factors. Anyone of any talent would be a fool to work in the public sector as it exists now.

Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  Neil Kemsley

How many of them have ever worked in a real job nowadays? A minuscule number of them,if any. Public schools,research assistants straight out of university etc etc. Little knowledge of,or desire to experience how most of the population live. Labour politicians seem particularly prone to corruption and the postal voting also a fraud problem. Any policies promised to get votes seem unenforceable and are discarded.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

The media also creates the environment in which our dreadful politicians have to operate. What normal person could handle it? I couldn’t, I’d be cancelled within 5 minutes LOL

JR Stoker
JR Stoker
2 years ago

Oh crikey. As he used to say. But alas Giles is right in most of this; Mrs T combined liberal principles with a conservative approach (and a strong faith plus enormous personal decency), that to me was the time to be a Conservative; it would have been immoral not to do so. This lot are dangerous because they seem to have none of the above, plus no ideas, no imagination, and no ability to make decisions.
Just two quibbles with the piece. Firstly foreign aid: it is never generous or right to give other peoples money away. Either there should be a system for tax payers giving voluntarily to such causes, maybe encouraged by tax incentives (this really ought to be created); or foreign aid must be clearly tied to this country’s best interests, as China does. Invest in foreign infrastructure to create jobs and wealth in that country if it buys us strategic supporters or long term, even very long term, returns. But the key is to get people in the UK to give to support the poor in other lands.
Second; never say never. If Starmer loses control of the Labour Party and the LibDems continues as middle class marxists, at the very least it’ll be a case of voting Tory, even these ones, as the least horrible alternative.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

I used to be a LibDem voter. Their lurch to the woke, authoritarian, globalist, anti democratic left has horrified me.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago
Reply to  JR Stoker

Whenever i hear that surname (marx) i think of karl and i think of Groucho. I think they were opposites even though in some ways they were strong on anarchy in different ways. When i read biographies on k marx i become scared, astonished, dismayed and at points so angry at just how abusive he was in his interpersonal relationships, especially misogynostic re his mother who would not keep sending him money which he often wasted in rather narcissistic ways. He sure does exemplar Labour or US liberal progressive fantastical practices – all based on envy and egoic satisfactions.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

But the more conservative I become, the less I like the Government.”
In a nutshell. At the moment it seems to be going helter-skelter down the path of the CCP.
On the subject of the aid budget, whether or not it was right to reduce it is certainly debatable, but the fact does remain that much of it went not only to undeserving countries (Singapore for example), there were no proper safeguards in place to ensure that it was spent as it was intended when it went to genuinely needy countries. It is not for nothing that the cynical description of aid exists: it is the process of transferring money from poor people in rich countries to rich people in poor countries.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

I’d rather they call it a diplomacy budget instead. Because that’s what it really is. A sweetener for trade deals and part of our soft power. Why not have a diplomacy budget which could include things like education, clean water and building relationships – and an emergency aid budget, kept aside to help with natural disasters where people really do need our help.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago

I agree with most of what Giles has written so clearly here. I feel disenfranchised at the moment.

Neil Kemsley
Neil Kemsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Johnson

So do so many of us, Judy. And there is little prospect of an alternative to the present occupant of Downing Street.

Colin Baxter
Colin Baxter
2 years ago

I have always voted Conservative and probably always will, simply because I feel a moral duty to vote and have no trust of any of the other parties.
However, Boris is a poor leader and even worse human being hopefully with his faults to be redeemed by the moral core of the party.
Not sure about ‘foreign aid’ as I think it is naive to ignore how much of it goes to the wrong people and/or countries that don’t actually need it.

