X Close

Will conservatism survive 2023? Both the Tories and GOP need to regenerate

Probably, just about, maybe. (Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Probably, just about, maybe. (Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)


January 2, 2023   5 mins

For the Right, 2022 was a year to forget. In Canada, Australia and New Zealand, it is out of power. In the States, the Republicans hold just one element of national government, and only marginally; their main influence comes from a legacy grip on the Supreme Court. In Britain, the Tories are in office but look deflated, running down the clock until an election defeat. For conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic, then, there are just 12 months to put to bed any internal crises and find a convincing, popular platform before the major election campaigns of 2024 kick off.

Like the Tories, the GOP go into 2023 electorally bruised. Their embrace of populism has not proved popular enough to sustain victory, but instead left them sullied by association with men who largely co-opted them for vehicles of their own ambition. Neither party seems capable of sating their supporters’ desires on key issues, such as immigration, but have adopted rhetoric that scares off their more centrist supporters. Equally, they are finding their support in diminishing demographics — older, whiter, and less well-educated than the rest of the population.

Both parties also find themselves with an unclear message. Over the past decade, the Tories have struggled to find a defining narrative beyond wanting to win. They have tried austerity, Brexit, levelling up, tax cuts and austerity again, yet have still ended up with an economy devoid of growth and stagnating wages. They have waged a half-interested culture war but largely become socially progressive. Even on immigration, their professed conservatism has resolved into higher rates. They have chased focus groups and polls until they have come out of the rabbit hole believing in nothing.

The Republican Party has the same problem, but in an even more chaotic form. The neocon Christianity of the Bush years gave rise to the Tea Party which eventually spiralled into the Right-wing populism Trump harnessed. Now moving even more quickly, the American Right largely seems to be made up of an assortment of “own the libs at all costs” reactionaries. Still struggling to digest the impact of the TV-star president, ratings and attention are their driving force. There is little narrative to what they discuss, little thought — just knee-jerk responses to whatever the Democrats propose. Everything else seems more co-opted than born of conviction.

In 2023, the parties will have to find a way past this, a way to consolidate before the next electoral test. Instinctively, it feels it could be harder for the Tories. They are in government, dealing with the daily challenges that it throws up. With the economy in crisis, public services falling apart, and a war in Europe continuing, these will not be insignificant. After a dozen years in power, they are exhausted, emotionally, and intellectually, with many of their MPs already checked out. Those who remain are too focused on surviving to think of thriving. Party unity is shot, while internal bickering is rampant.

If the party is to succeed, perhaps even survive, beyond the next 18 months, the work has to begin now. The Conservatives need to find a compelling case for their own existence, beyond relying on the votes of older retirees. They need to find big answers to the practical issues the under-50s face, as well as a way to argue for conservative principles without sounding like an old man wailing at a cloud.

None of these issues is beyond the scope of conservatism. The only reason it should fall into decline is a lack of ardour and applied thinking. After all, young people should be more economically Right-wing than ever. Far more want a slice of prosperity than to tear it down. They bridle at stagnant wages and rising prices, but have embraced “side hustles”, investing and entrepreneurialism. In this sense, they are conservatives, even if they don’t know it. The Tories would do well to explain why.

On the climate, the Right can be the party of technological development and conservation, as opposed to the grim self-denial of the progressive degrowthers. A vision of nuclear power stations, replanted forests and efficient urban density is far more appealing than eating bugs and living in pods. It can bring with it an expansive view of the family, one that sees gay marriage as a win for tradition rather than a kick against it.

Meanwhile, faced with the rising tide of divisive identity politics, both the GOP and the Conservatives could articulate a positive view of integrated communities, seizing on some of the conservative instincts of minority groups. They could acknowledge concerns about immigration with policies that are discerning while still encouraging economic growth, and have at their heart integration rather than separation. The Right gets caught out when it sees its values on economics and culture as antagonistic, rather than seeing both entwined in a sense of national stewardship. This is where the foundations of continuity and renewal can be laid.

In essence, both the American and British Right are hamstrung by the different iterations of the same problem: the Tories and GOP are devoid of ideas, empty of vision, but adept at election campaigning. This has made them susceptible to demagogues such as Trump and Johnson, both of whom were only loosely conservative in their hearts. It has also left them exposed as electoral trends have shifted. Indeed, both parties now find themselves languishing among emerging electoral groups. Not only are the educated and ethnic minorities less likely to support them, but these are also a growing portion of the electorate. This means that a concentration in whiter, older, suburban and rural fringe votes is becoming more pronounced for both parties and becoming a less sure-fire route to success.

And yet, British and American conservatives are used to regeneration. They have enjoyed success across different eras and political landscapes, adapting as they go. The lack of ideological dogmatism on the Right lends itself to effective pivots, while a belief in the value of the individual often allows them to listen to voters better than ideologues. In the Fifties, both parties bounced back from defeats by embracing a tempered version of their opponent’s economic reforms, rather than rejecting them outright, while both Thatcher and Reagan managed to sell their vision for prosperity to the ordinary voters and elites alike.

But past performance is no guarantee of future success. Where the parties have fallen into the doldrums and been beset by scandals, they have found a reanimating purpose.  After the debacle of Nixon, the Republicans found Reagan. In the decline of the Seventies, the Tories found Thatcher. They corrected their fall not by repeating the same things more loudly, but by innovating on a platform they believed in and could sell to voters.

2023 will be the year where the Right decides if it can do this once more: by finding a narrative that engages with the modern world and appeals to a modern electorate; by finding ideas beyond those led by polling and focus groups; and by shedding the chaos and dishonesty of some of its recent incarnations. Without an injection of ideas, conservatism will flail and founder. The Right has sustained itself on “whatever gets us elected”, but has now driven itself into a corner built on voting blocs where the maths no longer works.

Conservatism revolves around duty, service, community, and prosperity. Its advocates succeeded in the past by finding 19th and 20th-century ways to apply them to 19th and 20th-century problems. Macmillan and Thatcher did not spend their premierships talking about Empire Preference, nor did Eisenhower and Reagan simply ape the politics of the Gilded Age — they saw new challenges and attempted new ideas. If their successors are to avoid ceding the field to the Left, they must do the same.

The election year of 2024 could push Tories and Republicans out of power until the end of the decade. Their failure to generate a convincing case for survival could do the same. So, 2023 will be marked with a key test — whether either party can shed the shouty charlatans and hollow men and find some answers which connect with people. If not, it will be another year of wailing while the tectonic plates shift against them.


John Oxley is a corporate strategist and political commentator. His Substack is Joxley Writes.

Mr_John_Oxley

Join the discussion


Join like minded readers that support our journalism by becoming a paid subscriber


To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.

Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.

Subscribe
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

169 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

There is a problem with your recommendations for the Tories – firstly, they have no conservative principles to argue for anymore. Secondly, knowing this, and remembering their utterly abysmal record when it comes to keeping electoral promise, nobody will believe them.

