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The Tories are facing a new revolt on the Right Those who voted for Boris are becoming increasingly disillusioned with his failure to be a true Conservative

Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images


June 19, 2020   7 mins

Boris Johnson is a prime minister under pressure. Public disapproval of his government is drifting upwards. Confidence in the economy has collapsed. His approval ratings have shed more than 20 points in two months. The ‘rally effect’ that saw his support surge to nearly 70% has long gone. Former advisors are criticising the inner workings of his government. MPs openly complain about U-turns and indecision. The Conservative Party’s lead in the polls has crashed from more than 20 points to just five. And Keir Starmer now has the highest rating for any leader of the opposition since Tony Blair led Labour in 1995 and (What’s the Story) Morning Glory was topping the charts. Life comes at you fast, as my students say.

To be fair to Johnson his premiership has turned into something that neither he nor we expected. The theorist Michael Oakeshott once talked about politics being an interplay between two distinct styles. On one side stands the politics of faith, which yearns for national renewal, salvation and utopia on earth. On the other is the politics of scepticism, which is cynical of grand claims and more interested in process — in management and competency. These two styles continually compete. When sceptics fall into dry technocracy their opponents ask: “where are the people?” When the politics of faith demands that we “take back the control”, the sceptics reply: “yes, but how?”

Johnson, we all assumed, would speak to the politics of faith, a Prime Minister who would deliver national salvation and renewal by freeing the country from the European Union, building Global Britain and touring the Red Wall to cut red ribbons as we built a more egalitarian settlement. But Covid-19 had other plans. Here was a crisis that unfolded simultaneously on not one but two fronts: health and economics. Such complexity called for qualities that have rarely been on display in Johnson Land.

Crises demand competency over grandiosity, detail over vision, scepticism over faith. Walter Bagehot once remarked that the great qualities that are needed in these moments of crisis — a rapid energy, eager nature and imperious will — usually become impediments once normal times resume. With Johnson it is the other way around; his great qualities in normal times appear to have become impediments during a crisis.

This is what encouraged the sceptics to walk away. Ever since the referendum the Conservative Party has been haemorrhaging middle-class professionals and graduates. Already alienated by Brexit, the fumbled response to the Covid crisis and what they see as populist amateurism has pushed these former Tory voters further away. In the past six months alone Labour’s share of the Remain vote has jumped by nearly 10 points, with Remainers slowly but steadily starting to align in the way that Leavers did six months ago.

This is why Johnson simply cannot afford to alienate his true believers, who practise the politics of faith. And for a while he has managed not to. Ever since the Great Lockdown arrived and despite a wave of criticism his party has not once fallen below the 40% threshold — a threshold the Conservative Party barely broke between the ERM crisis and the Brexit vote. It is the increased tribalism of British politics that has so far handed Johnson a get-out-of-jail-free card. But things might be starting to change. Cracks are starting to appear.

One joke doing the rounds is that when historians in the future say that they specialise in the year 2020 they will need to specify which quarter. The first quarter brought the crisis, the second brought the protests. While the former encouraged sceptics to conclude that Johnson is simply not up to the job, the latter has encouraged conservatives to ask the Prime Minister some of their own tough questions. And this has thrown light on a major vulnerability that lies at the heart of his premiership.

Path dependency tells us that the decisions that we made in the past limit the decisions that we can make in the future. In short, history matters. We tend to forget this but Johnson’s premiership started with a promise. Alongside his consiglieri, Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister was among the first to spot the looming ‘realignment’ of our politics, how a second divide over our values cuts across our traditional divide over social class.

The end result is a lot of conflicted voters who lean Left on the economy but Right on culture. Theresa May grasped that there might be a new winning formula in town but never quite figured out how to put the ingredients together. Johnson did. And the cocktail that he produced was explosive.

Delivering Brexit, controlling migration and rebalancing an unequal nation struck a loud chord across Britain’s heartlands. And this rebalancing act was never just about bridges and trains. It was about reasserting all of the things that conservatives feel have been eroded over recent years — the family, our civic culture, virtue, morality, community, tradition, heritage and our national identity. The Conservative Party would, in short, be all that its name implied.

This appealed strongly to conflicted voters. It encouraged them to put culture ahead of economics and so unlocked an alliance of middle-class Tories and blue-collar workers who were united more by their values than economic experience. In just four years, the percentage of Leavers voting Conservative rocketed from 44% in 2015 to 73% in 2019. This gave Johnson what no Conservative leader had held since Thatcher: true electoral power. It was — and still is — one of the most impressive realignments in history.

But we are barely six months in and already the true believers are starting to ask questions. Speak to activists to the Right of Johnson and you can already spot the seeds of a looming revolt.

They argue that despite having a large majority the Prime Minister has failed to get his arms around an array of issues that are critical to the future health of conservatism. This is less to do with Brexit and more to do with national culture and heritage. They talk of growing threats to freedom of speech and the spread of ‘cancel culture’, how politics is seeping into otherwise neutral institutions like the police, judiciary and civil service, the politicisation of our children through school-backed protests. Then there is the growing confidence of radical ‘woke’ activists, stubbornly high net immigration and illegal migration on the south coast, a willingness among journalists to flout neutrality by indulging in political monologues and the influence of Black Lives Matter, which some describe as ‘a neo-Marxist movement’ with ‘far-Left objectives’.

Not so long ago, after the brutal atrocity at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, the world pledged to defend freedom of speech. Now, only five years later, we seemingly do not have much of a problem with newspapers removing comment editors, publishers refusing to work on books they disagree with and students calling for the sacking of journalists whose views they disagree with.

Activists who as recently as last year played a role in mobilising a revolt on the Right against the Conservative Party complain that there is a ‘moral vacuum’ at the heart of British politics — a failure to stand up against what they see as the relentless, onward march of cultural liberalism. “What are you conserving, Conservatives?” asked one former MEP. “What are you for?”

Conservatives might have political power but they seem to wield remarkably little cultural power. This concern was then put on steroids by the unfolding ‘Statue Wars’ that saw protestors unilaterally tear down or vandalise statues, attack police and desecrate cherished memorials. Rather than view this as an ephemeral by-product of the protests in America it is clear that it is another touchstone of our underlying values divide.

Leavers were horrified by the events. More than eight in ten disapproved of how statues were pulled down without consultation, the same proportion saw the events in Bristol as a ‘criminal act’ and six in ten disapproved of how the police failed to intervene. Many question why it took Conservatives so long to intervene in the debate and worry that much of this is the start of a broader assault on national heritage and culture — and one that is taking place while conservatives are actually running the country. The covering up of the statue of Winston Churchill appeared as a fitting symbol of this general timidity.

It is this growing sense of disillusionment with Johnson’s premiership which now lies behind plans to launch a new movement. Embryonic talks started in the early days of the Great Lockdown and there is talk of significant financial resources. Given that the country no longer holds European elections under a more favourable system of proportional representation these activists contend that the main purpose would be to once again apply indirect rather than direct pressure. It would not be hard, they argue, to attract 8-10% of the vote simply by demanding that the Conservative Party be
 conservative. “Boris has gone very, very wet”, complained one.

Pointing to his own removal from LBC, Nigel Farage has joined the fray. He argues that the Tories failed to draw a distinction between the initial grievance over George Floyd and a much wider assault from the cultural Left, and that “millions of Conservative voters want to see some moral courage not the current cowardice in the face of anarchic Marxism”. Like all outsiders who never became insiders Farage is free to indulge fully in the politics of faith.

