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Kemi Badenoch has saved the Tories Her campaign provided the party with a route to success

(Jonathan Hordle / ITV via Getty Images)

(Jonathan Hordle / ITV via Getty Images)


July 20, 2022   8 mins

With Kemi Badenoch’s elimination from the race, the Conservative party lost its chance to win a future. After all, the simplest, if least inspiring case to make for Kemi Badenoch was always that of urging the wavering Tory party to glance at her competition. It is difficult for even the most captive lobby creature to summon up much enthusiasm for any of the remaining candidates. The hustings so far have displayed to the nation a party almost entirely devoid of energy or fresh ideas, indeed of any justification for continued rule: should the party lose the next election, historians will say its doom was foretold this week. 

Certainly, we can all exhale with relief that Tugendhat is out — no doubt the nation clawed back a few seconds on the Doomsday Clock with yesterday’s news. Too anodyne and fundamentally pointless for domestic politics, he revealed himself over and over again too as excitable for the foreign affairs whose glamour and excitement he craved just that bit too much. Unfortunately, we already live in exciting times: the nation requires a firmer hand on the rudder than a man of whom the best can be said is that at least he is not Tobias Ellwood.

But what are we left with? Liz Truss’s Thatcher tribute act, stale a generation ago, has now veered discomfitingly into the realms of bodily possession. Her outreach a few years ago to a supposed British millennial cohort of “Uber riding, AirBnB’ing, Deliveroo eating, Freedom Fighters” threatened even then to make late-stage capitalism finally collapse under the weight of its own cringe. But her ruling out, last weekend, of the very idea of the state setting housebuilding targets, let alone meeting them, as a dangerous form of “Stalinism” proves she is a relic of an earlier age.

Equally, a party that devotes as much time as the Conservatives do to complaining about woke excess would deserve every disaster coming to it if it chose Penny Mordaunt, the very archetype of the woke HR administrator, to fill Johnson’s vacant throne. Leaving aside the warnings from party elders such as Lord Frost of her laziness and inattention to detail, the few sincerely-held beliefs that escape the black hole of her personal philosophy for scrutiny are ones alien and unwelcome to British conservatism. Hostile to everything conservatives — if not the Conservative party — hold dear, lambasting even Civilisation’s Sir Kenneth Clark for scoring lowly on the identity politics scoreboard, Mordaunt is the barbarian within the gates of British conservatism. She may, in time, make Labour a perfectly adequate junior minister, but a Tory leader she is not.

This leaves the frontrunner, Sunak, who as chancellor never saw an opportunity for building infrastructure and state resilience he did not wish to quash, and who has managed to achieve the rare feat of combining pledged allegiance to Thatcherite orthodoxy with a tax burden fit for fighting a world war. Is it an argument in favour of his economic prudence that at least he managed to spare his own complex family finances a share in the voters’ misfortune? It is not a case we can imagine doing well on doorsteps a few years into the recession of historic proportions coming our way: a party ready for Rishi, in these circumstances, is simply one desirous of death.

But, then, perhaps the death of the Conservative party would not be the worst outcome, for the nation or British conservatives themselves. As the political philosopher John Gray observed recently, “Brexit was an invitation to fashion a new political economy for this country, which the British political class declined. Red Tories and Blue Labour believed a market state could be replaced by one fostering intermediary institutions and a common life. But they were small minorities in their parties, and there was disagreement among them as to what a post-liberal agenda would entail. The question of the role the British state would serve in future was left unanswered,” so that now “British politics is stuck in a recurring nightmare”, in which the only desperate hope remaining is that perhaps “a larger crisis – perhaps triggered by the deepening impact of war in Ukraine, or major military conflict elsewhere in the world”, can force us out of our rut.

This is the essential question of British politics. The very point of Brexit, and the precise reason the Tory party acquired an army of Red Wall voters whose hopes and desires it discusses with the bemused, slightly fearful anxiety of colonial administrators trying to govern a semi-pacified tribe, is that a majority of the country believes that the current system is not working: Britons are poorer than they should be, while public services are collapsing. The hopes, dreams and desires of the people are not understood, let alone addressed, by their electoral representatives. In just 12 years time, Britain will be a poorer country than Poland: the dozen years of Tory rule that brought us here do not fill us with confidence that the party has a plan to steer us out of our hard landing.

Yet this was precisely the case for Kemi. She, entirely correctly, negged the nation: of all the candidates, she was the one who was willing to address the fact that Britain is not working, and cannot suffer more of the same. The central thrust of her platform was that “it’s time for change”, and that we are held tight “in the grip of an underlying economic, social, cultural and intellectual malaise”. The very first sentence on her campaign website observed that “in 2016 and 2019 our country voted for change, yet still a sense that things aren’t working remains.” Distinguishing herself from her own party’s policies, she declared that “We’ve had a poor decade for living standards,” as while “inflation has made the cost-of-living crisis acute
 the problems go back way further.” Twelve years into a succession of increasingly lacklustre Tory governments, Badenoch was the only candidate offering the possibility of an upward path. Within the narrow parameters of political speech acceptable within the party, she promised to reform the state rather than just offering fantasies of shrinking it, observing that “the machine is not working”, and pledging that “as an engineer, I know how to strip things down and get them to work”.

It is for this reason that Michael Gove, whose political longevity is rooted in a competence that makes him a rare prodigy in his party, backed Kemi, declaring that “Kemi doesn’t just win the argument, she delivers — on getting the Whitehall machine to embark on new policies and on levelling up Britain.” Vague and meaningless though the latter phrase has come to seem, for the last of the Tory big beasts to stake his reputation on an unproven candidate’s ability to direct the machinery of state was surely a dramatic argument in Kemi’s favour.

There is a danger here of overstating her radicalism. Her campaign launch declared that “You can only deliver lower taxes if you stop pretending that the state continues to do everything for your country,” adding that “It’s the scale and structure of government that drives the inefficiencies.” Yet at the same time, taking aim at “crony capitalists” as well as the usual targets, Kemi was the only candidate to address the state’s incapacity rather than merely its size, railing against a cumbersome machinery which “can’t deliver passports and driving licenses on time” and in which “We are spending more than you have ever done, and yet people’s satisfaction with the quality of their day-to-day services is falling.” 