In twelve years they reneged on everything except the promise to hold the EU referendum, which they then spent years trying to wriggle out of, and they’ve enacted about two-thirds of Brexit. Every other promise was a deliberate lie.

Therefore, promises will not be enough – there must be action. They’ve got eighteen months. Better get on with it.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Fantastic summation.

I think at this stage though I don’t want them to ‘get on with’ anything. I want them as far away from the levers of power as possible – even if in the short term the alternative is worse.

Almost to a man or woman they are weak, stupid, cowardly imposters posing as Conservatives – as devoid of ideas as they are principles; the scale of their failures conspiring to leave huge swathes of the population utterly reliant on state support and the rest mostly convinced that anything with even a whiff of rightwing about it is bound to produce the same dismal outcomes.

Only total destruction of the party will suffice for a renewal. The only problem is that the death of ‘The Conservatives’ could – in the UK at least – very well mean the death of Conservatism itself.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Jam
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

When was the last time the Tories were actually conservative? I’d argue it pre dates Thatcher, seeing as she was a turbo charged economic liberal who didn’t conserve a single thing. Every leader since then has largely followed her lead, unfortunately for them that particular brand of neoliberal economics is now becoming increasingly unpopular amongst the electorate

andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thatcher behaved like a junkie selling the furniture, and declared it a miracle.

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

A small state is a conservative trait, I give her credit for that.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

A small state is fine – if it’s working. When it can’t function for functionaries, and can’t focus for focus groups, it’s not a ‘state’ but a rabble. As for its purpose? Beyond ‘winning the next election’, can anyone point to what that might be? Because running a country for the benefit of its citizens and denizens doesn’t seem to figure at all.
The Tory problem is the UK problem in miniature: we have been fooled into thinking we have no collective identity or interests, but exist in a mesh of intersecting and competing ‘communities’ based on ‘identities’ approved by academics and professional activists.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

A small state is fine if it works. The reforms Thatcher however hollowed out the capacity of the state to get anything done, which led to basic functions having to be farmed out to private contractors for double the cost.
Much like Blair with his PPIs, it was simply a case of fiddling the books to appear to be saving money

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Any economist will tell you that anything run by the state is more expensive than the private sector

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Any economist will tell you that anything run by the state is more expensive than the private sector

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

..for sure! Having all national assets in the hands of foreigners is clearly a better option. Sell everything to the highest bidder; let them strip the assets and invest zero. Instead let them suck the utilities dry, pay huge dividends and make obscene profits. Yep, far better approach!

andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

I suppose it’s a matter of conservatism often falling into wanting to revert to some better past time – socially mobile meritocracies do not evolve from a small state, and that was the promise / lie / contradiction of thatcherism. Renting ones country instead of owning it is not “small state”, it’s small brained. She sold it, blew the proceeds and now the British people are subject to rentseeking by big business for assets they previously collectively owned.

Last edited 1 year ago by andrew.iddon
Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

A small state is fine – if it’s working. When it can’t function for functionaries, and can’t focus for focus groups, it’s not a ‘state’ but a rabble. As for its purpose? Beyond ‘winning the next election’, can anyone point to what that might be? Because running a country for the benefit of its citizens and denizens doesn’t seem to figure at all.
The Tory problem is the UK problem in miniature: we have been fooled into thinking we have no collective identity or interests, but exist in a mesh of intersecting and competing ‘communities’ based on ‘identities’ approved by academics and professional activists.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

A small state is fine if it works. The reforms Thatcher however hollowed out the capacity of the state to get anything done, which led to basic functions having to be farmed out to private contractors for double the cost.
Much like Blair with his PPIs, it was simply a case of fiddling the books to appear to be saving money

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

..for sure! Having all national assets in the hands of foreigners is clearly a better option. Sell everything to the highest bidder; let them strip the assets and invest zero. Instead let them suck the utilities dry, pay huge dividends and make obscene profits. Yep, far better approach!

andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Moore

I suppose it’s a matter of conservatism often falling into wanting to revert to some better past time – socially mobile meritocracies do not evolve from a small state, and that was the promise / lie / contradiction of thatcherism. Renting ones country instead of owning it is not “small state”, it’s small brained. She sold it, blew the proceeds and now the British people are subject to rentseeking by big business for assets they previously collectively owned.

Last edited 1 year ago by andrew.iddon
mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

Thatcher was not IMO a conservative – she was concerned with what ppl did in their bedrooms, their tastes in music or intoxicants. BAe and Marconi were DSS schemes for the middle classes. Like her hero Pinochet she was a corporatist, his precedents were Mussolini & Franco. She was, however, a good antidote to the greater evils of the Wilson/Scargill/Brezhnev axis and the “Frankfurt School”. Re next election i think Rishi should follow Ronald Reagans advice: “Don’t just do something, stand there”. Whilst we still have a free press and wide internet access Labour can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Their systemic racism ©EHRC against Jews and white folk plus their insistence there are no women’s rights because, well , there are no women, will be enough if British common sense prevails.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

I thought ‘wimmin’s rights’ was a bad thing- I find it hard to keep up these days.
But yes, Labour have absolutely declared that “there are no women”- that’s an undeniable, stone-cold fact.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

You’re confusing conservatism and libertarianism

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Your contribution came in two halves: the first made a good deal of sense. The second half was the greatest load of crap I’ve read in a long time! My favourite t**d in the mix is the bit about “free press”.. Ha ha ha…

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Your comments about Thatcher’s beliefs and policies are certainly original – but absolutely potty for all that! Your grasp of basic economic policy is somewhat lacking.

All those military dictators wearing uniforms and occasionally sunglasses must be the same, right?! Spain under Franco tried autarchy for decades, which immiserated it even more than it had been following the Civil War, until he appointed a technocratic government in the 1960s which did finally spark very fast (though unbalanced) growth. Pinochet on the other hand immediately called in the free market ‘Chicago Boys’ whose policies were more akin to Thatcher’s, though more radical as of course all the country was not a democracy and opposition could be brutally suppressed.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

I thought ‘wimmin’s rights’ was a bad thing- I find it hard to keep up these days.
But yes, Labour have absolutely declared that “there are no women”- that’s an undeniable, stone-cold fact.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

You’re confusing conservatism and libertarianism

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Your contribution came in two halves: the first made a good deal of sense. The second half was the greatest load of crap I’ve read in a long time! My favourite t**d in the mix is the bit about “free press”.. Ha ha ha…

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
1 year ago
Reply to  mike otter

Your comments about Thatcher’s beliefs and policies are certainly original – but absolutely potty for all that! Your grasp of basic economic policy is somewhat lacking.