There is no doubt that Johnson needs to tread carefully. For one thing, he is leading a very different electorate from the one that pushed Cameron — his old rival — into power. Because of where he started — with his promise — he has become far more dependent on social conservatives. These are voters who on the whole do not want to see a Singapore-on-Thames, do not want the country to be opened up endlessly to foreign investors and Chinese influence, and do not simply want to replace high immigration from inside the EU with high immigration from outside the EU. This latter issue is less important to voters than it once was but Johnson should be reminded that today the number of Conservatives who think that immigration is being badly managed is still greater than the number who think it is being managed well.

It is telling that those who talk of starting a new party initially wanted to call it the ‘Reform Party’ like the movement in Canada that started with the claim that liberal conservatives were selling out conservatism. One question that has always hovered above the Johnson premiership is whether it might turn out to be too liberal to hold the alliance together and prevent the arrival of yet another breakaway movement in British politics. I guess we might be about to find out.

In an earlier era in British politics David Cameron could just about afford to side-step around these social conservatives because he had taken middle-class liberals along for the ride. Johnson is in an entirely different position. The point from where he started will limit his choices and shape his eventual destination. He is thrown out of power by losing a big chunk of conservatives in the face of a renewed progressive alliance. He is kept in power by remembering what got them there and holding up his side of the divide. And that means being something that he sometimes appears to struggle with: a true Conservative.


Matthew Goodwin is Professor of Politics at the University of Kent. His new book, Values, Voice and Virtue: The New British Politics, is out on March 30.

GoodwinMJ

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Andrew Best
Andrew Best
3 years ago

Start defending this country’s history and culture from the woke taliban and you will be in power for a decade.
Take a knee and you will never get back up.
you have nothing to lose but your chains, we did not vote to leave the EU just to have the government become cowards infront of a bunch of idiots.
Stop being cultural cowards

keith Smith
keith Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Raab started this process yesterday did he not?

keninpaphos
keninpaphos
3 years ago
Reply to  keith Smith

But then backpedalled in his later tweet (under orders?)

tmglobalrecruitment
tmglobalrecruitment
3 years ago
Reply to  keninpaphos

hmmm only a bit – still ok there

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

This a million times.

Jonathan Marshall
Jonathan Marshall
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

You’ve got it in one. Andrew. I was prepared to cut Boris a bit of slack, as he was very seriously ill, has a new baby and has had to cope with the current crisis, but I’m beginning to lose my patience.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Exactly.

sean9
sean9
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

Andrew, bang on!

Based on performance to date, Boris and Cabinet have no idea what small “c” “conservative” is.

For me, there is clearly a ‘Mindset’ issue. Too many ‘Blue Pill’ mindset MPs and Civil Service, and not enough ‘Red Pill’, ‘can-do’, ‘make-it-happen’ people in Cabinet and Tory MPs. Still too many Blairites and LibDems masquerading as conservatives.

One thing for sure we learned from Brexit Ref and since, is that there are lots of very smart, rock solid democrats, who are true UK ‘patriots’, that are classically ‘Left leaning’, like Claire Fox, Brendan O’Neill (Spiked-Online), Kate Hoey, Gisela Stuart, Frank Field. Having Voted Tory my whole life, from what I’ve seen and learned, I would rather go into battle with them, than any of the large majority of Tory Remainers MPs.

So many traditional Tory/Labour Brexit Party supporters, only voted for Boris at GE2019, to keep Corbyn’s Labour out, otherwise would have voted BP and been King-Maker in a Coalition with Tories…..

Last chance saloon for Tories. If Boris, Dom Cummings et al cannot see this staring at them, then they simply are not good enough, not up to it, and do not deserve it……

I hope for All UK and great GROWTH, that they step up.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

I trust someone In Downing Street is monitoring your comments, both this one and a previous one, about a week ago. If I may say so, both have been outstanding and have been massively applauded, as they justly deserve.
You have an uncanny knack of going straight to the heart of the problem and then eviscerating it with a few pithy comments.
To someone of my decrepit situation it is really heartening to know that the country is alive and well and you and your fellows are going to reject these woke cretins and stand up for what is great about this funny little rain swept island, anchored off the north west coast of Europe. An island that has had a greater, and largely benign influence on World History, than any power since the days of Ancient Rome.
Well done.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Best

“Start defending this country’s history and culture from the woke taliban and you will be in power for a decade.”

With a majority of 80, and a very real risk of Scotland leaving the Union, this government is in power for a decade anyway. But what history/culture should we be defending, and what history/culture is actually under credible threat?

Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

I think that weakness contained within the government is one thing but when this weakness infects the police and law enforcement a whole more scary problem emerges. Once we have lost as a country the ability to enforce or give power to the law anarchy and lawlessness will surely take root and blossom. The strong and aggressive and organised will roam the streets openly enforcing their personnel will and their desires as they see fit, safe in the knowledge there will be no consequences for them. I think the solution can only really come from the top and would suggest that any government minister who does not openly defend the laws of the land has only 2 choices either campaign in parliament to get them changed or leave the government. Any MP in general who makes excuses for lawlessness should be considered as an accomplice either before or after the fact and treated accordingly.
In a similar manner while the police on the ground must always be empowered to use their discretion in real time and should not be micro-managed, their commanders and senior officers should be lead the way and be accountable to ensure their focus remains closely within the sphere of law enforcement, rather than the more expanded roles of social services or politics that they seem to have taken on for themselves over recent decades.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

None of the personnel involved in the long term establishing of Marxist inspired anti-conservative ‘political correctness’ as the working ideology in all our Institutions have been removed or even challenged – including the leadership of the embarrassing Metropolitan Police. Until this is achieved Johnson will just be endorsing the policies of the ranked opponents of Conservatism and New Labour re-treads.

When challenged on the wisdom of many his polices Blair would ask what was stopping him – when told ‘nothing’ – he just carried on. Johnson it seems has now back -tracked and self-censored before being asked. The fact is though that Johnson is closer to Blair than he is to Thatcher. She was just “an electioneering device ” to secure a particular vote.

Johnson has in effect – apart that is from Cummings- simply endorsed the Establishment that gave us Blair, Brown, Cameron and May, (who sold-off the water cannon he bought to deal with riots in London as being ‘inappropriate’).

I think Priti Patel’s deafening silence and subsequent failure to sense the mood of Conservatives and act decisively over the increased stream of illegal immigration welcomed at Folkestone was the signal that this is not the Conservative Government we thought we had elected.

Where do we go from here?

Jonathan da Silva
Jonathan da Silva
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

No offense there are very few Marxists and most often are older than me [55].
Many are not revolutionary and certainly not on marches. Why do so many use this insane false flag AstroTurfing? Been reading Russian backed stuff?

Marx himself was not exactly politically correct. Why would anyone speak about things with certainty they know nothing about. Do you really think BLM in the UK have many who read Das Kapital???? Really?

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

If evidence shows that policing gets better results by de-escalating situations, or engaging with communities, what’s wrong with that?
When it comes to statue-toppling, not only did the government say forcefully that it was wrong, but the Labour opposition did as well.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

It wasn’t a good look to see police running away or “taking the knee”. Nor the absurd sentencing disparity between a drunk man and those who broke lockdown and illegally toppled statues and defaced memorials.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

I don’t know. Taking the knee in solidarity seems quite smart. But I agree the sentencing for the peeing incident was ridiculously harsh.

chester dame
chester dame
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

“I don’t know. Taking the knee in solidarity seems quite smart.”