Julian Rigg
Julian Rigg
2 years ago

I agree in general with this article. Labour are no longer Labour and the Conservatives no longer conservative.
The Westminster bubble are more concerned with a very small minority of twitter loud mouths and biased MSM rather than the majority. It’s lazy politics.
They can’t seem to fix or even maintain the most basic government services at levels that make paying, the many, taxes acceptable. I mean seeing a GP in under 2 weeks, having the police tackle physical crime, finishing an MOD project that actually works and is on budget etc etc
Unfortunately COVID has shown that the majority of citizens are either too scared or too lazy to care.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Julian Rigg

It boggles my mind that there could be millions of illegals here and not only do we not know but absolutely nothing is done about it. A friend of mine who works in social services told me a large portion of her caseload involves cases of women getting knocked up by illegals then the illegals using them to force staying in the country – even when in some cases domestic violence is involved. These illegals somehow have access to housing, benefits and pay no tax. Staggering.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

What about the females who congressed with such men? What is their responsibility? I had a sudden flash of when in post-war Germany the people abominated the women who fraternised with their Nazi countrymen; how such men and women were made to bury all the those Jewish et al bodies they had murdered one way or another. Human history sure is a grand and a very sorry one.

Last edited 2 years ago by Julie Kemp
Deborah B
Deborah B
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

You raise a really important point, Cheryl. During the Kosova crisis, there were many young migrants here escaping the war. I met them as I inspected their rented housing. I learned that their aim was to get a nice English girl pregnant and secure their residency. They were so boyishly handsome and innocent in their way, and determined to stay in the UK. They also didn’t understand why you had to pay for your gas and electricity. In Kosova, apparently, you didn’t have to pay for it.
However, the real scandal is that the details of what happens when migrants are inside the UK is hidden from us by the media, almost censored so that the public only see the headline, binary opinion. Poor migrants, coming ashore, victims of people smugglers … Or dangerous economic migrants, coming here to take our taxpayer funded services. Of course, it’s so much more complicated, messy, frightening, impactful, worrying, out of control and actually, unsolvable if we continue to have the realities kept from us.
I think of all the social workers, trying to cope with caseloads of vulnerable British children who need their full attention to be kept safe from all kinds of harm when a batch of migrant families are allocated to them, and they are stretched even further. Impossible.

David Whitaker
David Whitaker
2 years ago

A really excellent description of what it means to be a Conservative. But I read the observations (in the Comments) about Boris’s motives and (lack of) principles etc and although I somewhat agree, isn’t it a relief not to have a PM who justifies his actions as “the right thing to do” – Blair being the exemplar of that empty, self-serving, nonsensical phrase. Boris may have no plan, and few principles or even morals, but at least he isn’t trying to inflict his vision onto us.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  David Whitaker

Piousness maybe nauseating in a political leader but amorality leads to a depressing sense of morale-decrease in a population. He has enough self-knowledge to know it’s true but he is unconcerned. That’s the scandal.
He has been extremely unlucky in having to face a pandemic but it’s not outrageous for us to expect consistent comprehensible communication.

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Consistent communication, agree. But I don’t expect any moral piety or finger wagging from any leader, I just prefer not to know about it unless it involves giving money and jobs to mistresses.

Michael James
Michael James
2 years ago

If we hadn’t had this stupid legal commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on aid, this year we could have reduced the aid budget a bit for sound economic reasons, and it would still have been viewed (correctly) as a gift, not as a ‘cut’. And people who think we should give more can set an example with private donations.

Last edited 2 years ago by Michael James
Stuart Rose
Stuart Rose
2 years ago

Well-argued even if one is inclined to vote Conservative simply to keep Labour out of power.
What about the Social Democrats? Might they be a force, radar blip they are at the moment, to speak for the best aspects of the Right and Left?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Stuart Rose

Yes, I hadn’t realised they still existed til recently. I looked at their prospectus and thought yes that’s more like it, old school Labour with a dash of patriotism, equality of opportunity and social conservatism thrown in. I wish they were more prominent, they don’t even appear to have a candidate where I live.

Ken Charman
Ken Charman
2 years ago

I sympathise and agree but who will you vote for then? In December 2019 I nominated our pub landlord. Despite distributing 20,000 leaflets to Bideford which wasn’t in our constituency, we still got the second highest vote in the country for an unfilliated independent (650+). I see no choice bu to reject professional politics. There is no party that deserves my X.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ken Charman
William Cameron
William Cameron
2 years ago

This is not a conservative Government . It is a rag bag of low quality entitled oiks on the make.
The Labour party is as bad in a different way – endlessly kneeling/trans/ victimhood nonsense with no policy.