All those military dictators wearing uniforms and occasionally sunglasses must be the same, right?! Spain under Franco tried autarchy for decades, which immiserated it even more than it had been following the Civil War, until he appointed a technocratic government in the 1960s which did finally spark very fast (though unbalanced) growth. Pinochet on the other hand immediately called in the free market ‘Chicago Boys’ whose policies were more akin to Thatcher’s, though more radical as of course all the country was not a democracy and opposition could be brutally suppressed.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

She pawned her guitar and saxophone She’s pawning everything in your mother’s home

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

It was a miracle for the UK economy and it has all been wasted by pygmies in No.10 ever since

Andy Moore
Andy Moore
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

A small state is a conservative trait, I give her credit for that.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

Thatcher was not IMO a conservative – she was concerned with what ppl did in their bedrooms, their tastes in music or intoxicants. BAe and Marconi were DSS schemes for the middle classes. Like her hero Pinochet she was a corporatist, his precedents were Mussolini & Franco. She was, however, a good antidote to the greater evils of the Wilson/Scargill/Brezhnev axis and the “Frankfurt School”. Re next election i think Rishi should follow Ronald Reagans advice: “Don’t just do something, stand there”. Whilst we still have a free press and wide internet access Labour can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Their systemic racism ©EHRC against Jews and white folk plus their insistence there are no women’s rights because, well , there are no women, will be enough if British common sense prevails.

mike otter
mike otter
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

She pawned her guitar and saxophone She’s pawning everything in your mother’s home

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

It was a miracle for the UK economy and it has all been wasted by pygmies in No.10 ever since

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Oh, I don’t know, they’ve always preserved access to all the gravy trains to those who vote how they’re told to. They conserved beautifully the career progression path from fast-talking economic wide boy to biddable Minister to cover-up artist Cabinet Member to £1m+ a year salary with a billionaire’s front organisation, haven’t they??

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think you’d have to go back to Macmillan/Douglas-Hume, and only then because they didn’t attempt to do anything very much apart from “manage” the start of the withdrawal from the Empire. Heath wasn’t a conservative.

andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Thatcher behaved like a junkie selling the furniture, and declared it a miracle.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Oh, I don’t know, they’ve always preserved access to all the gravy trains to those who vote how they’re told to. They conserved beautifully the career progression path from fast-talking economic wide boy to biddable Minister to cover-up artist Cabinet Member to £1m+ a year salary with a billionaire’s front organisation, haven’t they??

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think you’d have to go back to Macmillan/Douglas-Hume, and only then because they didn’t attempt to do anything very much apart from “manage” the start of the withdrawal from the Empire. Heath wasn’t a conservative.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

I don’t believe the Conssrvatives are weak, stupid or cowardly. They are simply no longer concerned with any semblance of duty to the nation or electorate. They have abandoned all relationship with the truth, and see no reason why anyone would think otherwise.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

You may well be right! Their apparently stupidity may be a cunning plan to hide the truth (you outline).. Blackadder style??

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

But then again what has Labor offered or for that matter the Democrats in the USA – spend. spend, spend to buy votes. That’s eventually not going to work either…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

You may well be right! Their apparently stupidity may be a cunning plan to hide the truth (you outline).. Blackadder style??

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

But then again what has Labor offered or for that matter the Democrats in the USA – spend. spend, spend to buy votes. That’s eventually not going to work either…

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Conservatism (or traditionalism, for clarity) is still firmly rooted in the population. Don’t let the metropolitan Twitteristas fool you.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony L

The electorate aren’t fooled. Nor are we represented.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

It’s a goof thing for your ‘theory’ that “the electorate” are an amorphous blob who all think the same- coincidentally, exactly and only what you think.
Why not just be honest, and say ‘this is what I think”, and leave all the silly assumptions about what everybody else thinks?

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

It’s a goof thing for your ‘theory’ that “the electorate” are an amorphous blob who all think the same- coincidentally, exactly and only what you think.
Why not just be honest, and say ‘this is what I think”, and leave all the silly assumptions about what everybody else thinks?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony L

If Conservatism is maintaining the status quo I’d day you couldn’t be more wrong! If it’s yearning for the “good ol’ days” thar exist in flawed memories then I’d say you’re spot on.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony L

The electorate aren’t fooled. Nor are we represented.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Anthony L

If Conservatism is maintaining the status quo I’d day you couldn’t be more wrong! If it’s yearning for the “good ol’ days” thar exist in flawed memories then I’d say you’re spot on.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

There is a clear need to redefine the term “Conservatism” not so much in dictionary terms but in terms of what those of a right tendency actually want, fully informed on what the consequences are. For example, if it’s rampant capitalism, the market rules, winner takes all and the devil takes the rest, fine; say so. Or perhaps it’s hard work and responsibility well rewarded and the work shy squeezed, fine; say so. But be clear.
Be clear in particular about the role of government in it’s obligation to redistribute the wealth which naturally makes its way to the obscenely rich OR whether scant social obligations are to be paid for by the poor or by magic money. Be clear too on whether the City’s laundering of criminally acquired assets is acceptable or even viable. If it is, fine; but say so and be clear on the likely outcomes and unintended consequences of all these policies. Building Conservatism on lies and deceit is not a runner. That at least, is now obvious, surely?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

When was the last time the Tories were actually conservative? I’d argue it pre dates Thatcher, seeing as she was a turbo charged economic liberal who didn’t conserve a single thing. Every leader since then has largely followed her lead, unfortunately for them that particular brand of neoliberal economics is now becoming increasingly unpopular amongst the electorate

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

I don’t believe the Conssrvatives are weak, stupid or cowardly. They are simply no longer concerned with any semblance of duty to the nation or electorate. They have abandoned all relationship with the truth, and see no reason why anyone would think otherwise.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

Conservatism (or traditionalism, for clarity) is still firmly rooted in the population. Don’t let the metropolitan Twitteristas fool you.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Jam

There is a clear need to redefine the term “Conservatism” not so much in dictionary terms but in terms of what those of a right tendency actually want, fully informed on what the consequences are. For example, if it’s rampant capitalism, the market rules, winner takes all and the devil takes the rest, fine; say so. Or perhaps it’s hard work and responsibility well rewarded and the work shy squeezed, fine; say so. But be clear.
Be clear in particular about the role of government in it’s obligation to redistribute the wealth which naturally makes its way to the obscenely rich OR whether scant social obligations are to be paid for by the poor or by magic money. Be clear too on whether the City’s laundering of criminally acquired assets is acceptable or even viable. If it is, fine; but say so and be clear on the likely outcomes and unintended consequences of all these policies. Building Conservatism on lies and deceit is not a runner. That at least, is now obvious, surely?

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

I genuinely struggle to think of anything conservative that the Conservatives have done since being elected back in 2010. If I’m generous, you could argue that they were being classically liberal but that’s about it.

Jim Jam
Jim Jam
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

Fantastic summation.

I think at this stage though I don’t want them to ‘get on with’ anything. I want them as far away from the levers of power as possible – even if in the short term the alternative is worse.