Her argument was that the state should reduce itself to its core priorities, which would “require schools to concentrate on effective whole class teaching of rigorous subjects rather than allocating tight resources to superfluous support staff and peripheral activities” and in which “we should get the police to focus on neighbourhood crime and not waste time and resources worrying about hurt feelings online”. Whatever her rationale for getting there, to achieve a tighter, more competent state on slimmer resources would entail reform of British governance at almost every level: whether or not you liked her framing, this remains a desirable goal in itself.

And indeed, on the multiple domestic crises we face she showed a willingness to use the state, even if only cautiously, that marked her out from the competition. Where Sunak always seemed to be held captive in a small cell underneath the Treasury rather than its master, Kemi proposed to break the Treasury up, creating a new department for economic growth directly answerable to her: a thrilling dash of dirigisme in an otherwise stale debate. On the central issue of housing, she stressed that “I have seen the housing crisis from both the housing department and from my constituency, and I know that supply and delivery [my emphasis] is the problem. We must tackle this in the round to ensure more people can own their own home.” On the cost of living crisis she promised an emergency budget, distinguishing her variant of tax cuts from the competition by stressing that they must be “focused” on “those working hard on low and average incomes”. On the wave of strikes that will follow us through this year’s hard winter, she declared, in a conciliatory tone alien to the other candidates, that “We need to work better with the unions. We need to show them respect.” 

The case made for Kemi by various Tory outlets as a rampaging culture warrior, it must be added, always seemed mistaken in its emphasis. The culture war, tiresome and interminable as it is, is simply a battle for control of the state’s largesse, kept pointlessly alive in the nation’s discourse only as a convenient source of attention and income for the news industry and its roster of tame talking heads. Instead – and this was a major argument in Kemi’s favour – she understood that the culture war is downstream from government funding, and therefore that the only means of finally laying it to rest is by withdrawing the state’s inexplicable subsidy of its identitarian enemies. As she observed, the government has over the past few decades “piled into pressure groups and caved in to every campaigner with a moving message”, draining the state’s budget on sustaining a parasitical caste of activists who frustrate governance at every turn.

The flipside of this imported, baleful emphasis on identity politics was the case for Kemi made by some Conservative commentators that, because she is black, or Nigerian, or a woman, she was somehow “Labour’s worst nightmare.” This was an absurd framing that highlights Conservatism’s unique talent for adopting the worldview of its enemies. Her gender or skin colour were entirely irrelevant to the question of whether or not she was the most capable candidate for the helmsmanship of a great, but troubled and flailing nation. It was this question, and only this question, on which she should be judged, and it is on this question that she rose above her peers. 

She may not have been the reanimated Macmillan I desire (or that my Tory peers fear) but neither was she a zombie Thatcher. Her argument that “we can only deliver long-term prosperity and lower taxes if we deliver a smaller and focused state, alongside a wider pro-growth agenda” may not have strayed very far from Tory boilerplate, but was the least bad of the currently available options: now we don’t even have that. Her argument that she supported, simultaneously, “free markets, limited government [and] a strong nation state” suffered from the same internal contradictions of almost all modern conservatism, the first two being antithetical to the survival of the third. Yet of all the candidates seeking to square this impossible circle, Kemi always seemed the one with the greatest possibility of success, who, at least by aiming for reform, may just have brought good governance in her wake.

The party may not have been persuaded by the case for Kemi, at least this time round, but the enthusiasm she summoned up from the party base, and from conservative commentators of wildly differing stripes, left the Tories with a vision, only partly formed but still powerful, of a successful future. She exits the contest as a strong candidate for the years to come, having made the party listen to a message it must heed if it wishes to exist. As Kemi said, in what we must hope will not become one of the great missed turning points in British history, for the Tories as for the country as a whole, “this is no time for steady as it goes, sinking into decline. It’s time for change.”


Aris Roussinos is an UnHerd columnist and a former war reporter.

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Alphonse Pfarti
Alphonse Pfarti
1 year ago

I’m absolutely gutted that she’s out. A conviction politician who had the support of many rank and file members. Opportunity missed.

Nigel Watson
Nigel Watson
1 year ago

It was always going to be that way https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZvkra76soI&t=9s, 100% guaranteed.

Richard Craven
Richard Craven
1 year ago

Well said.

Peter Lloyd
Peter Lloyd
1 year ago

The persistent preselection of awful leaders is central to how democracy has been tamed in nations with rusted two-party systems. Getting the ‘right man’ is one of the few vital bottlenecks whereby all that follows can be guaranteed.

Britons pay more and more tax for less and less, but London is the global lauderer of money, dirty or otherwise, where the problem really originates. You get rich enough, you never have to contribute anything ever again… and you can still be PM! Nobody involved will risk that changing.

And not one recurring issue, from transvestites to Ukraine, will threaten that scam.

Jonathan Story
Jonathan Story
1 year ago

You should not be surprised.. Three quarter of Tory MPs may reasonably be termed as May-ites, in other words incapable of distinguishing black from right, schooled in pretending they are patriots, and essentially some form of lib dems. Badenoch is strait conservative: compassionate, bright, pro-family, pro-country. The real thing. Recognisably so- but not to these pseuds in Tory dress.

Peter Gardner
Peter Gardner
1 year ago

Great article. Let’s hope Kemi Badenoch at least secures a cabinet position. Not knifing anyone in the back also marks her out and increases our chances of her staying inthe senior ranks and proving more influential.

Just one quibble:
“Her argument that she supported, simultaneously, “free markets, limited government [and] a strong nation state” suffered from the same internal contradictions of almost all modern conservatism, the first two being antithetical to the survival of the third. ”
A strong state is not the same thing as a large state. The problem in UK is that the state is large, not that it is strong. In fact it is not strong. it is crumbling and decaying and its incompetence and inefficiences affect us all because it is large. The difference is what Kemi Badenoch means by focus. The state should be strong by focusing on the things it does well and leaving alone the things it does not do well. Both strong and small. The bloated British state tries to do everything, and does most of it badly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Gardner
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

Quite so. Considering how much money the state collects (as a proportion of the whole) I’ve often wondered how it manages to produce such mediocre results. While some of that mediocrity is down to ‘waste’, I believe much of it is down to ‘administrative overheads’.
Some business have come to realise that a leaner, flatter, managerial structure makes the business fitter. I recommend this realisation to our politicians.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Mediocre? That would be an improvement. It was mediocre before the pandemic: now, it is sclerotic. It it quite shocking, but the public sector has interpreted the supposedly-temporary pandemic arrangements as the establishment of a new set of rights – one in which they get paid the same money for doing less than half the work they used to do.