It’s a slippery slope for any police force to be seen favouring an ideology no matter how morally just it may seem in the context of a protest or riot.

While it has definitely been laxed over the last couple decades in terms of ‘pride’ ‘Notting hill carnival’ etc. I believe the police should remain natural to any and all movements they police.

However I do think there is a fine line between pandering and public engagement so its a tricky one.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

Except that actions speak loader than words. Let’s see some action.

Terry Needham
Terry Needham
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

“When it comes to statue-toppling, not only did the government say forcefully that it was wrong, but the Labour opposition did as well.”

Unfortunately the police didn’t. They got on their knees. And when they got up it was to run away.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Terry Needham

I don’t think the police took the knee at that Bristol demo did they?

Pretty much everyone agrees that pulling down the statue was wrong, but most people also agree that it should have been removed before. The police may have had good grounds to not escalate such a situation.

Roger Sponge
Roger Sponge
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

If “most people” thought the statue was wrong, they’d have voted out the Labour Council for letting it stand.

“The police may have had good grounds to not escalate such a situation.” But they did by earning contempt and ridicule for their one sided application of the law.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger Sponge

“If “most people” thought the statue was wrong, they’d have voted out the Labour Council for letting it stand.”

As you know, elections are rarely single issue affairs. My point was that most people in the country thought the statue was wrong once they learned about it.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Craddock

Their commanders and senior officers are the problem, e.g. Cressida D ic k,
or the senior commander who hid in his car whilst PC Keith Palmer was murdered.

Robin P
Robin P
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

So you reckon the commander should have run towards a knife attacker instead. For what point? Do you yourself tackle knife-armed assailants very often? What’s your survival rate?

D Glover
D Glover
3 years ago

‘the percentage of Leavers voting Conservative rocketed from 44% in 2015 to 73% in 2019’

That’s because Farage stood down his candidates in every Tory-held seat. Leavers had to vote Tory, even if they held their noses while doing so.
Boris, typically, made no reciprocal gift to the BP.

Lex Pagani
Lex Pagani
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Well said.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Why should he?

D Glover
D Glover
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Remember the May 2019 Euro election. The BP got 30.5% of the vote; the Tories got 8.8%.
If the BP had stood everywhere then Boris couldn’t have won.
We might be under a Tory/BP coalition, or we might well be under Corbyn.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Even so, why should Boris reciprocate? The duty he owes is towards the electorate, not the Brexit Party.

D Glover
D Glover
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

There’s a very good assessment of Boris by Mark Steyn, who knows him well. His only duty is to himself.
https://www.steynonline.com

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Missing the point.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

If Boris wanted Brexit and the Brexit Party wanted Brexit, where is the harm in standing down some Tory candidates in areas where the Brexit Party could have won? It would have been a show of solidarity and a generous act. With your question “Why should Boris reciprocate” you are implying that Boris is some sort of Machiavellian politician out for power as his first objective. It’s not a good look, so that’s one reason. But I suppose had Boris done this, you would have called him stupid. But I thought polling always showed that the public don’t like Punch and Judy politics.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Exactly. That’s the point. His duty is towards the electorate, and they made it clear what they wanted. And it’s not the erasure of our culture.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Lucy Smex

Quite right.

Paul Boizot
Paul Boizot
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

Euro-elections were held under a PR system, so you could actually vote for the party you liked most. Westminster elections are held under the obnoxious first-past-the-post, so many people feel pressured to vote for the party that they think is most likely to defeat the big party that they like the least. Also a vote in Euro-elections does not help elect a government, so it is easier, as in Westminster by-elections, to cast a “protest vote”. The Greens got – was it over 20%? – in the 1989 Euros, but still not a single MP in the following General Election. I accept that Brexit Party support was on a bigger scale for a while in some areas of the country, and may have been enough to scupper the Tories if they had stood in the general election, but one cannot infer too much from Euro results.

Tris Torrance
Tris Torrance
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

If Farage re-emerges leading a reform party with an interesting mix of Left and Right policies all attractive to working and middle class Conservatives, I don’t think he would be cutting Johnson any breaks then. And I think Farage could do very well.

Helen Barbara Doyle
Helen Barbara Doyle
3 years ago
Reply to  D Glover

The BXP bet the house on Boris winning the same number of seats, and their taking enough off Labour to hold the balance of power.

They didn’t want Boris to win a majority and did their best, by criticising the Cons 24/7, to stop him.

Boris won despite their best efforts and has nothing to be grateful to them for. Had they stood in 20+ Labour held seats and concentrated all their funds and effort there they might well have won them. It they were greedy and stupid and damn near lost us Brexit.

How many deposit did they lose, and did the poor benighted candidates have to stump up?

benbow01
benbow01
3 years ago

What Johnson it appears does not understand, but Thatcher did, is those who might be called ‘working class’, are conservative (small ‘c’). They believe in ambition, aspiration and working hard to achieve it – a tradition of which they are rightly proud . They have a social conscience, but don’t like free-riders who are lazy, don’t pull their weight, play the system.

They don’t want grand plans for roads and railways of which the North has plenty. There are plenty of industrial sites vacant and infrastructure enough. They want Government at all levels to stop its pettiness, stop concentrating on things they don’t care about, like ‘transgender’, and focus on creating the economic climate where folk can ‘get on’ in life.

Johnson’s modus operandi is hose money about and build things.

Richard Gandy
Richard Gandy
3 years ago
Reply to  benbow01

Contend with the part about Infrastructure in the north,an hour to get 45 miles Leeds to Manchester, nearly 2 from Leeds to Liverpool,and 45 mins quickest to Sheffield.acriss the moors only from Sheffield to Manchester in a single carriageway. 2 carriage trains from Leeds to sat Blackpool during the week,, 9 from London to Norwich on a weekend

darren
darren
3 years ago
Reply to  benbow01

Mostly things no one wants, like bridges that no one asked for. He has a a thing about bribes, doesn’t he?

And to reduce the “working class”to a single monoculture is a very dangerous thing. Yes, there are many who you describe as small c conservative, but that base is aging, and has been for some time.

“They don’t want grand plans for roads and railways of which the North has plenty.”
Really? Tried using trains in the north, the road networks, or God help you, a bus? Especially outside the biggest cities? People who do have to commute *are* angry about the huge disproportionate amount of money spent on things like the crossrail projects in London, when little of it gets out to the wind-blasted provinces, and does affect the quality of daily life. And there is real anger about public services being cut. It’s all very well saying you want small government, but people tend to change their tune when it’s *their* care facilities or library being closed down. Rather all the business sectors who my have wanted Brexit, now wanting their own particular exceptions to cushion them from the effects.

Part of the longer term problem is that people have been conditioned in the neo-liberal era to focus primarily on their own welfare, without considering that that has wider impacts in society. If the recent pandemic is showing us anything, it’s how exquisitely interconnected we all are, and how much we rely on each other at basic levels for society to work at all. I hope people don’t forget that, because that’s what moderate socialism actually means – thinking about the interests of society as a whole, not just the interest groups who knock on the door to lobby and pour money in. And usually, the people who need help the most are the ones least able to vocalise it in that way, through “the usual channels”, because those channels have been created for the benefit of those who use them most..
.