Almost to a man or woman they are weak, stupid, cowardly imposters posing as Conservatives – as devoid of ideas as they are principles; the scale of their failures conspiring to leave huge swathes of the population utterly reliant on state support and the rest mostly convinced that anything with even a whiff of rightwing about it is bound to produce the same dismal outcomes.

Only total destruction of the party will suffice for a renewal. The only problem is that the death of ‘The Conservatives’ could – in the UK at least – very well mean the death of Conservatism itself.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Jam
John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

I genuinely struggle to think of anything conservative that the Conservatives have done since being elected back in 2010. If I’m generous, you could argue that they were being classically liberal but that’s about it.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

There is a problem with your recommendations for the Tories – firstly, they have no conservative principles to argue for anymore. Secondly, knowing this, and remembering their utterly abysmal record when it comes to keeping electoral promise, nobody will believe them.

In twelve years they reneged on everything except the promise to hold the EU referendum, which they then spent years trying to wriggle out of, and they’ve enacted about two-thirds of Brexit. Every other promise was a deliberate lie.

Therefore, promises will not be enough – there must be action. They’ve got eighteen months. Better get on with it.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Not buying it. The Tories are losing people like me, who stayed with them in 1997, a period when not a few MPs on the payroll were outright corrupt, selling themselves to the highest bidder to promote causes in government circles as the party headed for a huge defeat. We could just about put up with that, but we cannot put up with the complete nullity they have become in a very short space of time. They were at the wheel when fate presented this country with the greatest challenge since WWII, and instead of rising to this challenge with independent thinking and gumption, they have been found wanting.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Spot on!
All of our so called Tory Governments since 1945 have supinely accepted and nurtured the Welfare State established by Attlee and Beveridge.
When one thinks of the charlatans involved, Eden, Macmillan, Heath Major & Co is it any wonder we are in the present predicament?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

What happens when one allows the butler and footman to run the estate….

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

What happens when one allows the butler and footman to run the estate….

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Spot on!
All of our so called Tory Governments since 1945 have supinely accepted and nurtured the Welfare State established by Attlee and Beveridge.
When one thinks of the charlatans involved, Eden, Macmillan, Heath Major & Co is it any wonder we are in the present predicament?

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 year ago

Not buying it. The Tories are losing people like me, who stayed with them in 1997, a period when not a few MPs on the payroll were outright corrupt, selling themselves to the highest bidder to promote causes in government circles as the party headed for a huge defeat. We could just about put up with that, but we cannot put up with the complete nullity they have become in a very short space of time. They were at the wheel when fate presented this country with the greatest challenge since WWII, and instead of rising to this challenge with independent thinking and gumption, they have been found wanting.

Last edited 1 year ago by Prashant Kotak
Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

“They have chased focus groups and polls until they have come out of the rabbit hole believing in nothing.”

This is the core problem with the Conservative movement across the west. They don’t believe in anything. The GOP has won some battles by opposing hardcore wokeism, but Trump has hurt their brand.

The Tories in Britain and Canada are pathetic. You can’t distinguish between them and Liberals and Labour. Making a half-hearted, occasional attempt at outrage only makes them look weak.

At least the GOP has Desantis. He has shown that actions speak louder than words. He turned a purple state deep red by standing up for the working and middle class. Conservatives everywhere need to take note.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Sounds about right.. I especially loved Truss’s deeply felt outrage at the import of French cheese!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Sounds about right.. I especially loved Truss’s deeply felt outrage at the import of French cheese!

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago

“They have chased focus groups and polls until they have come out of the rabbit hole believing in nothing.”

This is the core problem with the Conservative movement across the west. They don’t believe in anything. The GOP has won some battles by opposing hardcore wokeism, but Trump has hurt their brand.

The Tories in Britain and Canada are pathetic. You can’t distinguish between them and Liberals and Labour. Making a half-hearted, occasional attempt at outrage only makes them look weak.

At least the GOP has Desantis. He has shown that actions speak louder than words. He turned a purple state deep red by standing up for the working and middle class. Conservatives everywhere need to take note.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Interesting perspective but it lacks engagement with the crucial question of our time: do you believe in, and align with, the globalist, utopian narrative of “transformative” policies to “reimagine” society, economy, and politics for a “sustainable” and more “equitable” future in which man has become not only the master of the natural environment, but over his own psychology and genetically in-built tendency towards competition with others – and all of the creative and destructive forces that it unleashes?

None of that is conservative. It’s radically “progressive”, following a eugenicist line well-trodden by the Huxleys, HG Wells, Bernard Shaw and others. But nominal conservatives, in the UK and elsewhere, detached from both present-day reality and historical understanding, seem totally oblivious to this and so enthusiastically jump aboard.

Naturally, like all attempts to buck human nature and defy physical limits (twentieth century Europe offers some obvious examples), these plans won’t work and they will do more harm than good – the only question is when it will come to be commonly acknowledged that they are failing and harmful. Once that tipping point is reached all of these politicians and parties – right, left, or centre – associated will become throughly discredited and unelectable.

And what then? The scope for the most virulent authoritarian populism – of hard left or hard right varieties – that would deconstruct liberal democracy itself should be obvious. As should (and the two are not mutually exclusive) be the possibility of foreign occupation, perhaps militarily or more likely, today’s world, through the subtler means of information control.

Actual conservatives and actual progressives alike, if they have any integrity or honour or care about the country that they are going to bequeath their children, must now find the humility and courage to think again, stand up to be counted, and get off the globalist juggernaut that is accelerating off a cliff.

Steve Jerome
Steve Jerome
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Fine words but absolute ballocks

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jerome

Um, thanks, I guess. Care to expand?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jerome

Really? Which bits? And why?

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jerome

Um, thanks, I guess. Care to expand?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Jerome

Really? Which bits? And why?

Debbie Willmot
Debbie Willmot
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Huxley?

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie Willmot

Yes, Aldous Huxley and his brother, Julian who was amongst other things, the President of the British Eugenics society, the first Director of UNESCO, and a founder member of the WWF (the pandas not the fake wrestling).

I would recommend reading Aldous Huxley’s lecture entitled “The Population Explosion”, given at the University of Santa Barbara on 9 March 1959 (available in compilation with a number of other interesting lectures the series in “The Human Situation” published by Triad Granada in 1980). In it, Huxley makes clear his concern about the “awful probability that we are just going to go on having more and more illiterate adults than we hand before”, and that “in very many cases the effort to raise human quality is being thwarted by the mere increase of human quantity, that quality is very often incompatible with quantity”. Uneducated, malnourished masses living in ugly “gigantic cities” cannot, in his view, sustain a democratic system of government and he fears that within “a hundreds to two hundred years an immensely hypertrophied human species will have become a kind of cancer on this planet and will ruin the quasi-organism on which lives”. He advocates “international policy” to implement some “intelligent and humane method” to solve the over-population problem, which is a “profoundly religious problem, a problem of human destiny”.