Fran Martinez
Fran Martinez
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

You are completely right. My GPs find any excuse now to not do in person appointment. Blaming covid as if it were different from any other disease. I don’t know when treatment to patients became conditional on them not having a contagious disease.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Managerialism has destroyed the Public Sector, and the addition of Woke finished it off.
Talking to a nurse in the Cancer Centre at our local big hospital where my wife was being treated for breast cancer (which they ****ed up); 20 years experience, I asked her about management.
Her response, bless her – plain speaking Northerner brought up near where I as in Cheshire.
“Managers? Dickheads with clipboards, who stop us working”

Quite

Warren T
Warren T
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Government is like a cancer, it simply grows in its self interest. As long as the populace demands more and more services, or the government inserts itself into more and more of our lives, it will never cease growing.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren T

But the populace does NOT demand more services. It demands basic services which, it has a right to expect, will be delivered in a fair & equitable way to all those in need of them & who are elligible to receive them & not cut at a whim to provide every new fad with addiional funding at the expense of others. Nor does the populace expect those who break the law of the land or attack it, from without OR within, to benefit from their crimes whilst the law-abiding majority get kicked down again & again!

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

Totally agree. A strong state is not synonymous with a large state, quite the opposite. The word focus sums it up. The British state is morbidly obese and guilty of overrreach. Rather than reform per se of the current system, a better approach would be to start with a blank sheet of paper and design the required state from the ground up. Existing structures, often duplicated, could be migrated into this new model, or axed, as appropriate.

John Tyler
John Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

Spot on!

Warren T
Warren T
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Gleave

I believe that was already tried across the pond in 1776. And even us Yanks are experiencing the same malaise. It may be time for a world war again to reinvigorate folks into fighting for what they believe in.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren T

It seemed to work okay for 200 years or so. I’d say the UK would settle for that result up to 2222 AD and worry about post 2222 when the time comes!

Terry M
Terry M
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren T

Ukraine is showing us a bit of what freedom is worth. Sadly it does take a real crisis, not phony Covid or AGW, to shake us from our slumber.

David C
David C
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

Interesting but that is the path to further privatisation which one can hardly argue a Great British success.

Malvin Marombedza
Malvin Marombedza
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

Quite true. Russia comes to mind.

andy young
andy young
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

I fear her ferocious honesty will have done her no favours with the other candidates. She is the anti-Mordaunt – can you imagine the ructions that would ensue were The Lovely Penny to give her a cabinet post? And I predict neither of the others would risk having her intellectual rigour & proper Conservatism expose their flaccid posturing as they twist in the wind.
In the longer term, however, I suspect it will be a different story.

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
1 year ago
Reply to  andy young

She is the shining star as opposed to most of her opponents who suffer from delusions of adequacy, if that.

Peter Lloyd
Peter Lloyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Gardner

It’s because its corrupted by people who don’t recognise the legitimacy of the state itself. If you appointed managers to a company who expressed the belief the company should not exist, and is inherently incompetent, would you expect that company to thrive?

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Lloyd

I wouldn’t expect the shareholders to keep them in place either!

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago

Good article, though I think the title is completely at odds with the content.

It appears that Badenoch could have saved the Tories, but their seemingly witless parliamentary membership saw fit only to eliminate her and thus with it the only hope of rescuing the sinking ship.

For me, the surest endorsement came from the hysterical attack pieces launched on Kemi by the Guardian; comments from their radicalised readership about the ‘dangerous, neofascist, racist, bigotted’ ‘Bad Enoch’ only cementing my conviction that she presented both the best chance of beating Starmer and stearing a course away from Blairism with a Conservative mask.

Obviously, my fingers will be crossed that she’s appointed to a prominent and influential position in the cabinet, but I fully expect her to be sidelined for having the temerity to offer up a break from the establishment (failing) dogma, and unapologetically fighting the lunacy of the cultural left – apparently a task only a woman of colour had the balls to tackle head on, despite being, on top of her other attitudes and policy proposals, likely to enjoy vast support.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

People still read that toilet roll? Hysteria mongering and ideologically possessed.

Brought up on the Manchester Guardian, a fine paper, it was dragged into the sewers by Arsebridger

Barry Stokes
Barry Stokes
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Excellent comment, right on the money.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
1 year ago

Now that Kemi is out of the race for PM, one she might have won with the membership, let us hope that the intellectual heft she brings will influence the direction of travel of the party just as Sir Keith Joseph influenced the Tory party of the Thatcher period. However, it may be hoped that unlike Sir Keith she does go on to lead the party.

Labour have nothing to offer as a solution to the UK’s ills. The analysis of the problems presented by Kemi do seem to resonate with the membership and with the public and she does not seem to have the weaknesses that derailed Boris who lacked administrative competence and focus.

Perhaps it is not too late for a write in campaign by the membership. Certainly that should be an option if the choice presented is between Rishi and Penny.

Nigel Watson
Nigel Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

She’s out of the race precisely because she would have won a vote of the rank and file membership https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZvkra76soI&t=9s

David Owsley
David Owsley
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Watson

“She’s out of the race precisely because she would have won a vote of the rank and file membership”
Exactly! And the craven CON MPs will be made to suffer the consequences.

Last edited 1 year ago by David Owsley
Ben 0
Ben 0
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

Indeed Jeremy. Labour do indeed have nothing to offer. Which is why I’m bemused by people who are fed up with the Tories for not being Conservative then threaten to vote Labour at the next election. Whatever our present troubles they are as nothing compared with the hell which Labour will unleash on the country.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ben 0
Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben 0

Older readers will remember the great Anarchist mantra, which turned out to be right
Don’t vote, it only encourages them.
I’m 70. Can’t see me voting again, unless Kemi is in charge.

Martin Levi
Martin Levi
1 year ago

3 comments on an otherwise excellent article.

  1. Kemi would have been Starmer’s worst nightmare. I have said this myself on numerous occasions, and while I admit that her sex and ethnicity are a useful backdrop against yet another white, male, middle class leader of the Labour Party, her main advantage is her intellectual clarity and honesty. You may be falling into a trap of your own making with your characterization of the “worst nightmare” club.
  2. The strength of a nation state depends far more on its conviction and cohesion than on its budget, and thus is not inherently incompatible with free markets and limited government.
  3. The culture war cannot be fought simply by withdrawing funding. The capture by Stonewall and others over the last decade has been so successful precisely because it has been accomplished at the micro level. I hate it, but I have to admit that it has been a masterly campaign. It cannot be reversed simply by the canceling of budgetary line items, and needs to be fought almost case by case, by a government with the conviction and cohones to do so.