Dan Gleeballs
Dan Gleeballs
2 years ago

As far as I’m concerned, I’d never have seen Brexit without him, or lost it in the scheming years that followed. As a result, though he’s far too wet to be my kind of small-government Conservative, I’ll vote for him and his as long as he cares to go on.

I joined the Conservatives to vote for him – some months ahead of Theresa May crashing to earth. He’s weak on things that matter to me, like dinghies and tax rates, but without Brexit, none of that would matter. Freedom matters.

Tommy Abdy
Tommy Abdy
2 years ago

We should not be subscribing to international aid without ensuring the country concerned is governing in a right and moral way. If this smacks of colonialism, control and interference – so be it. As an example; if India can afford a space programme why should we give them any aid. We must be firmer and more assertive regarding the giving of international aid.

gasparalvite
gasparalvite
2 years ago

Charity begins at home. How can you explain ‘foreign aid’ to China – which we are giving? If only foreign aid was used to support the poor! and even then the ethical question would be why abroad and not at home? but we know, don’t we, that the label ‘foreign aid’ is used in place of ‘investment’ with benefits coming back, not to the original investors who put up the money in the first place – the tax payer – but to the many companies and societies actively engaged in its management and distribution, as well as in the foreign bank accounts of the rulers of such countries. Continuing with this farce is what is morally obscene. Of course they cite the starving children, who else are they going to cite? themselves?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago

There is nothing conservative about the Conservative Party except its brilliance at conserving itself in power.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
2 years ago

Political parties have two objectives – to gain power and to stay in power. Politicians who belong to a party do not serve us, they serve the party. Democracy is the way politicians delude people about their objectives. There are warnings throughout history about democracy and politicians. Look for them. George Washington’s farewell address tells us all we need to know about political parties and why we need to abolish them.
“I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. 
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. 
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. 
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. 
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.”
I almost did not vote at the last election but I voted Tory, for a candidate that stood no chance, but only in the hope we would get out of the dreadful EU. What would Washington have to say about that nightmare? From now on I will vote only for an independent candidate or spoil the ballot paper.

David Owsley
David Owsley
2 years ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

What an outstanding quote from Washington. So prescient – well not really prescient because it was based on examples already – so true. But as Jonathan Couchman says in another comment on this page:
“We know there is a problem but what the heck is the solution?”

Last edited 2 years ago by David Owsley
Simon Hodgson
Simon Hodgson
2 years ago

There was morality on the left and the right.
The problem being that both the left and the right have abandoned their morality.
The result the present Government which has no moral compass whatsoever!!

Jonathan Couchman
Jonathan Couchman
2 years ago

An excellent analysis. As Dominic Cummings has spotted, there is something wrong with a political system that provides Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn as our prime ministerial choice at a general election. I avoided the choice by voting for the Yorkshire Party, as a protest; probably pointless and only 2,000 other people made the same choice.
What to do? Would a proportional electoral system help? There are arguments both ways but it seems to me the only available possibility for establishment of a new and perhaps even better political system. It is beyond me as to why the Lib Dems agreed to putting non-proportional AV before the country under the coalition government. And didn’t Blair say that he would implement the Jenkins report, only to discover subsequently that one party government was too much fun?
We know there is a problem but what the heck is the solution?