In a later lecture in the series, “The World’s Future”, he lauds the “most elaborate and essentially optimistic evolutionary philosophy” of Herbert Spencer [the acclaimed, racist, founder of “social Darwinism”] and other ‘progressive’ thinkers interested in charting a better future for mankind. Huxley discusses Bertrand Russell’s “extremely realistic and sensible” conclusions that the only alternatives for the future are a catastrophic nuclear war or “the creation of a single world state … by force, as the result of one power being victorious in a nuclear war … or under the threat of force, under the fear of what might happen, and as a result of reason and considered enlightened self-interest and humane ideals”. He suggests that this might only come about when there is some external threat that forces people to unite: “Undoubtedly, the best thing for world government under law would be an invasion from Mars”, but perhaps humans can persuade ourselves that “we are our own Martians” to “unite against ourselves for our own higher interests” and solve problems including over-population.

It’s so important to understand that the root of this captivating, so-called ‘inclusive’, high tech progressivism advocated by groups such as the WEF, however well intended it or its proponents might ostensibly be, really is in thinking which is profoundly anti-human, anti-liberal, and contemptuous of the worth and value of human life.

(I posted most of this comment on Prof Alison Bashford’s October 2022 piece suggesting that the Huxley brothers would be glad to see today’s declining birth rates https://unherd.com/2022/10/overpopulation-isnt-a-threat/ but thought it worth repeating here.)

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Very informative but I’m not sure of its relevance… unless you think the WEF is, or has already, taken over?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Very informative but I’m not sure of its relevance… unless you think the WEF is, or has already, taken over?

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie Willmot

Yes, Aldous Huxley and his brother, Julian who was amongst other things, the President of the British Eugenics society, the first Director of UNESCO, and a founder member of the WWF (the pandas not the fake wrestling).

I would recommend reading Aldous Huxley’s lecture entitled “The Population Explosion”, given at the University of Santa Barbara on 9 March 1959 (available in compilation with a number of other interesting lectures the series in “The Human Situation” published by Triad Granada in 1980). In it, Huxley makes clear his concern about the “awful probability that we are just going to go on having more and more illiterate adults than we hand before”, and that “in very many cases the effort to raise human quality is being thwarted by the mere increase of human quantity, that quality is very often incompatible with quantity”. Uneducated, malnourished masses living in ugly “gigantic cities” cannot, in his view, sustain a democratic system of government and he fears that within “a hundreds to two hundred years an immensely hypertrophied human species will have become a kind of cancer on this planet and will ruin the quasi-organism on which lives”. He advocates “international policy” to implement some “intelligent and humane method” to solve the over-population problem, which is a “profoundly religious problem, a problem of human destiny”.

In a later lecture in the series, “The World’s Future”, he lauds the “most elaborate and essentially optimistic evolutionary philosophy” of Herbert Spencer [the acclaimed, racist, founder of “social Darwinism”] and other ‘progressive’ thinkers interested in charting a better future for mankind. Huxley discusses Bertrand Russell’s “extremely realistic and sensible” conclusions that the only alternatives for the future are a catastrophic nuclear war or “the creation of a single world state … by force, as the result of one power being victorious in a nuclear war … or under the threat of force, under the fear of what might happen, and as a result of reason and considered enlightened self-interest and humane ideals”. He suggests that this might only come about when there is some external threat that forces people to unite: “Undoubtedly, the best thing for world government under law would be an invasion from Mars”, but perhaps humans can persuade ourselves that “we are our own Martians” to “unite against ourselves for our own higher interests” and solve problems including over-population.

It’s so important to understand that the root of this captivating, so-called ‘inclusive’, high tech progressivism advocated by groups such as the WEF, however well intended it or its proponents might ostensibly be, really is in thinking which is profoundly anti-human, anti-liberal, and contemptuous of the worth and value of human life.

(I posted most of this comment on Prof Alison Bashford’s October 2022 piece suggesting that the Huxley brothers would be glad to see today’s declining birth rates https://unherd.com/2022/10/overpopulation-isnt-a-threat/ but thought it worth repeating here.)

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

What do you men when you say “defy physical limits”?
What particular physical limits are you talking about, as one might define the entire history of humanity as one long project of ‘defying physical limits’, for good or ill.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I had in mind things predicating an energy “strategy” on extracting raw materials eg lithium which would, at the scale necessary, cost more in energy to extract that the energy they would generate. Also the idea that medicinal science can radically increase average human life expectancy way beyond that achievable with healthy lifestyles and basic level sanitation and medical care. This is why the authoritarian “progressives” love digitisation and the (failing) “metaverse” so much – in that fantasy matrix there are no physical limits and one can be whatever one wants to be or, more accurately, what the creepy manipulators pulling the strings want one to be.

I would agree that there is a long history of defying physical limits through technological progress but what I think people find hard to accept is the law of diminishing technological returns kicking in – they extrapolate that the (eventual) great enhancement to mass human wellbeing brought about, in the West, by the industrialisation of the 19th century can and must be repeated in the 21st century. Conservatives, especially, should be deeply sceptical of such claims and progressives, especially, should have regard to the suffering (eg a short, miserable life of drudgery in a noisy, dirty, dangerous mill) that it caused for many at the time. Both seem to have very short memories.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I’m not sure that I’ve yet to come across anyone proposing an energy source that will “extract” more energy that it would generate. Why would someone actually propose that- could you supply some technical references?
You seem to be confusing, or at least conflating, two things; on the one hand, the ‘advance’ of human technology, which with AI is exponential, and on the other, the wisdom or otherwise of actually using these technologies- and the perhaps malign effects some might have on our lives.
Medical science, for example, has been changing and extending our lives for a couple of centuries- you seem to be suggesting that it’s suddenly now become an affront to the Natural Order, which is an abstract ideological claim, and rather arbitrary in regards to any specific scientific technology. Should I refuse a particular, novel treatment for my cancer, on the grounds that I should naturally die, and any new advances are somehow “Progressive authoritarianism”? Who decides which new cancer treatments are humane, and which are offensive to conservative principles?
Most people share at least some of your fears about a human technological future unconfined by any sense of ‘Natural’ limits (though by definition, technology cannot “defy physical limits”). But making technology and science a metaphor for ideology isn’t very useful as a way of engaging with the complexity of the situation. My personal desire not to die of cancer isn’t a submission to a vast global Progressive authoritarian conspiracy.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I’d strongly agree that your personal desire not to die of cancer is not a submission to any kind of conspiracy, though what I was describing is not a conspiracy. It’s – in my view – a blinkered, somewhat self-interested, and in any event highly egotistical belief in the power of modern technology to overcome all of humankind’s problems. Perhaps I am wrong but I just do not believe that medical science will be able to extend average human lifespans beyond the natural limit that a minority of people have been lucky (or not, depending on your perspective) to be able to achieve ie somewhere in the region of 90 to 100 years. To put it bluntly, if the tech saves you from dying of cancer at 85, then that’s great, but the chances are that heart failure or pneumonia’s probably going to get you by the time you’re 95. We are but incredibly complex candles in the wind (by the way, if you are suffering from cancer I wish you all the very best for a speedy recovery and long life to come).