I hope and assume that Kemi’s day will come soon.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Levi

Spot on, but cancelling some budgets would help – who has been paying for the woke malaise within Whitehall for the last 12 years?

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

There is no hope of reform by the political pygmies fostered by our democracy. Any possibility of change is strangled in its crib by the state and the industry of NGOs and quangos that parasite off it. It is far too late now. None of the remaining candidates are even conceptually aware that there is an issue, and they’ll continue to fund their enemies until ‘progress’ has wiped out all remaining remnants of conservatism. What a depressing situation.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Perfectly put sir!
I thank the Gods I’m on the last furlong.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago

Really?
I am probably on the same furlong but I would give anything to watch the next 20 years unfold !
It will be an amazing time as our Societies progress.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

“Moderation in all things” as Hesiod put it (c 700BC).

David B
David B
1 year ago

Especially moderation itself.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

What a depressing response with respect … I remember the1979 Callaghan Govt and the ‘Winter of Discontent’ … believe me we are nowhere near those desperate times.
Hopefully Kemi Badenoch will be given one of the three top cabinet jobs where she can show what’s she’s made of.
A leader will arise and the Country will respond ,, never say never ! We are a great country with huge talent

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago

 I remember the1979 Callaghan Govt and the ‘Winter of Discontent’ 
 believe me we are nowhere near those desperate times.”
Me too. But I would say things could get that bad again very quickly

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
1 year ago

I think the Conservatives will regret the fact that they lost their nerve and chose more of the same rather than choosing someone with a vision for the country.

Mike SampleName
Mike SampleName
1 year ago

Rishi, Penny, or Liz?
None of the above, thanks.

Kemi was the only one who got my interest as a “floating voter” who tends conservative. The ones we have to choose from are barely better than Captain Hindsight Starmer.
Around my area (South Yorkshire) she was the only one I’ve heard anyone speaking positively about. Rishi is held in contempt, Penny and Liz are regarded as personality vacuums with the convictions of a deflated balloon (one of the more charitable descriptions).

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
1 year ago

Yorkshire is a very big county. What happens in one area (in this case South Yorkshire) is by no means representative of what happens in many other areas within Yorkshire and areas are very tightly defined in several different ways. By landscape, colour and culture, wealth. outlook, expectation, habit and so on. Be very careful before defining boundaries in this huge county.

Jimmy Snooks
Jimmy Snooks
1 year ago

Excellent article with many important insights and it’s good to read a slightly more hopeful take on the deeply disappointing exit of the only truly promising candidate from the Tory leadership race, Kemi Badenoch.

It’s not game over yet. We may accept that maybe it just wasn’t her time, and that, in the next year or two, she will nonetheless be able to effect change from within if, as is extremely likely. she is given a senior position in government.

One day she will take on the role of PM role and it will be something good to behold.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jimmy Snooks
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Jimmy Snooks

I don’t know if Kemi will have the patience to wait, but I don’t.
NB she’s younger than Treasury official Sunak.

Tom Brook
Tom Brook
1 year ago

Great article. I fear it is a huge opportunity missed.

John Riordan
John Riordan
1 year ago

The flipside of this imported, baleful emphasis on identity politics was the case for Kemi made by some Conservative commentators that, because she is black, or Nigerian, or a woman, she was somehow “Labour’s worst nightmare.” This was an absurd framing that highlights Conservatism’s unique talent for adopting the worldview of its enemies. Her gender or skin colour were entirely irrelevant to the question of whether or not she was the most capable candidate for the helmsmanship of a great, but troubled and flailing nation. It was this question, and only this question, on which she should be judged, and it is on this question that she rose above her peers. “

This is actually not true: the Tory view that this is so is entirely down to a correct perception of how Labour buys into the madness of identitarianism and why this can be a useful political weapon for the Tories. In no sense does it mean that the Tories themselves actually accept identity politics too – even though there are of course some individual Tory MP’s daft enough to have fallen for it.

Her argument that she supported, simultaneously, “free markets, limited government [and] a strong nation state” suffered from the same internal contradictions of almost all modern conservatism, the first two being antithetical to the survival of the third.”

On this part, this is a category error, namely that the assumption that the nation-state is something that is a direct function or product of the size of the government. In fact, it encapsulates the entire institutional landscape of the nation, including civil society and the shared values, priorities and prejudices of the common man and woman which make it possible for society to function without the need for the state to be involved at all levels, as well as the machinery of government itself. That is why it is not, in fact, a contradiction to aim for small government and a strong nation-State simultaneously, and why in practice overly-large and expensive government often has the perverse effect of weakening the nation-state in this sense.

In general though, great article and I agree with the conclusion. Kemi was the right choice for the Tories if they wanted to win the next election. They have instead just voted to lose it.

God help us all.

Hector Mildew
Hector Mildew
1 year ago
Reply to  John Riordan

Great post John. Especially this bit about what really constitutes a nation state: “the shared values, priorities and prejudices of the common man and woman which make it possible for society to function without the need for the state to be involved at all levels”. Precisely what the late, great Sir Roger Scruton used to refer to as the “we” of a society.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Truss’s Thatcher tribute is just cringeworthy. The riding around in a tank. The devotion to p***y-bow blouses. Woman – just stop. Please!
In German, I’d immediately apply the word “FremdschĂ€men“…an excellent and highly useful word for which there is no direct English translation. It’s a bit like cringing, but instead of focusing on the effect the embarrassing thing has on you, FremdschĂ€men has an empathetic element, in that you feel ashamed for the other person. FremdschĂ€men definitely needs to take up its rightful place in the English language along with Schadenfreude, DoppelgĂ€nger and – more recently – Spitzenkandidat.
Of course all Brits of a certain age get a bit nostalgic about Thatcher sometimes…even if you couldn’t stand her politics, she will forever be bound up in our childhood memories – popping up on Newsround after Alfonso Bonzo but before Grange Hill. The slight dip of the head when she waved to the crowds. The oddly deep voice.
But really – reheating her memory time and time again? Politicians need to ask themselves honestly whether this is really their true political conviction or just a mid-life crisis.

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
Harry Bo
Harry Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

I wonder if the cringey emulating of Thatcher has anything to do with ‘owning’ the other side.