Adam Huntley
Adam Huntley
3 years ago

Unfortunately the Tory MPs who voted for Boris thought they were getting Churchill, but it turned out they got Bertie Wooster

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

Or even Billy Bunter.

keith Smith
keith Smith
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

Until BREXIT is done I am not sure that we can know the truth. There are so many inside trying to reverse BREXIT it might be that not fighting too many wars at once is the right decision. After all he did not buckle to the mob over Cummings.

The Jury is out in my view.

Kathy Lang
Kathy Lang
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

Worse – Wooster or Bunter without being funny.

chris j
chris j
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

The work experience lad has been setting strategy since March

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

Agree!

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Adam Huntley

No one thought he was Churchill, but they definitely didn’t want another May or Blair.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago

I support the Tories, but do resent their failure to crack down on the Black Lives Matter fascists.

Tom Adams
Tom Adams
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

That’s ALL you resent?

Paul Lock
Paul Lock
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

In what way are they – this supposedly homogenous group – fascists? I cringe at the sight of white, middle class virtue-signallers ‘taking the knee’ but to deny the justification of the BLM cause and call its core supporters fascists sounds like Rik from the Young Ones – juvenile and lazy.

John Kirk
John Kirk
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

What fascism is, is debatable. I agree with those who think it is about political means rather than ends. On this view it is not necessarily right wing. The chief characteristics of fascist methods in pursuit of whatever ideologies and policies, include ” the exaltation of youth, the cult of force through direct action, the principle of the superiority of state political power in social life” to quote Salazar, the Portuguese dictator in mid 20th century. See Wikipedia article on Fascism in Europe.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

For those in doubt, please go to the BLM website and read their intended aims. It has nothing to do with the value of black lives, it is anarchy, destruction of family, etc.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

If you go on to the BLM website you will see what their true cause is. Racism is the front, Marxism is the cause.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

BLM’s stated intention is to dismantle capitalism, ergo they’re communists, and communism is fascism. QED.

poacheruk
poacheruk
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Yep, its a truth the left hate, but ALL left wing doctrines eventually arrive at fascism, and Nazism is a form of dissident Marxism. You can spot the signs because they ALL become antisemitic at some point, BLM has antisemitics, and the UK Labour party has the antisemitic Momentum party-in-a-party

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
3 years ago
Reply to  poacheruk

Exactly.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

You’re right. They’re Marxists. One of the BLM founders, Patrisse Cullors has said so.

https://www.thegatewaypundi

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Lock

We used to call such people ‘yobbos’, what’s wrong with that? It’s gender neutral, apolitical, class free, non racist, and very traditional.
To call them anything else, only encourages them. Yobs they are, and yobs they shall remain.

Alexander Allan
Alexander Allan
3 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

BLM is a marxists orgainisation

Mark Graham
Mark Graham
3 years ago

The problem actually is that the Government and the electorate may be “conservative”, but the organs of the State, along with Police, Law and the broadcast media, are not. This is the result of 30 years of left leaning infiltration. Call it woke, call it common purpose, call it New Labour, call it whatever you want, but it’s there, hiding in plain sight.
So how do you get anything done, short of a programme of purging these institutions?
This may, ultimately, be necessary for the “conservative” message to survive. Right now, the Conservative Party appears not to have the stomach for it. I don’t think it ever did.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Graham

1st paragraph, spot on!

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Graham

Not since the regicide of Mrs T, for certain.

Lex Pagani
Lex Pagani
3 years ago

For a brief moment Raab self-identified as a small-c, vertebrate conservative but capitulated the minute Twitter and MSM generated their very predictable woke-storm.

Anyway, Tory party direct debit cancelled and reallocated to the Brexit Party. Not that I voted for it – I just think Farage is the last person left in British politics with a spine.

p.s. another excellent article from this wonderful new platform. Keep up the good work.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Lex Pagani

I don’t mind his being emollient later. He got the message out and broke the taboo. The movement has been demystified at the highest level of Government. First they bayed for his blood and now they have hushed it all up. What does that tell you? He hit home.

Paul Theato
Paul Theato
3 years ago

Theresa May was by a furlong and a half the most terrible Conservative leader in history. Her predecessor, Cameron, was little better (very little). Neither were conservative and both had scant regard for the people who had unwittingly put them into power. Unbelievably, the progressive ex Mayor of London and left-liberal eccentric, Johnson, could go down as the worst of the lot. Nothing being done to protect and defend (to the political death if necessary) British culture and history; the almost incredible and politically lethal expression of support for far-left, racist movements and other radical ideologies; nothing being done to rid the police of its hard-left, knee-bending leadership and to protect front-line officers; nothing being done to defend free speech; nothing being done to moderate legal immigration and to end illegal immigration; and the destruction of the economy through a knee-jerk reaction to a virus that is not the bubonic plague and as a direct result of failed domestic and foreign policy.

Anna Clare Bryson
Anna Clare Bryson
3 years ago

To be fair, hard pressed as it is by the Covid-19 crisis, since this latest phase of the culture wars exploded, the government has had very little room for manoeuvre or opportunity to display conservative credentials in a rational way. I think that after the first shock – and obviously the fear of massive civil unrest (which as always leads right as well as left regimes to crack down harder on “rightwing” street elements than on Muslims, or now BLM protester…) – we will see Johnson finding opportunities for a more considered fightback.

One early sign is the uncompromising decision to have that the new commission on racial inequalities headed up by Munira Mirzah, an opponent of identity politics, who has additionally signalled that she will be working with Trevor Phillips. I also anticipate that Saddiq Khan’s probably unwise declared intention to set up his “Diversity Commission” to review all London monuments and street names, will provide opportunities for the government to act the “grown up” in response.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago

Another sign is the merger of FCO and DIFD. The establishment are livid at that.

Geoff Cox
Geoff Cox
3 years ago

I’ve given you an uptick, because I really hope you are right!

darren
darren
3 years ago

“To be fair to Johnson his premiership has turned into something that neither he nor we expected.”

Well, to be entirely fair, quire a lot of us did expect he was going to be useless. We just didn’t know in which context that incompetence would be fully played out, and just how many bodies it would involve. Quite a lot of us were just expecting it to be Brexit, not this too.

Monica Mee
Monica Mee
3 years ago

How quickly people, even commentators forget. Boris Johnson didn’t win the election, Jeremy Corbyn (remember him?) lost it. Faced by the monumental incompetance, factional infighting, racism and spending plans of the Labour Party, that would have brought the country economically to its knees faster than COVID 19. Labour party voters departed in droves to the Conservatives, who up until recently had a reputaion for good management and efficiency, even if they lacked any social conscience.

Since COVID the position has been reversed. We are now faced with a managerially incompetent Conservative party with a leader who we are discovering really is the blundering blustering fool some of us always thought he was and a Labour Perty led by a competent man with a very successful legal career behind him. The result is that after 5 years of watching various Conservative PM’s making mincemeat of Corbyn, we now see Starmer doing the same to Johnson.

Life is going in reverse, the next election will not be won by Labour, it will be lost by the Conservatives, unless they do a very rapid about turn and ditch the current Prime Minister and hunt around amont the nonenities that make up his cabinet to see, if perchance, just one of them has the seeds of competent leadership. The omens are not good.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Does any of this matter with an 80 seat majority and five years to run? Despite appearances, are Tory MP’s really so bovine as bring down their own government?
Off course not, the elixir of power is far too strong, and for the really stroppy ones there is always the
House of Lords, which their wives at least, will enjoy.

darren
darren
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Well, David Cameron thought he’d probably get a full five years under the FTP Act back in May 2015. Look how that one played out.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  darren

A bad attack of LMF (Lack of Moral Fibre).