I would also dispute the assertion that the “advance of technology is exponential” with AI. How so? The robots are not miracle workers, they are not gods; they are algorithms. They occupy space in a universe where immutable physical laws apply. Nothing will come of nothing.

On your first para – it’s possible that self-interested, politically-motivated, myopic, or mistaken people might propose a scheme that might work at a limited scale but which could not work at larger scale (unless the magic bots get busy really quickly!). How many businesses have succeeded at first, prompting them to become over-optimistic and to fail after attempting to expand too quickly?

You asked for a technical reference: as an example, according to leading experts in the field “to meet UK electric car targets for 2050 we would need to produce just under two times the current total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and 12% of one year’s total annual production of mined copper.” https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

To come back to the article, and my original comment: there is nothing conservative about putting all our money, faith, and hopes in unproven, utopian schemes that lack humility and which risk failing spectacularly and destroying hard-won public trust in both our political system and in the power of medical science to make incremental, positive progress.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

A lot of your post comes down essentially to little more than ‘it won’t work if it won’t work’. Which is, of course, undeniable.
If medical science cannot extend our lives much beyond the present limits, then fine, it’s found the limit. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest this is the case, however. What worries me is not over-estimations of medical efficacy, but the gap between our medical ability to extend life, and our social ability to make these ever-extending and frail lives pleasurable or meaningful- that, to me, is our problem.
By the way, AI IS advancing currently at an exponential rate, in terms of the increase in computing power. That’s just a fact, though perhaps a frightening one. Nature is full of exponential rates of change, it’s a mathematical feature of the world. It’s never, however, sustainable for long. At some point, it will crash.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

A lot of your post comes down essentially to little more than ‘it won’t work if it won’t work’. Which is, of course, undeniable.
If medical science cannot extend our lives much beyond the present limits, then fine, it’s found the limit. I’ve seen no evidence to suggest this is the case, however. What worries me is not over-estimations of medical efficacy, but the gap between our medical ability to extend life, and our social ability to make these ever-extending and frail lives pleasurable or meaningful- that, to me, is our problem.
By the way, AI IS advancing currently at an exponential rate, in terms of the increase in computing power. That’s just a fact, though perhaps a frightening one. Nature is full of exponential rates of change, it’s a mathematical feature of the world. It’s never, however, sustainable for long. At some point, it will crash.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I’d strongly agree that your personal desire not to die of cancer is not a submission to any kind of conspiracy, though what I was describing is not a conspiracy. It’s – in my view – a blinkered, somewhat self-interested, and in any event highly egotistical belief in the power of modern technology to overcome all of humankind’s problems. Perhaps I am wrong but I just do not believe that medical science will be able to extend average human lifespans beyond the natural limit that a minority of people have been lucky (or not, depending on your perspective) to be able to achieve ie somewhere in the region of 90 to 100 years. To put it bluntly, if the tech saves you from dying of cancer at 85, then that’s great, but the chances are that heart failure or pneumonia’s probably going to get you by the time you’re 95. We are but incredibly complex candles in the wind (by the way, if you are suffering from cancer I wish you all the very best for a speedy recovery and long life to come).

I would also dispute the assertion that the “advance of technology is exponential” with AI. How so? The robots are not miracle workers, they are not gods; they are algorithms. They occupy space in a universe where immutable physical laws apply. Nothing will come of nothing.

On your first para – it’s possible that self-interested, politically-motivated, myopic, or mistaken people might propose a scheme that might work at a limited scale but which could not work at larger scale (unless the magic bots get busy really quickly!). How many businesses have succeeded at first, prompting them to become over-optimistic and to fail after attempting to expand too quickly?

You asked for a technical reference: as an example, according to leading experts in the field “to meet UK electric car targets for 2050 we would need to produce just under two times the current total annual world cobalt production, nearly the entire world production of neodymium, three quarters the world’s lithium production and 12% of one year’s total annual production of mined copper.” https://www.nhm.ac.uk/press-office/press-releases/leading-scientists-set-out-resource-challenge-of-meeting-net-zer.html

To come back to the article, and my original comment: there is nothing conservative about putting all our money, faith, and hopes in unproven, utopian schemes that lack humility and which risk failing spectacularly and destroying hard-won public trust in both our political system and in the power of medical science to make incremental, positive progress.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

I’m not sure that I’ve yet to come across anyone proposing an energy source that will “extract” more energy that it would generate. Why would someone actually propose that- could you supply some technical references?
You seem to be confusing, or at least conflating, two things; on the one hand, the ‘advance’ of human technology, which with AI is exponential, and on the other, the wisdom or otherwise of actually using these technologies- and the perhaps malign effects some might have on our lives.
Medical science, for example, has been changing and extending our lives for a couple of centuries- you seem to be suggesting that it’s suddenly now become an affront to the Natural Order, which is an abstract ideological claim, and rather arbitrary in regards to any specific scientific technology. Should I refuse a particular, novel treatment for my cancer, on the grounds that I should naturally die, and any new advances are somehow “Progressive authoritarianism”? Who decides which new cancer treatments are humane, and which are offensive to conservative principles?
Most people share at least some of your fears about a human technological future unconfined by any sense of ‘Natural’ limits (though by definition, technology cannot “defy physical limits”). But making technology and science a metaphor for ideology isn’t very useful as a way of engaging with the complexity of the situation. My personal desire not to die of cancer isn’t a submission to a vast global Progressive authoritarian conspiracy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

“Defying physical limts” is a contradiction surely: to defy them is to prove they are not limits is it not? Or do you refer to the unintended consequences of going beyond sustainable limits?

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My point exactly. I think you need to ask the OP..

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

My point exactly. I think you need to ask the OP..

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

I had in mind things predicating an energy “strategy” on extracting raw materials eg lithium which would, at the scale necessary, cost more in energy to extract that the energy they would generate. Also the idea that medicinal science can radically increase average human life expectancy way beyond that achievable with healthy lifestyles and basic level sanitation and medical care. This is why the authoritarian “progressives” love digitisation and the (failing) “metaverse” so much – in that fantasy matrix there are no physical limits and one can be whatever one wants to be or, more accurately, what the creepy manipulators pulling the strings want one to be.