Harry Bo
Harry Bo
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

And oh yes, FremdschĂ€men – I like it

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Katharine Eyre

“But really – reheating her memory time and time again? Politicians need to ask themselves honestly whether this is really their true political conviction or just a mid-life crisis.”
This is why Kemi Bandenoch should have been the winner … but at only 38 she will surely have her day !

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

Mrs. Badenoch is actually 42 – she is a couple of months older than Rishi Sunak. Thatcher babies, one and all, in terms of era alone – just like me!

Last edited 1 year ago by Katharine Eyre
SUSAN GRAHAM
SUSAN GRAHAM
1 year ago

Every few years the Tory party press the death wish button and this time they have really shot themselves in both feet by rejecting Boris Johnson…not satisfied by that act of self-harm, they have performed a double-whammy by rejecting Kemi Badenoch, the only hope for the Tory party which is likely to be annihilated at the next GE. Those MPs backing the snake Sunak are resorting to dirty tricks and gerrymandering and are totally out of step with the electorate. The party membership are not so stupid or subject to bribes of a fancy job. I am one such member and for me – and most others -it is anyone but Sunak. Should he by some ‘means’ get the job, I will cancel my membership and after 60 years of voting Tory – never vote again – for any party.

David C
David C
1 year ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

You and I and I suspect a great many more are in complete agreement, as for the headline of this article (laughable)I’m anticipating that little can probably be done to stave off defeat at the next election.
The electorate are not stupid and they smell self harm, betrayal and division, hardly strong attributes for your next choice of govt.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  SUSAN GRAHAM

Death wish? Labour too.
Allow me
Blair => Brown => Miliband => CORBYN!!!! => Starmer
If that ain’t a death wish, nothing is.
Folks need to read Isabel Hardman’s “Why we get the wrong politicians”.

Me? Because it is now a career not a vocation. A career for those incapable of economically productive work

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
1 year ago

If Aris Roussinos believes that the link he included demonstrates that “in just 12 years time, Britain will be a poorer country than Poland” then his attention to detail is on a par with Penny Mordaunt‘s.
It is Liz Truss who has most strongly attempted to challenge Rishi Sunak’s bookkeeper approach to Treasury matters. Reducing the historic high tax burden on workers, families and employers is not an eccentric Thatcherite throwback. It is essential to achieving economic growth. And given that – the Johnson/Sunak spending splurge notwithstanding- the annual interest bill on government debt is still just 2% of GDP, and 5% of government expenditure, it is perfectly feasible.

Last edited 1 year ago by Stephen Walsh
Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

She’s as thick as mince though; her witlessness only matched by her ‘ability’ to throw out largely meaningless, scripted lines to push ideas that are simply convienient at the time, rather than rooted in any deep conviction or wider intelligent strategy.

Needless to say, she’s the number one choice for those who want to see the Tories smashed at the next election.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

This is apparently not true – behind the scenes her colleagues find her competent and efficient, and not afraid to challenge the thinking of other senior ministers. She has the unfortunate habit of coming across very badly in public – barring the rare occasion when she is truly passionate about what she is saying. Liz needs to take a tip from Thatcher and get some speaking lessons, she really does come across as wooden most of the time and, yes, not very bright. Her presentation can be improved – and needs to be if the tories are not going to completely crash and burn at the next election.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Don’t knock Aris unless you’re sure of your facts. Maybe he’s spent more time in Poland than you? As a Scot with a Polish wife I’ve spent a lot of time in both Poland and Scotland over the last 30 years and I can tell you that Poland is the future and Scotland has no prosperous future. It’s already a poorer country than Poland and I’m feeling no positive vibes on the UK’s future. Rebuilding the country and society after devastating communist rule has been astounding to watch with extensive infrastructure development, expanding market economy, increased focus on higher education and a generally hard working population especially amongst the younger generations. The Polish government has its problems, they’re different but no worse than those in most European countries. They’re helped by extensive EU funding and commercial investment but a lot of those finances ends up back in companies in the major EU countries. It’s depressing to watch the decline in Scotland and the inability of UK governments to successfully manage illegal immigration ,health service, working practices (strikes), and the general welfare of the population. There seems to be no viable government alternative and very few capable leaders, if any. Kemi might be saying the right things but that’s an awful long way off being a capable leader, maybe in 5 years if she proves her potential and gains the respect of the wider population.

Last edited 1 year ago by stephen archer
Milton Gibbon
Milton Gibbon
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

It is the SNP who run the health service, public sector pay disputes and general welfare (domestic policy) in Scotland. Why is the UK givernment at fault for these? I will grant you illegal immigration. It is a sleight of hand which the SNP is allowed to get away with by too many people when they foist their own failings on the UK government. I love Scotland and want to remain in the union with them but since Scotland’s governance was devolved it has become a lesson to the rest the nations of what a socialist government could do if allowed almost unassailable authority. No chance in my book of a change of leadership in Scotland until a “Unionist” party is formed by the majority of Scots who don’t vote SNP.

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon

Agreed, they’re even worse than the Westminster crowd and the SNP MPs there are an embarrasment to their country. There will never be a real change in leadership in Scotland since at least 60% of the population are born and bred socialists, irrespective of nationalist/unionist, they have been for as long as I’ve been alive and longer still. Scotland needs a non-socialist government, not to mention a population that sees the need for this, which is another non-starter. The government failings I mentioned are common to the whole of the UK although the SNP messing around with decades of long term UK policies and obsession with independence is just making things worse for Scots.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Milton Gibbon


Every FU by the SNP is Westminster’s fault. They are a Toytown political party. If the Scots keep on electing them, it’s entirely their own fault but I’m sick of funding Scotland’s stupidity. We’ve got enough stupidity of our own to fund as it is,

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Let’s not conflate Scotland with England here. There’s no country in Europe I’d rather be than England for the next 10-20 years. The declinism and pessimism is massively exaggerated here. There is absolutely no way the UK will be poorer than Poland in 12 years time (that was presumably not Aris’ article, but he clearly believes in such nonsense).
The UK has the top universities in Europe, thriving high tech industries, global leadership in banking and finance, … . Freed from the sinking ship that is the EU (and any obligation to bail out their debts and unfunded pensions), we’ll do well. However incompetent our politicians are.
To be clear, I’m not knocking Poland here. I’ve never been there, but I’m fairly sure they are doing well and doing – on the whole – the right things. And we still owe them something for letting them down in WWII. There is a lot we can learn from them (and many of the ex-Soviet countries). But overtaking the UK, France or Germany would take a very long time.
Remember also that rebuilding the Eastern European countries required a lot of Western European money. So Romanian villages now have better broadband than the UK. While I couldn’t get a mobile signal in Sonning (a very wealthy Berkshire village on the Thames – and Theresa May lives there) last week.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You say we let them down in WWII; please state a country which did better by them?
By the way, I used to have a friend who had extraordinary experiences during the war (as many Poles did, mostly unrecorded).Like many, he naturalised as British after 1945. He was fiercely patriotic as a Pole and as a Briton.