Penelope Lane
Penelope Lane
2 years ago

What distinguishes this government from so many Conservative governments of the past is that this one doesn’t seem to do morality at all.

morality can become so bendy and pragmatic as to be practically non-existent

Since the moral faculty is inborn, this is not possible. Just as with the faculty for speech, one may develop it well in a positive and uplifting direction. One may develop it somewhat, to a reasonably functioning level. One may repress and inhibit its development, keeping it in a dysfunctional, embryonic state. Or one may actively and deliberately develop it, sometimes to a very great extent, in a deliberately deformed and perverted direction, turning it from good into the service of wickedness and evil.
Human morality has its origins in the as-yet largely undeveloped human-divine part of us. It lives as potential among our other largely still-dormant capacities. Many today may have come to understand this in terms of the four higher chakras, lotuses, turning wheels or centres of an individual’s inner being, from the heart up to the crown. Morality does not originate from our human-animal part (the three lower chakras), so Darwinian evolution cannot encompass it. In this sense, we are not yet properly human. We are currently working at our heart level, enjoined to cultivate a better ability to feel, to empathise, and so, eventually, to love. That is our current goal and ideal, to unfold and cultivate such new, higher faculties—more goodness, beauty and truth.
Following from this, the word “amoral” has to be called out as a non-word, applying to a human condition that simply does not exist. It sounds nice, carrying a warm and woolly, vaguely comforting sense that one is not actually such a bad chap, just someone who doesn’t have much time for that sort of thing.
The word “amoral” has been applied extensively to Johnson and his cohorts, as also to Johnsonian Conservatism. In this context, it is simply a cop-out. A weasel word used to explain away and deflect attention from that which should be closely examined, rigorously interrogated.
The correct term in this context is “immoral”. We are all either moral or immoral, along a scale from 1 to 10, if you like. Somewhere around the middle, the heart, and descending, the barely moral turns into the rather immoral. This is a red line that must not be crossed by holders of public office who bear responsibility for the welfare of the people they purport to serve. This moral/immoral scale gives us a reliable objective standard to apply to public people and public life. This because it connects with the actual reality of the human constitution.
To reiterate: there is no such thing as amorality, and you cannot be amoral—neither in politics, nor in the more extreme academic attempts to achieve so-called post-modern “objectivity”, looking on supposedly from outside it all, nor in any other sphere. You are firmly rooted in the moral sphere, like it or not.
Do test this out for yourself. For example:
# for Giles Fraser’s
this corrosive and amoral me-first philosophy
substitute
this corrosive and immoral me-first philosophy
Feel the difference in tone: not judgmental, but precise and descriptive, a resurrected clear consciousness of the difference between right and wrong.

Peter Shaw
Peter Shaw
2 years ago

I too voted for the Conservative Party for the first time in my life at the last GE and I too, do not regret that. I had to keep a Jew hating party ( that before hijacked was a party I canvassed for ) out of power.
My problem with the Conservative party is that they are more left wing than any Labour Party I previously supported. They are anything but conservative.
They have as leader and PM a person who really has no integrity and is leading the country to oblivion.
As for foreign aid, isn’t that something we continue to do by housing those who are brought here by criminal gangs who will use the money to fund child prostitution rings? Charity has to be focused. It would not be charitable of me to give a homeless alcoholic a case of whiskey however delighted he may be at the gift. I also note that the country gives foreign aid to countries that can fund their own space programmes. They don’t lack money, they lack justice

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Shaw
Richard Barnes
Richard Barnes
2 years ago

But if you don’t vote Conservative and Labour is not an option for the reasons stated in the article, then what’s the alternative? Not the Lib Dems surely?

Tim Hurren
Tim Hurren
2 years ago

Confronted by the dilemma of who to vote for in national elections I was idly searching the internet and discovered that the SDP still exists, seems to have a common sense slightly left of centre programme and welcomes Brexit and the opportunities it brings. Many years ago I was a founder member of the SDP before the metamorphosis into the Liberal Democrats begun. Pity SDP are going nowhere politically when a coherent political philosophy is so much needed amidst the vacuous politics of today. We may not agree with all or even any of the leading post-war politicians but where are the Roy Jenkins, Keith Joseph, Anthony Crosland, Barbara Castle, Ian Macleod, Shirley Williams, Richard Crossman, Jo Grimond or even Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn of today? It has been said that we get the politicians we deserve which is a sad indictment of our contemporary society.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Tim Hurren

Who would go into public service now? It is not the place for those with talent. Not that with the abolition of grammar schools we do very much as a country to properly nurture our talent in the first place.