I would agree that there is a long history of defying physical limits through technological progress but what I think people find hard to accept is the law of diminishing technological returns kicking in – they extrapolate that the (eventual) great enhancement to mass human wellbeing brought about, in the West, by the industrialisation of the 19th century can and must be repeated in the 21st century. Conservatives, especially, should be deeply sceptical of such claims and progressives, especially, should have regard to the suffering (eg a short, miserable life of drudgery in a noisy, dirty, dangerous mill) that it caused for many at the time. Both seem to have very short memories.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

“Defying physical limts” is a contradiction surely: to defy them is to prove they are not limits is it not? Or do you refer to the unintended consequences of going beyond sustainable limits?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Sounds right to me… sadly, the electorate have little time for humility and honesty in their politicians and prefer instead the Johnsons and Farages of this world. Maybe that’s Starmer’s strength, ie that he isn’t a narcissist? He strikes me as being as close to Conservatism as it’s possible to be, now at least.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Liam, if you believe Starmer not to be a narcissist and to be a Conservative, sadly I am afraid that you are very, very badly mistaken.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Liam, if you believe Starmer not to be a narcissist and to be a Conservative, sadly I am afraid that you are very, very badly mistaken.

Steve Jerome
Steve Jerome
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Fine words but absolute ballocks

Debbie Willmot
Debbie Willmot
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Huxley?

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

What do you men when you say “defy physical limits”?
What particular physical limits are you talking about, as one might define the entire history of humanity as one long project of ‘defying physical limits’, for good or ill.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Horsman

Sounds right to me… sadly, the electorate have little time for humility and honesty in their politicians and prefer instead the Johnsons and Farages of this world. Maybe that’s Starmer’s strength, ie that he isn’t a narcissist? He strikes me as being as close to Conservatism as it’s possible to be, now at least.

Andrew Horsman
Andrew Horsman
1 year ago

Interesting perspective but it lacks engagement with the crucial question of our time: do you believe in, and align with, the globalist, utopian narrative of “transformative” policies to “reimagine” society, economy, and politics for a “sustainable” and more “equitable” future in which man has become not only the master of the natural environment, but over his own psychology and genetically in-built tendency towards competition with others – and all of the creative and destructive forces that it unleashes?

None of that is conservative. It’s radically “progressive”, following a eugenicist line well-trodden by the Huxleys, HG Wells, Bernard Shaw and others. But nominal conservatives, in the UK and elsewhere, detached from both present-day reality and historical understanding, seem totally oblivious to this and so enthusiastically jump aboard.

Naturally, like all attempts to buck human nature and defy physical limits (twentieth century Europe offers some obvious examples), these plans won’t work and they will do more harm than good – the only question is when it will come to be commonly acknowledged that they are failing and harmful. Once that tipping point is reached all of these politicians and parties – right, left, or centre – associated will become throughly discredited and unelectable.

And what then? The scope for the most virulent authoritarian populism – of hard left or hard right varieties – that would deconstruct liberal democracy itself should be obvious. As should (and the two are not mutually exclusive) be the possibility of foreign occupation, perhaps militarily or more likely, today’s world, through the subtler means of information control.

Actual conservatives and actual progressives alike, if they have any integrity or honour or care about the country that they are going to bequeath their children, must now find the humility and courage to think again, stand up to be counted, and get off the globalist juggernaut that is accelerating off a cliff.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago

“Will conservatism survive 2023” presupposes the Tories are conservative, which they clearly ain’t regardless of the party name. They are a Blue Blairite party competing with a Red Blairite party.
Closest thing to an actual conservative party in UK politics right now is Reform UK.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago

I’d add the Social Democrats who are undergoing a big resurgence.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago

Reform UK isn’t really very conservative

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

No. The clue is in the name.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago

No. The clue is in the name.

Anthony L
Anthony L
1 year ago

I’d add the Social Democrats who are undergoing a big resurgence.

Jonathan Castro
Jonathan Castro
1 year ago

Reform UK isn’t really very conservative

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
1 year ago

“Will conservatism survive 2023” presupposes the Tories are conservative, which they clearly ain’t regardless of the party name. They are a Blue Blairite party competing with a Red Blairite party.
Closest thing to an actual conservative party in UK politics right now is Reform UK.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

“…and by shedding the chaos and dishonesty of some of its recent incarnations…”
I loved this summary, because it is so right. That is exactly what the Conservatives must do to succeed – but I believe they are quite incapable of doing it – which is why I want to see them lose big in 2024 and go out of business. We need the resulting vacuum for something better to fill.
As long as any dregs of the miserable Left/liberal/Metropolitan sneering class remain in the party, the Conservatives are doomed to remain forever “Starmer lite”, which is what they have become. Those Leftists need to have the honesty to find their place in politics instead of being a toxic cancer in the Conservative party. And they won’t do it – they don’t have the guts. So they need to be cleansed by the fire of destructive defeat.
I don’t know what will remain, but anything is better than two almost identical weak, dishonest, parties dancing on the head of a pin, chasing what liberal/metropolitan focus-groups tell them is their electorate.
They are wrong. The British people are better than this, and we deserve better than this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I have huge sympathy for this view. A cancer has taken hold of the Tories, steering them into a nasty illberal woke rabble. Ironical given the rot set in with the wretched May & Cameron wanting to appear non-nasty. But I do not believe there will ever be any way back should a Labour Party take power. Our society is on the brink in so many areas. Brownism has screwed the labour market and tax policy with its deranged redistrubtion only equality mania. EU/Millibanism has driven the energy market to brink with Net Zero Pol Potism. Education has been taken back by the illberals and the housing market so deeply warped by both parties that devastating crashes and upheaval. Their beloved 1940s monolith NHS is post the Protect Us! Covid devouring both state cash and our Iives. Across the world – Scotland, Biden, Lula today – the so called Progressives have given up on wealth creation and enterprise. They are bent on Equality & Environment. With so many areas on the brink, I do not think the UK could survive 4 years of their social venom and pol potism. Kemi will look and sound great as leader of the Opposition. But the UK will have slipped back i to a Statism authoritarian Drayfordism. Rishi must see this danger. And react.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

So good to see that you haven’t descended into a wild hyperbolic fantasia of mutually-conflicting horrors! And what a wonderfully creative and individual idea of the term ‘liberal’ you have.
Never mind, Walter, never mind. ‘It’ really is so awful, but luckily we are not long for this world, you and I.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Yes there will be away back when Starmer and co realise that the current welfare system,the ensuing lack of enterprise are bankrupting the country but cannot do anything to change due to partpolitical tribalism.Bring back Liz Truss !

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

So good to see that you haven’t descended into a wild hyperbolic fantasia of mutually-conflicting horrors! And what a wonderfully creative and individual idea of the term ‘liberal’ you have.
Never mind, Walter, never mind. ‘It’ really is so awful, but luckily we are not long for this world, you and I.

Gordon Welford
Gordon Welford
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Yes there will be away back when Starmer and co realise that the current welfare system,the ensuing lack of enterprise are bankrupting the country but cannot do anything to change due to partpolitical tribalism.Bring back Liz Truss !