Tom May
Tom May
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

The reason we started fighting in 1939 was to guarantee Polish independence, we had pledged to do this along with France. We failed in that primary mission. Did a lot of other things though.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

The wretched Soviet Union by invading them 14 days after Adolph.
Our (UK) reaction? Zilch!

stephen archer
stephen archer
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

You must live in the south east or south west since I’m not sure if the general population north of Birmingham would share your optimistic viewpoint. The last decades of London/SE-centric politics have done great things for the capital and home counties, probably to the exclusion of other more northerly regions. I know they’re driving the UK economy but at the same time they’re probably stifling development in those regions. The Conservative Red Wall strategy seems to me to be without substance, a hollow facade, a large mass of hot air.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  stephen archer

Or the rural South West, which has extreme poverty and lack of public services, ignored by both parties when in government for decades.

There is NO North/South divide. It’s a Home Counties/Everywhere else divide

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

“The UK has the top universities in Europe, “
Which were also responsible for infecting the country with extreme WOKE, a vicious virus which escaped the Lab of Academia, infected the whole of the Public Sector, and then Big Corp
All funded by you and me

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We didn’t let Poland down in WWII.
Idiotically we gave them a “blank cheque “ early in 1939, and even more idiotically they decided to ‘cash’ it in early September 1939.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Badenhoch is great, but she is untested, and let’s be honest, picking her would have represented a large risk. As Nixon said of the Presidency, the top job is a magnifying glass, not a finishing school. The situation reminds me of something anyone familiar with facing a bad position in chess will know: you flip from considering candidate move after candidate move, none of which look palatable, and goodness, look at the clock, your time is running out. And then suddenly the happy thought of a brand new move you hadn’t considered at all before occurs, and, no calculation, no assessment, you just make it. I mean, such a move can work out very well indeed, but it’s rare, and you need to be lucky. More likely you end up regretting not picking something that you knew was bad and difficult, but defendable.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Yes, a risk, but they’ve chosen certainty; certainty of disaster.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Certainly if they pick Mordaunt. With either of the other two it will be a bog standard, drawn out, declinist, BAU. We can hope they will pleasantly surprise us but I’m not holding my breath.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

The physics expert Mordaunt who thinks Higgs Boson was a sailor like her…

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

And the tests the others passed? Sunak, for example, has put us in debt for generations. Mordaunt is an idiot.Truss the same. Tugenhadt. God help us. A roll call of terminal failures.

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Top comment ! The chess analogy really works here.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Gender and skin colour should not affect Conservative party members and the electorate’s view, and all journalists, because of Woke, have to say that. The truth is that, rightly or wrongly it absolutely does, and the unfortunate irony here is that it is precisely because Badenoch is a black Nigerian, that she, and her equally talented male equivalent Kwasi Kwarteng is too, is why they can combat the obsessive racism weapon, used along side ” global warming” and lgbt as the 3 prongs of the extremist National Socialist trident that The Conservatives must fight.

As I have said before it is so blindingly crass and indeed cowardly, that so many in the Tory party simply cannot see, not least due to media bias and their use of The National Socialist trident, that the vast unspoken majority of voters DO want a war on woke, the restitution of free speech, an end to ‘ hate crime’ legislation, and an abrupt halt to sycophantic and unctuous crawling pandering to the demands of the minority National Socialist trident.

Mashie Niblick
Mashie Niblick
1 year ago

Yes. She makes the rest look pathetically hopeless. The real problem, though, is the malaise that has enveloped our politics over recent years. This is compounded by the mediocrity of the overwhelming number of MPs, few of whom have any ideas, let alone the ability to express them coherently.
The future is bleak unless there is a root and branch overhaul of the system. And I ain’t holding my breath.

Roger Tilbury
Roger Tilbury
1 year ago

Whoever wins through today, I will be striking their names off the ballot paper and writing in Kemi Badenoch.
Great article, thanks.

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Tilbury

That won’t help in the least and, in fact, would be counter-productive. Vote for Liz Truss as she is the only one likely to give Kemi a top job in which to prove that she walks the walk as well as talks the talk. So far she’s not had the chance.

Ben P
Ben P
1 year ago

Because the media are dominated by left-liberals it’s very difficult to get past that wall to the voters beyond.
Trump recognised the problem in the US so he simply by-passed them and joined the maelstrom on Twitter where Left and Right go hell for leather against each other.
Things are beginning to change as Fox, GB News, TalkTV are all challenging the monopoly position.
Kemi has been outstanding in calling their bluff. I wish others had the guts to do so.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago

 â€œthis is no time for steady as it goes, sinking into decline. It’s time for change.”
Kemi is absolutely spot on … it is indeed time for change and as Kemi isn’t going forward to allow me to vote for her in the membership ballot I hope she will be brought into a Truss Govt ( I know an assumption on my part ). with one
She should be given one of the top 3 cabinet positions … she would surely be a tonic in the cabinet !

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Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

If Sunak makes it (unlikely I would say), he may not have shown any signs that he understands the moment, and the transformation it demands, but he’s not stupid, and the instinct to win the next election will be very strong – so he will do the standard Tory thing – after a year or so of inflicting unnecessary pain, he will splurge, targeted at both red wall and the shires. Note that what he ends up offering will have nothing to do with what the nation or our younger generations need, but will be geared towards beating Labour – a much less difficult feat given that Labour is still as hopeless as ever during the last decade.

If either Truss (very likely) or Mordaunt win we will lurch from one economic crisis to another once the downward spiral starts which is probably about a year away, if the rate at which, the historically high savings gathered during the pandemic are getting eaten away, is anything to go by.

Even in that situation however, I find it very difficult indeed to visualise Labour emerging as the biggest party next election let alone winning outright.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
David C
David C
1 year ago

Whilst she may have been a new face it needs to be firmly remembered she has little or no experience in govt , no doubt this will change.
The tide of the party changed with the departure of the current PM,it is this that will prove in hindsight to have been the fundamental error; a govt that has a record of success in times of extreme adversity.