Graham Evans
Graham Evans
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

The strength of the Tory party is to dump leaders who no longer appeal to a clear majority of voters. Tory MPs won’t bring a Tory Government down, but that won’t stop them bringing Johnson down.

Leon Wivlow
Leon Wivlow
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Yes, it does matter. Never underestmate the Tories when it comes to removing their leaders -Theresa May, William Hague, even Mrs Thatcher…Presently Boris seems to be courting popularity from people who will never vote for him. A couple of bad sets of local elections and he could be on a sticky wicket particularly if he takes Tory voters and the red wall for granted whilst pandering to BLM etc. I think it was Mandelson who said -who else are they going to vote for? Look how that worked out for the Labour Party.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

It matters if what we have is just continuity Blair – Cameron – May.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  David Probert

Who will save us from this turbulent PM?

Kathy Lang
Kathy Lang
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Agree with everything but the last line… no wife of integrity – and there are some – should rejoice at their husband’s betrayal of shared values.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago
Reply to  Kathy Lang

Agreed.
However I have heard many conversations that go along the lines of ” No Mr Dogsbolloks you may not wish to go the House of Lords, but your wife will love to be Lady Dogsbolloks, particularly when she is booking a table at The Savoy for example” Venality is far too prevalent in our political classes.

Julia H
Julia H
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

They don’t need to bring down their own government. They just need to replace their leader. History has shown that they are ruthless enough to do so.

Basil Chamberlain
Basil Chamberlain
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Corby

Less than four years to run, don’t forget. Under the Fixed Term Parliament Act the next election is due at the beginning of May, 2024.

The 80-seat majority is security for the Conservative Party but might not be security for the Prime Minister. After all, as several posters have commented already, the Tories have never been shy about deposing leaders they think will be an electoral liability.

Mark Corby
Mark Corby
3 years ago

Thank you for correcting me.
I fully take your point about the PM.
As you probably guessed I was attempting to fathom the depth of discontent that appears to be growing about his faltering leadership.
After Brexit, Boris seemed destined for the heavens, unfortunately like Icarus, the wax has melted rather earlier than expected, and he now appears to be hurtling to oblivion.
As a recent Triumphator, Boris Johnson, KS, seems to have forgotten the momento mori of his accompanying ‘slave(s)’.

Mark Roberts
Mark Roberts
3 years ago

There is a structural problem at the heart of our democratic system. There is an overriding incentive for a serious political party, like the Conservatives, to elect a leader with the most popular appeal and hence to be the person who is the most likely to win a general election. However, this far from guarantees that this same person will also have the character and competencies that the executive position of prime minister in our system requires.

Paul Boizot
Paul Boizot
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Roberts

Even more of a structural problem is the one that gives a party an 80+ majority in seats, on a minority of votes cast.

sean9
sean9
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Roberts

Mark, perhaps it comes down to First Past the Post vs Proportional Representation…

Whilst on the face of it PR seems fairer and more appropriate, all the constipated coalitions in Europe, and all the hundreds of successful years of UK Parliament, suggest FPTP and no written Constitution should stay……

Thoughts…?

PS – surely circa 56 Scotish MPs it totally disproportionate and this needs to be changed. Maybe an English Parliament, and more power to the Regions like Yorkshire etc., whose GDP is bigger than most UK regions…

chris j
chris j
3 years ago

Perhaps next time Nigel won’t fold. A modern Lord Protector is required now. And next time it’ll be to save the country from all the old parties, who all have stagnated into this current swamp where we have no way, or sway, about the future of the UK.
Damn them all

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  chris j

Farage isn’t up to it. He has shown himself to be morally flawed this last few months. Too bitter and vengeful over the election to be able to comment wisely, and too lazy or too dishonest to give a fair account.

D Herman
D Herman
3 years ago

Prof. Goodwin, Thank you for an excellent article, which is a great summary of the current problems that Boris faces.

I have always been a “centre” conservative – one nation conservative if you like. I dislike unfairness, but believe that a citizen has to have responsibilities as well as rights. I have few prejudices, and certainly none connected to race.

I agree that he does not have enough faith and bends too much in a way that suggests he just wants to avoid criticism and appeal to a demographic that doesn’t really exist.

nick woods
nick woods
3 years ago

Early days for the current government.Boris is a liberal conservative which people seem to have forgotton which why he was able to win in London twice as his act made electors fail to remember his political allegiance.

ray.wacks
ray.wacks
3 years ago

The overwhelming problem is less Boris’ ideological fuzziness than his weak leadership. He presents as a rather bumbling, confused don who has mislaid his lecture notes. And what is especially troubling is that he doesn’t seem to care.

Edward Andrews
Edward Andrews
3 years ago

I’m so sorry for you, but you were well warned before you elected him as leader of your party. I know that this will seem like a personal attack on Johnson, but you can’t say that you weren’t warned, Max Hastings gave you his character and an assessment of his abilities as a previous employer.
Quite simply Johnson is incapable of being an effective Prime Minister because of moral, intellectual and personal failings. You can of course wrap it up in seeking to say things about the background, and express it in political terms. The failure of Johnson – and you notice that he has gone from being Boris, through being Boris Johnson to being Johnson, has simply poisoned the whole body politic.
Personally would never have believed that the shortcomings of one person would go such a long way to destroying a state. Yes he has been unfortunate with Covid, and even the best leaders are having to struggle with this problem, but the very fact that he caught the Virus was not misfortune, but was from carelessness.
When someone is Prime Minister there is actually no place to hide.
In this article we have the revolt from the right being noted. It is only significant in that presumably it is only the right who are going to be in a position and get rid of him. The question is whether they will escape from their fascination with the great actor, and for the good of the country get someone else. Surely the Tory party is not so short of talent that this is be best you can do?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Edward Andrews

Hastings supported him as Mayor and then turned viciously and pettily against him over Brexit. Lots of people did that.

nickandyrose
nickandyrose
3 years ago

A weak government led by a man with no spine is falling in popularity? Who’d’ve thunk it? Time for the Reform Party. The Conservative Party is just another left-of-centre party, squabbling over scraps with other left-of-centre parties. The destruction of our economy and our future, possibly even our pensions and children’s futures, over a spook is totally inexcusable. To see the authorities fail to even maintain law and order on our streets is obscene. And it’s happening on Johnson’s watch. No excuses. Get rid.

Colin Sandford
Colin Sandford
3 years ago

The Government is under siege from all sides at the moment and it’s foot soldiers the NHS, Public Health England, Civil Service and Police are to concentrated on virtue signalling, diversity and PC while all around it falls apart. Better leadership of the public services required.
Substitute the Tories for Labour or Lib Dems and nothing would change as we have seen in the devolved administrations they are equally chaotic with or without corona virus.

Geoffrey Simon Hicking
Geoffrey Simon Hicking
3 years ago

It should be perfectly possible to acknowledge what we’ve done wrong whilst also promoting what we did right. If BLM persist in saying that we never did anything right, the occasional moments when they have a point about something will be lost in the wash of exasperation at their infantilism.