Peter Mott
Peter Mott
2 years ago

According to YouGov the policy is massively popular. If I were a Tory MP I would not go against the Whip in the face 92% support among Tory voters.
https://yougov.co.uk/topics/politics/articles-reports/2020/11/25/two-thirds-britons-support-cutting-foreign-aid-bud
PS If the author is in the Stoke Newington and Hackney North constituency which polled 70% for Diane Abbott then that he voted Tory at all shows great independence of mind!

Last edited 2 years ago by Peter Mott
Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago

And what precisely did he expect from Boris Johnson? I remember having the measure of the man back in 2004 when he manipulated and lied to that unfairly forgotten Conservative leader Michael Howard. His two ‘points’ would be more duly accepted if he hadn’t only a couple of years past written embarrassingly cringing paeans to Boris.
The thrust of the government in 2019, as much as some seem now not to want to see it was Dominic Cummings. It was he who rent the Gordian Knot of the hung parliament and masterfully parlayed Boris’s popularity into crushing Farage’s Brexit party thus uniting the right of the spectrum whilst leaving the left in a squabbling ferment. It was he who had the clear and ambitious vision for a post-Brexit Britain that entailed washing out the Augean Stables of Whitehall and trying to arrest 150 years of decline with a clear policy of technological and economic development.
Once he was gone it was clear we were going to be treated to government by piffle (as one saw in London in his time as mayor) though even I underestimated the level of Carriocracy that would be involved.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

Cummings is a very clever man, no doubt, but he has shown a very black and white mode of thinking – kind of, if you’re not with me you’re against me, you’re my enemy. I am not sure any seasoned political operator would have expected an overnight bloodbath in Whitehall and then lambasted the PM for a failure to deliver said bloodbath.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

He came from a world that expects to ‘get **** done’… and felt Whitehall needed that. The fact a seasoned political operator is even needed to wade through the mess explains the relative decline of Britain.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

Against: Hard sell to send money overseas while we have needy folk here especially when it seems to go into African dictators’ swiss accounts. Our charities sit on billions, the top 25 holding ÂŁ65 billion and CEOs on ÂŁ400k. I see little morality there.
Pro: The green agenda. UK contributes so tiny an amount of pollution it is irrelevant globally.
We’re not supposed to have governments lasting eleven years. Unfortunately the alternative has even less, or selective, morality. ReformUK’s manifesto is what the Tory’s one should be but nobody is willing to let them have a turn. By not voting for the Tories or Labour you are effectively throwing your vote away and disenfranchising yourself into a divided and conquered silent majority. To threaten the present governing party with a lost vote is to make them shrug and write you off. Look at Hartlepool. Bring pressure on your MP. Mine’s a yes man, a wimp. He doesn’t represent me. If the Labour bloke was decent…

Nick G
Nick G
2 years ago

Giles, You’re Peter Hitchens and I claim my ÂŁ5……

Craig Booth
Craig Booth
2 years ago

Thank you Giles, you’ve helped me understand why I’ve become such a ‘quiet’ Tory – unable to argue the case for this government with my children, and other more morally-driven people

Peter Branagan
Peter Branagan
2 years ago

It is really unfathomable that an intelligent, caring person like Giles Fraser should have such a distorted view of the European Union. It appears he has no understanding what sovereignty IN THE REAL WORLD means.
Giles cares about people. What people care about are things like housing, health, education, criminal law, income and local taxes, language, culture, sport and religion/spirituality. The EU has little or nothing to do with any of these things.
The expansion of the EU Eastwards to include the ex-Communist states was mainly driven by the UK governments of the 80s and 90s. Under EU law the UK government could have prevented immigrants from those countries being eligible for residency or any state supports for 7yrs, even 15yrs – thus stopping the flood of immigrants that happened in the 90s and 00s. It was the UK governments of the time, heavily lobbied by business interests, big and small, to allow in unlimited numbers because they wanted cheap labour or because they couldn’t get workers locally. It was the UK government NOT THE EU that opened the flood gates of immigration from Eastern Europe.
With regard to the many frustrations around terrorists and ‘human rights’ caused by decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, this court was established largely at the behest of the UK government shortly after WWII and has nothing to do with the EU.
On sovereignty, the only way to have complete national sovereignty to to have no dealings with any other country or multinational organisation. The recent trade deal between the UK and Ukraine makes a mockery of UK sovereignty as it requires that all UK exports to the Ukraine meet EU standards. It can be reasonably argued that leaving the EU has effectively REDUCED the sovereignty of the UK because it now being obliged by third countries to comply with EU standards without having any say in creating those same standards.