Last edited 1 year ago by David C
John Tyler
John Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  David C

She most definitely has had experience in government, and enough to know that The Blob is failing the country. She has demonstrated more interest in reforming the basis of government than maintaining the self-serving status quo.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
1 year ago

I think you mean Kemi’s sex rather than her gender this distinction is profoundly important these days otherwise we’d have Eddie Izzard as a woman Prime Minister!

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago

Not sure how being kicked out of the running will save the Tory party. There is a small chance perhaps that Liz Truss will appoint her to a senior role and follow her lead – that is the only chance of surviving as a functioning party (never mind the country as well).

Peter B
Peter B
1 year ago

In just 12 years time, Britain will be a poorer country than Poland“.
Really ? Does anyone seriously believe that ? I can’t access the paywalled article, but I strongly suggest this is utter nonsense.

David Cowell
David Cowell
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

The comment merely shows the negativity of the article. Poland my well be ahead over the period but that is as likely to be because they would be growing faster than us – not that we were going backwards

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

We just don’t know, but Poland has a few advantages over us, such as having patriotic politicians and a patriotic country. (It’s not that the majority of British aren’t patriotic, because they are, but it plays no part in politics.)

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Yes, if current trends are projected forward at the same rates. Why should Britain grown faster on a tide of debt, inefficiency and complacency? Poland has been doing a lot of catching up, but no country has a right to everlasting higher GDP than another’s.

Jeremy Poynton
Jeremy Poynton
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter B

Copy the link, go to archive.vn and paste it in and – Voila!

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
1 year ago

And yet the MPs removed her from the competition. That is why the Conservatives must be defeated in the next election. Only through defeating the current MPs can a new more Democratic Party emerge.

Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago

Mordaunt – a lady who wrote a book saying why a Full English Breakfast makes you poop a lot, and who, for a dare, gave a speech in the House of Commons about coçks; Truss – a lady who got confused about Russian geography at a meeting with Sergei Lavrov – and whose problems with geography extend to her not knowing the way from her front door to her car. The rot extends to the United States, with its gerontocracy, Germany, Australia, etc. etc. Truly, we are living in an era of extremely flimsy politicians, as described eloquently by Janen Ganesh in the Financial Times, who has recently written how “Dire Tory leadership race shows western democracy just cannot get the staff”

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago

Indeed, non of them are worthy of a vote.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago

“Her argument that she supported, simultaneously, “free markets, limited government [and] a strong nation state” suffered from the same internal contradictions of almost all modern conservatism, the first two being antithetical to the survival of the third.”
No, strong does not mean large, just as a corpulent person does not mean a strong person.

Martin Terrell
Martin Terrell
1 year ago

I think – hope – she was suggesting that a strong nation state is not defined by the size of its welfare spending. That was the British approach just about in living memory.

John Hicks
John Hicks
1 year ago

Wow! Kemi Who? What an illustration of international reasonableness her Prime Ministership could promote in the world! Not since the Earl of Morton’s advice to James Cook has there been greater need and better opportunity for the UK to again insist on the ideals of racial harmony and of governance by respect among Nations. The UN can’t or won’t, and harmony has been undergoing by-pass surgery in the US for sometime. That person on the Clapham Omnibus has just became a whole lot more interesting and believable through her candidacy; at least to those of us living in Common Law countries. Hope the glimpse we have of this extraordinary Kemi lady and of her domestic thoughtfulness and honesty, is merely a prelude to her future leadership on the world stage.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
1 year ago

I foresee the Conservatives losing the next election – barring a miracle – then the PM will have to resign and Kemi would surely be favourite in the next leadership contest, being in opposition is a good time to take a chance on someone different. Hopefully by then she will have had a senior role in cabinet and thus silence those who tout her relative lack of experience. If she had got through to the final two, the party membership would have voted for her, all the recent membership polls had her way out in front. But we all know it was a stitch up to get the same old same old through to the final two. I don’t fancy either of them but better Truss than Sunak – he has done enough damage to the economy already.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nikki Hayes
Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
1 year ago

The state’s incapacity and its size are two sides of the same coin.

James Kirk
James Kirk
1 year ago

If she’s got so much to offer she’s wasted on the 12 year moribund constipated Tories. Starmer will have to be really bad to stop them being 10 years out of power. Her, Boris and Penny have quite a huge following. They should bury the hatchet with Tice.

Antony Hirst
Antony Hirst
1 year ago
Reply to  James Kirk

I agree.

Rob Wright
Rob Wright
1 year ago

For some reason Gove (and his fan boys) decided to get behind Kemi and not Suella. At that point the vision, the excitement, the actual pursuit of real change was lost. Kemi was always going out at this point. The Tories couldn’t ‘imagine’ her as PM. Suella (the AG let’s not forget) had a chance. The Attorney General as PM was a very credible and ‘imaginable’ proposition. Gove decided that wasn’t going to happen. Wondering why?

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Wright

Kemi will be in a top cabinet position in a Truss Govt

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

Yes, but if you look at my site https://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk the big numbers out of total ÂŁ1.06 trillion spending are
Pensions: ÂŁ178.5 billion
Health care: ÂŁ210.9 billion
Education: ÂŁ104.9 billion
Welfare (incl. Social Exclusion): ÂŁ142 billion
So where do you start?
Pensioners: I paid my National Insurance all my life.
Health Care: Don’t you dare touch our NHS.
And so on.
So how does any new PM, Tory or Labour, dare to do anything?

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

The keystone rejected by the builders? Is the UK too backward-looking to contemplate a new future, preferring instead to recreate the old? Make GB great again? How? Just omit the word ‘again’ and maybe it’ll happen. But under Sunak or (God forbid) Truss? I very much doubt it!

