Another wonderfully depressing excoriation from Mr Sandbrook – and as usual, absolutely correct.
‘And if I, who managed to get more than 800 pages out of the first few years of the Thatcher premiership, find this utterly ridiculous, what on earth do normal people think?’
Funnily enough I have just read Who Dares Wins, Dominic’s 800-page account of the years 1979-82. It is marvellously detailed and displays a genuine understanding of everything from economics to pop music.
Particularly the point about the media. It wasn’t Tory activists who chose to spend time arguing about earrings and shoes, it was the BBC’s producers.
Lot of truth in that. The Today programme’s interview with Dorries on 28 July (in which she was asked about her own shoes, and whether she owned earrings costing £6k) reduced me to impotent rage.
My nickname for Rishi Sunak is ‘Ricky Screwcap’ because most of that money he’s been giving away for the last few years has been spent on cheap wine. I have no doubt that the money he gives people to help them with their energy bills will be spent in much the same way.
And what, other than bigotry and elitism, is this statement based on?
I think Dominic S covered that in the article…. something to do with clownishness?
The fact that the pubs, bars and restaurants are full, and the supermarket shelves are empty come the evening. All I see is people spending wildly and happily.
Energy bills are not just for heating and lighting but to charge everyone’s mobile phone in a household (from the child to the granny) the laptop computers, entertainment recorders and games consoles.
Those devices draw minimal amounts of power compared to your fridge, cooker or iron etc.
Oh dear. Get with the programme dear boy.
Wine snobbery. Corks have their place but some very fine wines now come in screwcap bottles. I remember the outrage amongst wine snobs when the screw topped bottles hit the shelves (or cellars) many, many years ago.
Strange how Sunak was feted by the media when times were hard during the pandemic. He eased the suffering of many who couldn’t work at the time. The money he gives out this year to help with energy bills might well be spent on ‘cheap wine’ as people tighten belts in order to make ends meet. I would point them in the direction of Aldi or Lidl; there’s many a good bottle to be found on their wine shelves. Some of them even have cork stoppers.
Cheers! I hope a glass or two of ‘cheap’ wine helps warm their cockles, given the gas central heating will have been made redundant. .
Better a screwcap than a plastic ‘cork’.
“…This is the Tories’ third leadership election in seven years, and as we all know, it’s the activists who decide the winner…”
But in the Tories case it absolutely is not – the activists can only pick from the final two offered up by the MPs, who can choose to offer up a brace the activists are not remotely interested in – and what the activists want will be very low in the priorities of the MPs. Indeed, the activists could have a choice of one, which might easily happen here, because notwithstanding his other shortcomings, Sunak can certainly count, and may well withdraw (after the customary horse trading for a senior cabinet post) – and the activists, denied a choice and a vote, can go hang.
Why anyone would wish to be a Tory Party activist is beyond me. You are indeed the turnip taliban
Oi, leave them alone! Maybe they believe in principles of personal responsibility, limited government, protection of family values (or whatever) and want to see a Conservative government in power, and so give freely of their time and energy to help people who share their worldview get elected. You might reasonably disagree with them, or activists of any other party, but there is no need to bandy silly labels around. This perhaps helps explain why we have the dispiriting politics that Dominic Sandbrook describes in his piece.
Maybe they believe in principles of personal responsibility, limited government, protection of family values (or whatever) and want to see a Conservative government in power,
And that is why they voted overwhelmingly for Boris.
If only Boris had lived up to their expectations.
Boris certainly believes in family values; that’s why he has so many families.
I think that you have missed my point. If they believe in such things then why are they members of the Tory Party – A party that believes in nothing of the sort: A party that holds its members in contempt. Or hadn’t you noticed?
I see the appeal of this ethic, it just seems to have rather little to do with either the Tories present ethic, or to be any sort of answer to the issues of today where we see corporate failure and social decay. Forty years of electing people who believe in reducing the power of the state (if not its size and cost) has brought us here.
To use an analogy they like, if you ran a business by appointing managers who fundamentally wanted to ruin the business, would you get efficiency and success?
I have a vote in the Tory leadership election and I am so utterly dispirited. I can’t see how I can vote for either, but leaning to Rishi as the worst of two evils. Dominic’s analysis is spot on, and why I’m so dispirited. It’s easier to say everything was better in the past, but this feels incomparable.