Leigh Collier
Leigh Collier
2 years ago

Surely, Giles, you have to wait until the next General Election is called before you decide who you are not going to vote for. It’s fine for you to set out your current discontents with the Conservative government – and those concerns may well still be in place when the next General Election is called – but you can’t know in advance what the chief issues will be then that will determine your vote. And none of us know whether the Conservative candidate for Prime Minister at the next General Election will be Boris Johnson or someone else. So surely you must defer your decision on which way you will vote until that election is called – mustn’t you?

John McGibbon
John McGibbon
2 years ago

I have little time for Dawn Butler, for me at least her focus on racial division rather than cohesion fails to recognise how open and accepting British society is, however on the topic of calling out the The Buffoon as a liar she is correct. He is a serial liar and should be called out as such. It demonstrates how far the Conservative party has fallen in terms of morality that instead of Conservative MPs being abhorred by his behaviour they stand behind him like braying donkeys. If Parliament is to be modernised, first it should do away with punishing MPs for
dishonourable conduct for calling out bare faced lying and instead punish as dishonourable conduct the lying that had become normalised under The Buffoon.
Lastly, my ramblings aren’t those of someone from the left, they are from a life long Conservative voter who spoiled his ballot at the last election because I considered The Buffoon to be morally reprehensible and unfit for office. If there was a credible opposition, I would have voted for them.

Last edited 2 years ago by John McGibbon
Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
2 years ago

I won’t vote again. I can’t believe those overachieving punk anarchists of the 80s when I was at school were right all along. The irony now is they are probably all in banking 😀
Seriously, after the last year, all I want is to be free of state and government…naive…I know.

Last edited 2 years ago by Antony Hirst
andrew harrison
andrew harrison
2 years ago

I will also not vote Conservative again, or Labour, might vote reform if they have a candidate in my area, the reason will be the green eco ban the car ban the boiler clap trap, oh that and covid passports.

Mike Fraser
Mike Fraser
2 years ago

Be careful, Giles, what you wish for. I agree with your description of Conservatism and of Labour.
The political job offer is the most thankless task for the least amount of remuneration.
Hence it is doubtful that any intelligent, skillful, moral, and decisive leader, would accept such a position in a democracy.
Hence the best we can hope for is inadequacy, which indeed we have.
This inadequate leadership allows, unchecked, the inadequate way our democracy and its public sectors are run.
It could also allow evil and immoral ambitions in the rich and powerful, if, that is, they so had a mind.
Churchill’s view was that democracy was the” least worst form of government”.
Voltaire’s possibly misquoted view was Dictatorship tempered by assassination was better.
In the short run Totalitarianism is the easiest way to control a country and its peoples in these Covid times, but the least moral.
Boris comes over to me, as a slow thinker, who makes too many statements, often clumsy ( the result of slow thinking) upon which he changes his mind, having really thought about it in the light of reality, two hours two weeks two months or two years, later.
This may make him in the minds of some a liar, and in the minds of others a bumbling idiot, and it finishes NOT with just those two groups.
But who would you want Giles, in that job, and would it be accepted?