BLM have to start working out what they want done. Toppling statues isn’t enough (why can’t they topple the grotesque modernist statues that infest our cities instead?).

There are some firms that are “repaying” they money they got from slavery by setting up initiatives in the Caribbean. I am doubtful that that will work, but it is better than jumping up and down on a statues and screaming.

Could BLM perhaps buy products from places like Taiwan that are under threat from [Chinese] imperialism? Invest in third world businesses and help make those places richer (and thus less vulnerable to outside intervention)?

If they have to atone for some imperial crime, could they go and apologise to any still-living survivors, instead of sitting over here grumbling?

There is one thing they must do above all. That is to allow the Right to celebrate the better parts of our culture. To allow us to reconstruct our devastated heartlands. We need to rebuild the english parish, restrict unlimited immigration, and teach the achievements of the Royal Navy in wiping out slavery to a white working class that has been betrayed again and again.

To be perfectly honest, I find myself in the weird position of not minding BLM’s desire to talk about the faults of colonialism. The more I read about the left, the more it seems that it was lefties that meddled in foreign societies beyond what the pro-empire conservatives thought appropriate (Dalhousie for one). Then when the empire fell, they came back and signed us up to colonisation by the third world, and imperial domination by the EU and China. Thus, while I am angry at the elite woke establishment for trashing our culture, at the same time I can occasionally understand why some “post-colonial” nationalists blame us for stuff, because, like them, me and millions like me have experienced the soft jackboot of liberal imperialism.

Thus, I want both the saner parts of BLM and the right to succeed. I want the last survivors of our less benevolent actions to forgive us, and I want the people that live here to repair our great country that has been devastated by the liberal imperial impulse.

If that sounds incoherent, I don’t know what else I can say. I want the conservatives to conserve, and I want the left to atone.

So hurry up and implement that immigration plan Boris, alright?!!?

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago

This article may be right, but this seems like a big non-sequitur:
“Delivering Brexit, controlling migration and rebalancing an unequal nation struck a loud chord across Britain’s heartlands. … It was about reasserting all of the things that conservatives feel have been eroded over recent years ” the family, our civic culture, virtue, morality, community, tradition, heritage and our national identity.”
The Brexit and migration issues connect to community, tradition, national identity and heritage, yes. And the rebalancing issue talks to community. But Johnson has never been associated with, or really talked about, “the family, our civic culture, virtue, morality or community”.

In fact, even before the election, his government could be said to have opposed itself to our “civic culture” in rhetoric, campaigning style and prorogation, etc.

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

To reply to myself and clarify:
Delivering Brexit, controlling migration and rebalancing an unequal nation struck a loud chord across Britain’s heartlands” and that seems to be what he is focused on delivering.
He didn’t really campaign on most of “the family, our civic culture, virtue, morality, community, tradition, heritage and our national identity“, and so most of those issues are not ones that won him the election, and so that’s not the focus of his government.

David Lonsdale
David Lonsdale
3 years ago
Reply to  David Jones

Not easy for Boris to extol the virtues of family and morality.

Lexi McGregor
Lexi McGregor
3 years ago

Boris the Bold turned out to be Boris the Bottler. I didn’t vote for him after he supported May’s Withdrawal Agreement, which he described as a suicide vest around the UK. If, after this disastrous and unnecessary lockdown, he messes up Brexit, then he’ll be remembered as a worse failure even than Theresa May.

William MacDougall
William MacDougall
3 years ago

In many ways Boris may be the most left wing Tory Leader in decades (e.g. on spending, immigration, and social issues); don’t be fooled by colourful rhetoric and a European issue that crosses political divides. He won the Red Wall on Brexit and neglect by the Labour Party. Perhaps he’s flexible enough to build a socially conservative movement, but it would go against much of what he’s done in the past and what his government continues to do.

T J Putnam
T J Putnam
3 years ago

Don’t believe this take, Boris &Co. believe they’ve engineered this sort of cultural warfare game and can play it forever, even the idea of a revolt against Government is music to their ears. Morale in No 10 picked up from the moment that statue went in Bristol Harbour, it’s a sign they can pick up where they left off playing the emotions of certain sorts of people ( just look at some of the other comments here, for example.) Where I agree with MG more is that Boris has definitely lost credibility with those who expect things to be run with some recognition of real conditions and here we are still waiting for any sign that things can improve. The more Boris &Co choose to play emotional war games the more they will give up credibility to govern and they become termites in the Tory house, because this has always been the Number One conservative value whatever comes and goes. They would be fools to think the ‘woke taliban’ will be able to save them then.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
3 years ago

An excellent analysis. We shall see if Tories value self-preservation more than inertia, as their only hope of staying in business is to ride the post-Brexit tiger of social conservatism. If they appease the liberal mob, they will disappear into the void, outflanked to both left and right.

David Probert
David Probert
3 years ago

Excellent article!

Exactly what so many are thinking and graciously attributing to Boris’ frightening Covid 19 ‘Sea Change’ experience while we await the return of the much flaunted ‘Boris Mojo’.

No real evidence of that so far and this article comprehensively confirms the misgivings.

Stu White
Stu White
3 years ago

I think this article strongly misses the mark. It suggests middle class graduates are deserting because the Tories are too far right. I would assert the opposite is true. Also, neo-marxists tearing down statues is not a leave / remain thing, and it is foolish to pretend it is.

uztazo
uztazo
3 years ago

If I may.

Let’s start with the full name of the party that is in government today. It is called the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Unionist, as Dicey described it are liberal unionist-nationalists. Their conservatism stops at the Monarchy.

The party is split between conservatives and liberals and has been for decades. I think the last true conservative PM was probably Winston Churchill. Margaret Thatcher in my opinion was a liberal with strong fiscal conservative values.

Fast forward, David Cameron surprisingly emerges. A liberal through and through. He introduced progressive conservatism (whatever that means). His 2009 conservative project spoke of egalitarianism, poverty eradication and a greener Britain. Other than ‘greener’ Britain nothing else is conservative. Cameron sidestepped social and traditional conservative policies for economic policies. In fact he was a champion for liberal social policies such as ‘same-sex marriage bill’ and ‘hug a hoodie’. He could not even make an argument for Britain becoming a sovereign nation. What sort of conservative PM thinks that the single market, the ECJ and the ECHR are in Britain’s interest? His successor was cut from the same cloth.

Enter stage left, Boris Johnson, a continuation of the same liberal gobbledygook. A self-confessed One Nation conservative. An ideology introduced by Disraeli and adopted by von Bismarck. There is little that is conservative about one nation conservatism. It relies heavily on the upper echelons of society cooperating with the government, creating jobs and paying their taxes so that the proletarians and petite bourgeoisies have a decent society to live in. In short, it is Tory socialism.

In fairness to Boris he saw Brexit as an opportunity but not for the reasons traditional and social conservatives see it. Boris is all about global Britain. To him Brexit is an apparatus to explore Britain’s economic potential. Levelling up, gigafactories, broadband, merit-based immigration, free ports are high up his priority list.

I’m afraid he is not the man to defend true conservative values like culture, history and customs. The ones who can, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jesse Norman are deemed ‘unelectable’

Social and traditional values in Britain are quietly vapourising. Too many in the cabinet view it as a Pandora’s box. For example, how does a PM openly advocate pro-life or marriage in a liberal secular society that Britain has become? It is a hard sell and not one CCHQ would want on its manifesto leaflet. Or more recently, how would Boris be perceived if he took a firm position on the recent BLM ‘peaceful’ protests and called it out for what it was. Or if he took a similar position like Raab who said “I kneel to no one but the Queen and the Mrs”? The two minute hate would have to be extended to five. Remember the fuss the ‘letter box’ kicked up?