I joined the party after being surprised how pleased I was when Cameron won in 2015. I’d always been borderline Lib Dem / Tory but Cameron’s win made me reflect on my values and think, yes, I’m a Conservative and proud. That pride lasted barely a year. I’ll be giving up my membership after the election. I suspect the Party will also be relinquishing large swathes if the south to Lib Dems, and most of the red wall and towns and suburbs across the country to Labour. I’m not sad about this – I’m actively willing it. The Party needs a good long spell in opposition.
Tangentially, I think the whole process should be reversed – have the membership vote (STV ideally) to choose the last two, and let the MPs choose between them. That might help the activist problem.
The Party needs a good long spell in opposition.
This supposes that the pendulum always swings back eventually. Any possible permutation of Labour, LibDem and SNP, or just Labour alone, gives you votes for 16 year-olds.
Once those non-tax paying, teacher led, school-age youngsters get votes I don’t see how the pendulum would ever recover.
It would be woke radical all the way down.
A very good idea
1) Most young people simply don’t vote so making 16yo voting is not going to radically change elections.
2) UK (demographically a fact) is dominated by old people with very different interest/needs compared to young people. So balancing the system out is not just a bad idea.
3) Labor (if they are smart) should change the electoral system. Nigel Farage used bang on how FPP was unfair to UKIP.
P.S. Prado has a fantastic painting of Goya: Saturn/Zeus eating his children. That is today’s UK political economy. Old people are eating the state. Balancing that out is a good thing.
Is this JS formerly of Clapton Pond, but now Luxembourg, by any chance?
Exactly. Once you give 16 year olds the vote you’re well on your way to becoming some combination of Venezuela, Iraq, Somalia and Scotland.
Particularly the latter.
That presupposes that in 2 years time they will be totally matured to conservatism!!
I have a vote in the election too, and like you, I couldn’t vote for either of them.
I intend to simply scrawl Kemi on my ballot and return it.
Parliament has been in limbo since the parliamentary election. That is a sorry state of affairs.
There is no need to give Conservative members a vote – the membership is only a tiny proportion of those who vote Tory.
It is the MPs who have to work with the Prime Minister and it is also they who have witnessed the candidates in action both in the chamber and in their ministries.. They can judge who would make the better Prime Minister, uninfluenced by any personal prejudices which may be present in some constituencies..
That is a valid point. If only we could be sure the MPs want what would work best for the country and not play their power games.
That would reduce the numbers of members even more.
I would argue that Conservative members should be more represented than we are now.
Every member that I have spoken to about this ballot agrees that we should have had the chance to vote for Kemi, yet we haven’t!
Agree about giving membership more options. Ideal number of candidates would be 4-5, so they could have started the process after nominations. I’ve no idea what was the point of that quickfire process over a few days.
With a decent number of candidates there would have been a chance for serious debate and fresh ideas, especially if you had had one or more not tainted by association with Boris (yes, I voted for him too!).
Having 2 candidates just allows interviewers to play one off against the other in a he said/she said contest.
I must be watching a different contest. Everything seems rather civilized to me.
I agree. The only thing that’s ACTUALLY changed is the quality of the commentariat, this piece being a typical example of clever-clever look-what-i-think-i-know nonsense. It follows on from the inanity of the questioning at the lockdown press conferences, when this phenomenon came out in it’s full awfulness.
He finishes with: “It could be worse. The Conservative Party may be a clown show, but at least it’s not the Republican Party.”
If instead of the Republican Party he’d written the Labour Party, it’d have been much nearer the mark, and also why he might well be left with a great deal of egg on his face in a couple of years time. If so, this article will be quietly forgotten whilst he still bangs on about Thatcher. And he accuses Truss of hanging on her coat-tails!
Read Audrey Mir’s article ‘How the media polarised us’ in the City Journal. It explains pretty well why journalism has been going down the tubes for the last 20 years.
Yes, i found that to be really informative, thanks!
The sad thing is that Sandbook, who straddles both the old and the new journalistic worldviews, should know better.
Weird dig at the Republican party. The Democrat president is a drugged semi-corpse, his VP is a giant meme generator, his shadowy puppetmasters have turned the most prosperous country in the history of the world into a banana republic, and the creatures being floated as his replacement have miserably failed
at their current jobs. I’m no fan of the GOP, but it’s clearly stocked with competent men and women who might just save this country from the malevolent clowns running it now.
I’ve got a vote and I’m not your hardcore activist. How do you think a one nation Tory like Boris got chosen? You’ve got the wrong end of the stick.
I don’t buy the idea that you’ve got to be smooth and slick like Cameron. In fact Cameron himself disproves this. He looked and sounded great but he and Osborne were a disaster.
I am very disappointed Mark Francois is not running.