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

I don’t think he’s a slow thinker, I think he’s a writer first and orator second.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fraser

Before he became PM, I thought Johnson was unfairly criticised, especially by people who hated his electoral success. He seems to have excelled when young, and I was impressed by his rhetorical duel with Mary Beard about Greeks and Romans.
However, during the last 18 months or so, I’ve concluded that he’s orally inarticulate. There are numerous ahs, ums and false starts. The witticisms of which he is fond may work in journalism tend to be laboured, and an easy target for mockery, even by their simple repetition ad nauseam. Nor am I impressed by slogans such as ‘levelling up’ and ‘build back better’ (invented by Cummings perhaps).
Even worse, he or his government often seem to make bad decisions, and then, when confronted by criticism (surely inevitable), reversed, except for the worst ones such as HS2.
The issues of achieving successful independence from the EU, peaceful co-existence with Russia and China while resisting their threats, and a nation at ease with itself are vital. We need decision-making of the utmost intelligence.

Richard Slack
Richard Slack
2 years ago

When someone is explaining to their spouse or partner why they are leaving for someone else it is customary to attempt to sugar the pill by saying “it’s not you it’s me. This form of words fools few when the real meaning is “it’s not me, it’s you” usually man wanting someone who looks like his partner used to, or the woman deciding that the man is such a fleeting presence they may as well rationalise their living spaces.
With political parties it is the reverse; “the party I joined no longer exists because of (whatever reason) “It’s not me it’s you” is the face reason. It is not so many years ago that Giles Fraser was supporting the hard lines of the mass actions in the City of London by various protesters. It was then the turn of the SDP, a party so quirky that even Rod Liddle can steer his barque into its waters.
And then the Tories. However, the Rev’d Fraser is pushing the line, effectively, that he has been robbed and the Tory government we now have is not the one he thought is was promised. “It’s not me, it’s you”. But the reality is that the modern Tory party has been hi-jacked. Its main political impulse is to be scared of Farage. A considerable potion of its MPs were not convinced of the wisdom of Brexit, there is a wry amusement in seeing people like Liz Truss pretending that what they stated a few years back about the difficulty of being outside the Single Market has not happened when it clearly has.
But then Johnson did not really believe in Brexit, at least not as much as he believed in the right of Johnson to be Prime Minister. The jocular, slightly liberal Johnson was concocted to be Mayor of London, it had little depth. (Ironically, if you were looking for an example of a “Person from Nowhere” then Johnson fitted the bill much more than Corbyn)
However I am sure we have not seen the end of the Rev’d Fraser’s chaotic pilgrimage through British politics. But he should remember, its not the party that has changed, its him!

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  Richard Slack

And yet his changes of heart seem curiously times as if with a metronome to the beat of prevailing opinion on the internet. I am sure it is just a coincidence.
And he should have been defrocked for supporting those spotty oiks outside St. Paul’s.

Julie Kemp
Julie Kemp
2 years ago

Thanks Giles i have much sympatico with your ‘take’ in the piece. I’m Australian and 72 and instinctively grasp the articulations of the great late Sir Roger Scruton. I do feel disappointed in the general quiet of your Conservative Party – one or two exceptions of course. As for your PM i think he politically suits more the level of a mayorship; not that which requires a ‘statesman’ or ‘stateswoman’ a la MT.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago

“The idea that we export our Covid-related economic pain to the most vulnerable is just too much for me to swallow.”
I strongly object to the policy of the legally binding contribution of 0.7% of GDP to foreign aid.
1 The absolute amount spent is one thing, effectiveness of expenditure is something completely different.
2 I suspect that the flow of money through NGOs creates a set of vested interests, which benefits personally, while using funds to influence ‘public opinion’ and lobby government.
3 A paper target divorced from real conditions always leads to ridiculous measures to meet it, as often experienced in organisations which use annual budgets.
4 This obligation arose because many other countries were meant also to commit to it. How many others have fulfilled it? (So much for setting an example.)
5 What is so unique about foreign aid that it requires a legal obligation? Why not health, or defence? Yet these and other types of expenditure directly in the interests of taxpayers must compete with foreign aid.
6 So too must potential new expenditure, e.g. the funding of care for the old. Can they not also be described as vulnerable?
7 We do not contribute voluntarily to many of the functions of government, yet foreign aid can most definitely be supported voluntarily.
Let’s have a referendum on whether or not we switch this expenditure to old-age care, and whether it be made possible to voluntarily pay additional tax for foreign aid.
We can and should assist poor countries, but mainly through the encouragement of education, law, conditions for investment, trade, and the suppression of corruption, which are mostly intangible.