I think Boris would probably stick to Brexit and leave the rest to public opinion.

Tim Rowe
Tim Rowe
3 years ago

I think the Tory right should be careful Margaret Thatcher went so far right that she let Tony Blair take the middle ground. With the Corbyn shift to the left it has left the middle ground open. If Boris holds the ground he has currently occupied he will be in power as long as he wants to be. His great manoeuvre was when he became Prime Minister He immediately set out significant spending package, NHS funding, 50K more police on the streets etc. When Labour eventually succumbed to a general election Labour had to outdo the Conservative spending programme. Of course the British people saw this package for what it was. Complete and utter nonsense and total pie in the sky. Boris must occupy these middle grounds to remain in power for a longer term.

David Lonsdale
David Lonsdale
3 years ago

Opposition to the Conservatives extends beyond the Labour benches to all the institutions of power, thanks to Tony Blair who recognised that losing an election did not need to mean that you lost power. His placemen are in the Police, the civil service, particularly the education department, the many Quangos, the Universities the teaching profession and overwhelmingly, the media.

They government are further hamstrung by our membership of the European Convention on Human Rights, from which we may not withdraw as long as we are in the transition. Suella Braverman wrote an article a couple of years ago advocating our withdrawal from the ECHR, so the intent is there, subject to the Party in Parliament supporting her. As long as we are subject to the ECHR we cannot arbitrarily remove illegal immigrants from our shores without jumping through a myriad of hoops. The Human Rights Act will also have to change to avoid law being made by activist judges. When the government are seen to be removing illegal immigrants in droves, a large chunk of the current discontent will be removed.

Replacing dozens of Chiefs of Police cannot be done overnight, but it needs to be done as soon as Brexit and Covid are not taking up government time. We seem to have a number of senior policemen who are not too interested in upholding the law unless it relates to name calling.

Pressure can be put on universities by restricting funding if they cancel speakers with whom they disagree. The folk in the universities who should be removed are those who openly oppose freedom of speech. Let those who propose neo Marxism make the case for such in an open forum with those who disagree so that universities once again become the hotbed of ideas.

The civil service needs root and branch reform. Its purpose is to advise the government and to carry out government policy, it is not to usurp power from those whom we elect.

The fundamentals of the moral compass followed by conservatives have been consistently undermined by our educators, who see it as their duty not to educate our children but to make them in their image. They put themselves above the parents, who find themselves falling foul of the law if they remove their children from school when they object to morally inappropriate teaching. Education is a huge Marxist swamp, but we need to make a start somewhere. Abolishing sex education would remove the vehicle that is most used to abuse the purpose of education. I may be old fashioned but I see the teaching of Maths and English as being more useful to the child than spending time teaching them how to ‘pleasure themselves’, to use a Lib/Dem euphemism in one of their pamphlets.

Any Conservative government, even one led by Farage, would have found itself up to its thighs in treacle. Draining the swamp will not be done overnight, but without a doubt the culture war must be engaged.

Tris Torrance
Tris Torrance
3 years ago

For a quick appreciation of how badly things have gone for the Conservatives, we need only take ourselves back to the morning after Boris won his 80 seat majority.

Using that perspective, imagine the public outcry and Boris and the cabinet’s response, had the cenotaph and Churchill’s statues been desecrated, as has now occurred.

What on earth went wrong? And why is it still uncorrected?

arnoldattard
arnoldattard
3 years ago

You say so, but you seem to forget that the Boris Government is the only one in Europe at least, who may come up with the ultimate solution to the Covid tragegedy: THE VACCINE!

Steve Gwynne
Steve Gwynne
3 years ago

I think the apparent lack of competence is driving Boris’s popularity downwards with support for the Conservative Party remaining buoyant at the 43% that won the Tories the election.

But the incompetence is in reality the exposed fragilities of a class based Civil Service system as aptly highlighted by the take no prisoners Juliet Samuel.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk

In this respect, I think the Brexit Party was getting it right, with their clear headed business approach towards politics and having experienced and proven business personnel running civil service departments and ministries.

Surely it is the effective business mind that can better conceptualise, process and produce public goods and services compared to a prestigious ‘Rolls Royce’ degree in PPE or Law.

The context of Philosophy, politics and economics is important and should play an important advisory role but politics plays too much of an important role in the ‘Corridors of Power (C. P. Snow)’ which again is largely determined by the political infighting amongst the upper echelons of class.

It is like we are still living Feudalism with its constant battles within the Court when what we desperately need is a thoroughly modern perspective that is driven by evidence based policy, business acumen and cutting edge ideas.

It it Class and Class dynamics that is entropising our public systems and producing such high levels of incompetence. Within that increasing stagnancy, common sense and the highest good are driven out in favour of maintaining status and privilages within a sclerotic class based Civil Service and Public Sector system.

Can Boris turn this around in 5 short years or will the abject incompetence of our class based Civil Service win out.

Lucy Smex
Lucy Smex
3 years ago

how politics is seeping into otherwise neutral institutions like the police, judiciary and civil service, the politicisation of our children through school-backed protests

These institutions haven’t been neutral for some time, and politics took them over a long time ago. Where has this writer been? It’s been this way and getting worse since the Blair era. The Tories have not only failed to resist the left-wing takeover of the majority of our institutions, it’s joined in. Look at the CPS under May, the appointment of Alison Saunders, the expansion of legislation based on immutable characteristics, and none of them in favour of the white natives of this country. The blind eye turned to the rape gangs across the country, and the failure to publish the investigation into this activity. The blatant hypocrisy and double standards applied by media and politicians alike towards the “mostly peaceful” violent BLM protests versus the “extreme far right, and did we mention far right extremists” opposing protests.
The ludicrously named Conservative party has sought to conserve nothing, fails to protect our borders, our culture and heritage. In the face of a Marxist-led revolution, they’ve done the same as the Republicans in the U.S. and appeased those prepared to use violence to get what they want.
They have no ideology bar remaining in power. They pave the way for some real far right movement, not the centrist/centre right that everyone is so quick to condemn as far right and racist whilst failing to offer any evidence of such, except that they’re not far left.
The only message that they give is that violence and rioting works, but only if it’s not the same side as the fake Conservatives.

derekgeorgeemery
derekgeorgeemery
3 years ago

All UK politicians are hopeless at science and technology (not100% but think it’s part of the selection procedure to be clueless about science).
Conservatives were bound to fail at Covid-19 and be a late runner at reacting. Most UK politicians are too self- important to understand science. Science is basically beneath their dignity..

cardiffchinese
cardiffchinese
3 years ago

Open new grammar and technical schools!

David Jones
David Jones
3 years ago

To return to this: “Delivering Brexit, controlling migration and rebalancing an unequal nation” were the focus of the election campaign and hence the focus of this government so far.

If policies supporting “the family, our civic culture, virtue, morality or community” are missing, what should those policies be? Were there any in the manifesto?