I am giving you an uptick on the assumption that was not meant to be taken seriously.
see a shrink… NOW?!
All the time reading this I was shouting inside my head “It’s the MEDIA!”. Then, it was all put together in the last three paragraphs. Murdoch backs conservatives and, because they govern for people who bank in the Caymans, degenerating the standard is inevitable and beneficial.
Keeping away from anything serious is vital, or government in the public interest will surely follow, a disaster for the parasites who’ve made tax free billions off post-Thatcher policies.
He, and social media, have dragged most other mass media into that same gutter. The only difference right now is it is Tory vs Tory. At no time in history would Truss be a serious candidate for anything. Rupert’s gift to democracy.
“pandering to a hard-core mob”. I have read that Tory MPs are much more hard-core than the membership of the party.
More hardcore economically, more centrist liberally. Tory members are very much ‘hang the paedos, fund the NHS’.
The problem with pitching a leadership election to a handful of very elderly and right wing activists is that this won’t have any broader appeal to the country as a whole. The imminent election of Ms Maybot Mark 2 probably (deservedly) means 10 years in the electoral wilderness. Rishi at least has a kind of Blairite charisma.
Anyone who believes Sunak has charisma really needs to get out more.
Spot on. “Maybot mark 2”. Truss has no principles – just goes whichever the way the wind is blowing.
But even as I write this stuff down, I find it very hard to believe.
That makes at least two of us, then.
Unherd started with such promise, but it’s quickly descended into banal nonsense.
“It’s just possible, if you really try, to imagine a future in which … the threat of Covid fades”
When a “conservative” writer comes out with such tosh, you can ignore everything else they say. The “threat of Covid” – such as it ever was – faded to nothing 18 months ago.
Spot on, apart from the reference to the ‘Daily Telegraph’; ‘Daily Mail’, shurely 😉
He can’t write that as a regular Mail article writer.
To the majority of leounge settee Toylitories pointy corfam lace ups and trainers are ” de rigeur” … asked as to whether he even had a pair of trainers, one of my friends at his children’s prep school replied… ” Yes actually three…Stoutie on the flat Henderson over jumps, and one of our tenants daughters trains a couple of pointers for us”…
Are you by any chance the NS-T who had a “run in” with Blunkett’s Bobbies a few years ago over a 1” penknife?
could there be another?!
Not that I’ve heard of!
Well, the nature of your footwear does often tell you something about your social status. Whether that is of any use or importance is another matter!
Ask the Kaiser!
I think the point is missed here if you will forgive me for saying such a thing.
We think we have a democracy because we are told by everyone of any worth that we do indeed and we are famous for swallowing what we are told by authority and it is a proud component of our national DNA that we have the Mother of Parliaments to prove it!
For good propaganda reasons we are able to look at the flaws, pathos and skulduggery of our Elected representatives attempting to scale the slippery pole and making fools or Machiavellian devils of themselves which undermines our respect for the visible democratic part of our government, that’s the point.
All the buffoonery leads to the benefit of the Crown, which obtains our respect and admiration by contrast, partly directly through the visible Monarchy and otherwise because we see them as the reliable and honourable part of government protecting us from the evils of the world.
They are so grown up aren’t they -oh and James Bond works for them doesn’t he?
Some banana skin that for us to have alighted upon!
It has to be remembered that the Tories are the Party of State, whose job it is to manage the people to the satisfaction of the Crown, so it is part of their job to seem morally and intellectually inferior to the Grandees, who we neither know nor see.
Thirty years ago Labour gave up the pretence of offering an alternative in opposition to the Crown, because it was too easy for a united elite to destroy them in the eyes of the Public when they tried it and the elite was always united on that front.
New Labour was – and remains – a reformed opposition party that is essentially tendering for the job of governing us on behalf of the State, because that is the only way they can get the Tories grubby hands off the slippery pole to make room for theirs.
The way voting works is that the cynical spook the gullible who run to them for cover (this is the ancient game of “Flocks and Shepherds” which also embraces religion as one of its manifestations) so that the sensible and truly worthy stand no chance of removing the boot of authority from our thrapples, which is of course what is needed as a precursor to democracy ever arising.
This leadership sideshow will make no difference. We will be voting to be told what to do and cheering “Great British Democracy” with a lump in our throats which will give the rulers the infusion of schadenfreude they so deeply appreciate.
We can’t grow up, so here we are stuck – although the principles are simple if we had the will to change this foolishness.
We have “Government of the people!” like we always have had, and always will if the State has its way. It is their purpose to ensure that we never get Government “for the people” and certainly not “by the people” – I mean Imagine that!