Last edited 2 years ago by Colin Elliott
Kristof K
Kristof K
2 years ago


 that much derided idea of noblesse oblige, which, when sympathetically understood, is a sense of social responsibility by those who have much, towards those who do not.

That’s OK if “la noblesse” comprises such as true Christians (contemplating the difficulty of camels passing through needle-eyes), probably true believers in many other religions, socialists, philanthropists and anyone of a generally woke disposition. But there’s not a lot of them about. And the more famous such (Bill Gates, George Soros) don’t seem to be very sympathetically understood, but rather attract the venom of the reversely sanctimonious i.e. are much derided. So to be conservative (and Conservative) is basically to purvey an idea like “a place for everyone, and everyone in their place”. This sentiment being quite well expressed in the now probably never sung verse of “All things bright and beautiful:”



The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate;
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.



Oh yes, come to think of it you did mention the historical connection between the Conservative party and the Anglican church!

So I don’t see how any true Christian could ever vote tory (nor how any Tory can sincerely claim to be a true Christian). Let’s face it, there isn’t really much true Christianity about really — and certainly not a great deal of it or similar philosophies amongst “la noblesse”.

Melanie Mabey
Melanie Mabey
2 years ago

Funny this article should come out now, I have been thinking the same thing, I cannot bring myself to vote for any of the parties (unless by some miracle something interesting should come along).

mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago

You may as well still vote for Boris, Giles, he is as New Labor as they come: liar, cheat, spendthrift, virtue signaler. As to this oft repeated claim he worships the old Roman Gods – presumable Suala foremost, i doubt it. For most of the Roman Empire they knew exactly how to deal with the likes of BJ and it didn’t involve worship.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago

I will always have time for Giles Fraser’s passion, bravery, honesty and clarity – what we should find in every Christian priest – but I’d find it impossible to vote for a Boris Johnson-led Conservative Party, regardless of the circumstances.
I get that many hitherto far-left enthusiasts maybe have to display ‘convert’s zeal’ but I was taken aback by this.
I suppose coming from a Conservative family background, from a time when even Ted Heath was sniffily derided, but nonetheless accepted, the idea of Boris Johnson as a Tory PM was always awful.
I am miles behind the curve but the tiny unimportant little detail: everyone referring to him as ‘Boris’ from day one, set the alarm bells ringing. As London Mayor he reached his apogee. Sadly others’ sycophancy and his pathological deceit facilitated his Slouch to Downing Street.
(I voted Conservative once. When I was 19, in 1979. A very naive 19. I unwittingly voted for formation of the first Thatcher government! (some would consider that Brexit-like in its magnitude)).

Last edited 2 years ago by James Chater
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

Are you saying you then voted for Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock to make up for your ‘mistake’ Wow. I hated Thatcher when I was young because that was just what you did. Now I’m older I realise what an absolutely amazing leader she was. Not perfect but a true giant in a sea of midgets and I fear we shall not see her like again.

James Chater
James Chater
2 years ago
Reply to  Cheryl Jones

I didn’t vote for Margaret Thatcher. Back then most MPs had more substance than they do today. I would have chosen, in my naive way, who I thought was the best candidate. Thatcher, like any leader with much potential power went bonkers pretty quickly.

Ferrusian Gambit
Ferrusian Gambit
2 years ago
Reply to  James Chater

I don’t think that is true. She had a fine grasp of public opinion and a deft political touch – behind the scenes she could be charm itself if the situation demanded it. She knew how to present a compromise as victory – see the way the rebate was handled at Fontainebleau, or the Anglo-Irish agreement – and she never failed to make capital out of a victory, real or perceived. Such political adroitness only really abandoned her after her third term when having been in power for so long disconnected her from reality; the poll-tax being the saddest example of that. Blair too, of course, fell into that trap as perhaps anyone does who wears the hollow crown for too long.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ferrusian Gambit