Jaap van der Straaten
Jaap van der Straaten
1 year ago

I watched a debate organised by Sky. Kemi’s internet connectivity was awful. For an engineer and politician assumed to think ahead I was bewildered that she wouldn’t even bother.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago

Aris Roussinos can sometimes be brilliant, but at the same time engage in infuriating (and apocalyptic) generalisations and assertions. Firstly, how on Earth did ‘post-liberals’ come to believe that their analysis of Brexit was the only acceptable one, rather ironically as do many Remainers? It wasn’t, Aris says, ‘just about’ leaving the EU but about radically transforming the British state. What is the evidence for this? We can’t even get a proper informed debate going about the future of our poorly performing (and very atypical) health service, which remains a quasi-religion among the British public.
Many people voted for Brexit on the basis of controlling immigration. That is certainly a perfectly good reason, but it doesn’t imply any sort of more radical change (which of course we have not had). Change is easy to champion in a generalised way, but it rapidly comes up across scores of vested interests of one sort or another (the implied right of British people to block housing development on land they don’t own is exactly one example of this!). This is why politicians so often, with very few exceptions, Thatcher being one, often fudge these long-term issues.
And there is a lack of intellectual robustness and consistency, despite the rather long length of the articles. His almost unhinged dislike of ‘Thatcherism’ and ideas of supply side reform, as if it was an obvious no-brainer that increased public spending and a bigger state would be bound to have positive outcomes. Well, we have tried a lot of that over decades and the results haven’t been impressive. Yes, western Europe as a whole did perform better on a macroeconomic basis in the decades after the Second World War. But then there was a huge re-building exercise to accomplish (not enough in Britain, arguably we spent too much on establishing the NHS and the welfare state instead) and, crucially, there was then little competition of any substance from the emerging world. It is this latter factor above all that has exposed so many western economies. Just saying ‘grow the state’ (when our competitors very often are not) is unlikely to be the solution. We don’t actually live in a small ‘night watchman’ type state now, Aris might have noticed! It would be rather good to at least acknowledge this history, and to try to see where we went wrong before and how to put that right first.
‘Her [Badenoch’s] argument that she supported, simultaneously, “free markets, limited government [and] a strong nation state” suffered from the same internal contradictions of almost all modern conservatism, the first two being antithetical to the survival of the third’ No, that is wrong, as Aris acknowledges (inconsistently) elsewhere. It is perfectly possible to envisage a smaller but much more competent state that can deliver in strategic areas, without having the dead hand of a mediocre bureaucracy quietly prioritising its own interests and delivering rubbish services to the public everywhere you turn. In fact this is what those East Asian states have managed to achieve much better than the sclerotic UK and other European nations.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Fisher
Nicholas Taylor
Nicholas Taylor
1 year ago

As our little leaky boat drifts away from Europe in prospect of finding some paradise island over the horizon, I imagine Captain Johnson sitting impassively at the stern, waiting for the crew to lose whatever faith they have in the mutineer officers squabbling over the way to steer. Our boat may remain adrift for ever, but we may again be reassured by the Captain’s voice booming over the waves: “Heave, boys, heave!”.

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
1 year ago

May the Lord preserve us from another Macmillan

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

So Lord Frost says PM was not a good performer! ..like he is himself? Lol..

Christine Thomas
Christine Thomas
1 year ago

From what little seen/heard of Kemi Badenoch, very impressive as a character, pity about her choice of political allegiance though.

Nigel Watson
Nigel Watson
1 year ago

You don’t get selected to stand as an MP for either LibLabCon unless either (a) you agree with the NWO, and/or (b) you are controllable – think Kubrick’s ‘Eyes wide shut’ – compromising videos/photos, that sort of thing. The same will have been true for Kemi. So, what was her role? I think that it was a Yuri Bezmenov-style exercise in demoralisation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZvkra76soI&t=9s

Philip Burrell
Philip Burrell
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Watson

Oh dear. Keep taking the pills.

David Simpson
David Simpson
1 year ago
Reply to  Nigel Watson

MP or PM?

Nigel Watson
Nigel Watson
1 year ago
Reply to  David Simpson

MP

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago

I can’t see anything new in what she says except vague soundbites.

Barry Werner
Barry Werner
1 year ago

pie in the sky commentary _ Badenoch more like some student politician indulging in radical ideas but with no clue how to implement them

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago

How is she going to fix the NHS? Oh I know. Make it like America where you have to sell crystal meth to fund your cancer treatment.

Tom Jarman
Tom Jarman
1 year ago

Gosh, I’m losing confidence in unherd, this is heard speak. I found Kemi as insubstantial and lacking in the wisdom of informed observation as the shallow mantra she adopts – small state, growth will save us all: aka forget the poor, forget the environment, forget those we need to care for. Ongoing recent Tory policies and the ongoing obsession with Brexit (which has driven up red tape, and is the antithesis of free market) has driven increasing wealth inequality, increasing real impoverishment and focus on the few, not the many. She was not the breath air we so desperately need.

John Tyler
John Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

Beautifully misinterpreted!

Clive Fraser
Clive Fraser
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

I am glad that your negative comment has eluded the thought police (for now?). What is the appeal of Kemi Badenoch (beyond that of a Candace Owen and Tony Sewell)? She is certainly no blazing intellect – although it is clear that one does not have to be that to succeed in the Tory Party, or politics and society more generally. When people say she’s “a breath of fresh air”, it seems what they mean is that she brazenly utters prejudices and evidence-free assertions that sensible people have long passed beyond.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

I agree, but I suspect we’d have to fight our way out if this was a face-to-face setting lol.
Unherd, or at least the comments section is fast becoming a groupthink redoubt of hard-right true-faith Faragists, for whom no form of Brexit will ever by enough, unless it is accompanied by Wexit (Westminster Exit) – an internal leave-taking of much of the “commie” governance structure of post-war Britain.
BTW, being criticised by Frost for “not showing up” is beyond parody, considering Frost was serially un-prepared and considering that he himself cut and ran when the going got too tough for him, i.e., when his peanut-gallery rhetoric cut no ice with actual negotiators.

Last edited 1 year ago by Frank McCusker
Patrick Moore
Patrick Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

It is Net Zero ideology which is wrecking the environment, the economy and social harmony by creating the cost of living crisis which the ‘poor’ will feel far more than the ‘rich’ who seem eager to fly the virtue flag of ‘Climate Change knowing they will be much less affected by the consequences of rationed and expensive energy, restricted diets, bans of all forms of travel and medieval domestic environments. The ‘rich’ are the lookalikes of the CND movement who thought that UK Unilateral Disarmament was the way to a peaceful world. That is now quite clearly not so. With Net Zero facilitating Economic Warfare and Unilateral Disarmanent encouraging Military Warfare, Western Civilisation will fall subservient to the East by 2060 when China has decided it might adopt some measures to ‘save’ the world unless it has already conquered it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Patrick Moore
Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

Very true, the unherd herd is very herd-like. I do miss Tom Chivers formerly of this parish.

Maureen Finucane
Maureen Finucane
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom Jarman

You got 19 down votes so you must be doing something right.