Peter KE
Peter KE
3 years ago

Interesting article. I live in hope BJ will find the clarity and sense of purpose needed. Maybe a clear out of the Blair’s/Brown acolytes would be a start along with the quangos and civil service.

tmglobalrecruitment
tmglobalrecruitment
3 years ago

His abscence is all telling – out of his depth and scared to act. Whether it be BLM, Covid, school dinners, reliance on pseudo scientists or whatever. He has been dismal.

Alan Matthes
Alan Matthes
3 years ago

Very well observed comments here. Does anyone get the feeling that nowadays politicians are bending over backwards to be as ‘agreeable’ as possible and decisions are based on navigating the least controversial path rather than persue their convictions?
If he isn’t prepared to tread on some toes Boris should not have put the boots on.

D W
D W
3 years ago

This is really good news that efforts are under way to set up a new party with truly conservative values. Who is leading them, how could one join?

chester dame
chester dame
3 years ago

I realise politics are a slow game. However myself and others have become frustrated with all the talk from the likes of Priti Patel with no real palpable change to show for it.

Policing needs reform and ‘un-castrated’, as much as a politician can do, as I am well aware that they don’t have much say in the police rightly so.

The channel border needs critical reform. Despite all the ‘talks’ with the French to stop the crossings, many people are still getting over.

Deporting foreign criminals/migrants/asylum seekers needs to be prioritised by Priti. However to do so there needs to be a mature look at the Human rights act and if it should be abolished and tailored to the UK as is it not serving the British public well enough and seems to favour criminals more.

Boris has a firm majority however and I realise this Virus has understandably taken the wind our of his sales however time is ticking and he needs to make PALPABLE change which his voters can see and feel if he wants to maintain support and I think his part could comfortably move further to the right and still maintain support.

alija18
alija18
3 years ago

Interesting that this makes no mention of Johnson government’s profligate spending plans and budgets- pre Covid19 included. I’ve been a staunch Tory voter all my life, and defended Boris against his many dissenters.

However, watching him turn from Boris to Corbyn has been an exercise in humiliation.

benmcphilips
benmcphilips
3 years ago

‘Metropolitan opinion ‘ is the great distorting lense through which so many issues are discussed and gives a wholly misleading impression of who the rest of us are and what we want.

Our views are rarely taken into account by the mainstream media which is why I welcome the multiple on-line platforms springing up all over the place which enable our views to be expressed in public for the first time ever.
It will take a generation to reform th country. Consider for a moment our public institutions: the quangos, the judiciary, the House of Lords, the civil service, the BMA, the teaching unions, the teacher training colleges, the universities, the BBC, the Church of England, Ch4, local government, the Arts Council, Corporate HR departments, Sky News etc etc.

No wonder every Tory victory ends up feeling like a defeat. Our institutions are stuffed to the gills with lefties. The counter cultural revolution must start here with a thorough overhaul.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
3 years ago

It seems Boris and his government have ditched conservatism and have signed up for the Bill and Melinda agenda. It is not just a matter of global vaccination. Along with that comes “health surveillance”, which in turn brings increased state control and a plethora of restrictions.

The cultural heritage and activities of our country matters not a jot to these global influencers. Just one example; Boris has plowed millions into GAVI to guarantee a ‘healthy’ vaccine market, while allowing cancellations of trials (that have been rigged) of an existing treatment (Hydrochloroquine + zinc) that can PREVENT the worse symptoms of Covid 19. A drug that is not patented, so is cheap and is long established, so it’s side effects are already known.

The many doctors that have successfully treated patients with it, have been dismayed at the senseless way it has been ‘trialed’, with patients being givenup to 6 times the normal dose, creating fatalities, that lead to the *conclusion’ that it was too dangerous; a drug that has been used with some success to treat malaria for the past 60 years! All this to ensure that a vaccine is the only form of treatment; the message repeated ad nauseum by Matt Hancock and the MSM.
It does not in fact matter if the vaccine will work, the real goal is ‘track and trace’ for a virus that is NOT dangerous to 98% of the population, no matter how you spin the figures.

When Boris agreed to the lockdown “for our safety”, he said goodbye to a conservative government and opened the doors to greater and greater state control including 77th Brigade surveillance of the population’s communications looking for “disinformation”. This is not conservatism. It appears a new party is needed to role back this insane level of government control.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago

This is a bit of a mish-mash of “the govt should stop people doing stuff I don’t like” talking points, which sounds heavily influenced by American “conservatives” recent advocacy of private business and property as long as that business is doing what you approve of. For example:

Now, only five years later, we seemingly do not have much of a problem with newspapers removing comment editors, publishers refusing to work on books they disagree with and students calling for the sacking of journalists whose views they disagree with.

Not sure what you think a Conservative govt should do about this? Should they be intervening in the decisions of a private business about what they do with their property? Sounds a bit left-wing to me.

Farage can probably gather some more £25 subscriptions from some of the more excitable commenters here on Unhinged (see above, and below), and fair play to him, you can’t con an honest man. Still I’d be surprised if Boris were worried about a man who lost an election to a bloke dressed as a dolphin.

Boris’s real vulnerability is that he’s a chancer who, despite his Churchillian fantasies, is clearly not up to leading the country in hard times, surrounded by a cabinet chosen for compliance rather than ability. You can beat the hapless Corbyn with flannel and slogans, but COVID19 is unmoved. As Richard Feynman said (when investigating another disaster caused by listening to Yes men), “Nature cannot be fooled”.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Paul Wright

It is a fantasy fostered by the opposition and the MSM that the Cabinet is composed of poodles. What they mean is that there aren’t any juicy splits for the MSM to get their teeth into. Raab showed under Mrs May he wasn’t a pushover, and Priti Patel went so far out on a limb in composing her own foreign policy that she got sacked. She was right, of course, and Mrs May and the MSM were wrong. Now she has the entire civil service gunning for her. Not the sign of a poodle. Sunak hasn’t ever looked like a poodle to me but we shall see. Gove and Liz Truss are quite strong minded too. I could go on down the hierarchy.

The PM is a good picker and the Cabinet seem united to me, and working well as a team. But he and they are getting the worst possible press there has ever been, because of Brexit and because they are Conservatives.

Paul Wright
Paul Wright
3 years ago

Matt D’Ancona’s recent podcast (transcript here) on what was going on while Johnson was incapacitated doesn’t inspire confidence in the cabinet’s capabilities:

… the Cabinet was more like a backing band than a team of big beasts. In the great Brexiteer purges of 2019 and the reshuffle in February this year, Boris Johnson had chosen his colleagues for their loyalty rather than their competence. Which meant there was nobody of stature ““ who obviously spoke with the Prime Minister’s full authority and knew his mind ““ to step into his shoes.

As an aside, people who use the phrase “MSM” are almost always lunatics on the far left (“MSM hates our Corbyn”) or the far right (“MSM hates our Nigel”) or the far out (“MSM is backing Bill Gates 5G vaccine chips”, see a few of them on this very article), so you might want to bear in mind the effect the phrase has on sane readers.

Graham Evans
Graham Evans
3 years ago

It is perhaps significant that no one commenting on this article has referred to the behaviour of the right wingers who gathered last Saturday intent on confrontation. Farage, his fellow travellers in the Tory party, and the right wing media have been creating division in the country over decades. These people have been the drivers of the culture wars among the general population. True leadership involves trying to bring people together. Johnson succeeded electorally by dividing them. There is nothing genuinely Conservative in today’s Conservative party, and the problem is the very people Goodwin tells us are now complaining about Johnson’s record as PM.