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Agree. I want a crushing Tory defeat at the next GE, with Reform having cost them scores of seats, or even more, and with a very low turnout to deny Labour any claim to the mandate the number of their MPs might otherwise suggest.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

I have huge sympathy for this view. A cancer has taken hold of the Tories, steering them into a nasty illberal woke rabble. Ironical given the rot set in with the wretched May & Cameron wanting to appear non-nasty. But I do not believe there will ever be any way back should a Labour Party take power. Our society is on the brink in so many areas. Brownism has screwed the labour market and tax policy with its deranged redistrubtion only equality mania. EU/Millibanism has driven the energy market to brink with Net Zero Pol Potism. Education has been taken back by the illberals and the housing market so deeply warped by both parties that devastating crashes and upheaval. Their beloved 1940s monolith NHS is post the Protect Us! Covid devouring both state cash and our Iives. Across the world – Scotland, Biden, Lula today – the so called Progressives have given up on wealth creation and enterprise. They are bent on Equality & Environment. With so many areas on the brink, I do not think the UK could survive 4 years of their social venom and pol potism. Kemi will look and sound great as leader of the Opposition. But the UK will have slipped back i to a Statism authoritarian Drayfordism. Rishi must see this danger. And react.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Albireo Double

Agree. I want a crushing Tory defeat at the next GE, with Reform having cost them scores of seats, or even more, and with a very low turnout to deny Labour any claim to the mandate the number of their MPs might otherwise suggest.

Albireo Double
Albireo Double
1 year ago

“…and by shedding the chaos and dishonesty of some of its recent incarnations…”
I loved this summary, because it is so right. That is exactly what the Conservatives must do to succeed – but I believe they are quite incapable of doing it – which is why I want to see them lose big in 2024 and go out of business. We need the resulting vacuum for something better to fill.
As long as any dregs of the miserable Left/liberal/Metropolitan sneering class remain in the party, the Conservatives are doomed to remain forever “Starmer lite”, which is what they have become. Those Leftists need to have the honesty to find their place in politics instead of being a toxic cancer in the Conservative party. And they won’t do it – they don’t have the guts. So they need to be cleansed by the fire of destructive defeat.
I don’t know what will remain, but anything is better than two almost identical weak, dishonest, parties dancing on the head of a pin, chasing what liberal/metropolitan focus-groups tell them is their electorate.
They are wrong. The British people are better than this, and we deserve better than this.

Last edited 1 year ago by Albireo Double
Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

Dear Mr Oxley,
Your idealism (which does you credit) fails to perceive the elephants in the room.

Our country now, like other western societies, is in a state of extreme spiritual decay.

This expresses itself politically as acute laziness and cowardice on the part of most members of the public, no less than in their MPs.

(Emotionally it is seen in the popularity of ‘partnerships’ rather than marriage.)

Most people are not willing to make any effort concerning their representation in Parliament; so they just keep seesawing away at choosing first one of the two main legacy parties, then the other, though it has very long been seen and known that both Labour and the Conservatives offer nothing of major import which the electorate actually wants.

The dreadful fruit of this inertia will probably continue till either there is a complete economic collapse (highly likely, soon) or the United Kingdom becomes first a Third World country (this is already well on the way) and then a failed state.

Offering advice to any of the parties currently in the House of Commons credits them with all sorts of qualities they do not possess: a tendency to do any real thinking, to care about principles and issues, courage and virtue.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Scott
Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Your last paragraph is apposite. I have written to my Tory MP, the last letter presenting a shortlist of his party’s most egregious failings and that, short of a totally inconceivable Damascene conversion, I whwwouldn’t be voting “Conservative” at the next GE. He has responded courteously enough by offering a discussion to address my concerns. My response, equally courteous, will be that it would be a poor use of our time as nothing will come of it. He is a mere backbencher, albeit ambitious, which is part of the problem when it comes to principles and courage.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Your last paragraph is apposite. I have written to my Tory MP, the last letter presenting a shortlist of his party’s most egregious failings and that, short of a totally inconceivable Damascene conversion, I whwwouldn’t be voting “Conservative” at the next GE. He has responded courteously enough by offering a discussion to address my concerns. My response, equally courteous, will be that it would be a poor use of our time as nothing will come of it. He is a mere backbencher, albeit ambitious, which is part of the problem when it comes to principles and courage.

Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

Dear Mr Oxley,
Your idealism (which does you credit) fails to perceive the elephants in the room.

Our country now, like other western societies, is in a state of extreme spiritual decay.

This expresses itself politically as acute laziness and cowardice on the part of most members of the public, no less than in their MPs.

(Emotionally it is seen in the popularity of ‘partnerships’ rather than marriage.)

Most people are not willing to make any effort concerning their representation in Parliament; so they just keep seesawing away at choosing first one of the two main legacy parties, then the other, though it has very long been seen and known that both Labour and the Conservatives offer nothing of major import which the electorate actually wants.

The dreadful fruit of this inertia will probably continue till either there is a complete economic collapse (highly likely, soon) or the United Kingdom becomes first a Third World country (this is already well on the way) and then a failed state.

Offering advice to any of the parties currently in the House of Commons credits them with all sorts of qualities they do not possess: a tendency to do any real thinking, to care about principles and issues, courage and virtue.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Scott
Stephanie Sadie
Stephanie Sadie
1 year ago

Its simple. The Tories have utterly failed to deliver on almost everything. To win the next election they need to
-stop the dingies crossing the Channel, and immediately deport everyone that arrives like that, plus the 40,000 they have in hotels. If that means withdrawing fromt he ECHR and the UN Refugee Treaty, and abolishing the Supreme court, then so be it.
-stop messing about with Northern ireland. Tell the Eu what the deal is and if they disagree, walk away and ignore them,
-Hammer the energy companies with a punative windfall tax on all profits over and above 2019 levels.
-Face down the greedy unions and change the law so they cant use striking to try and bring down a government
-Cease all benefits to households with incomes of more than £75k . If yoyu cant live on £75k then you need Home economics lessons, not taxpayers money.
Unless some or all of these are seen to have occurred , the Tories are toast at the next election.

Stephanie Sadie
Stephanie Sadie
1 year ago

Its simple. The Tories have utterly failed to deliver on almost everything. To win the next election they need to
-stop the dingies crossing the Channel, and immediately deport everyone that arrives like that, plus the 40,000 they have in hotels. If that means withdrawing fromt he ECHR and the UN Refugee Treaty, and abolishing the Supreme court, then so be it.
-stop messing about with Northern ireland. Tell the Eu what the deal is and if they disagree, walk away and ignore them,
-Hammer the energy companies with a punative windfall tax on all profits over and above 2019 levels.
-Face down the greedy unions and change the law so they cant use striking to try and bring down a government
-Cease all benefits to households with incomes of more than £75k . If yoyu cant live on £75k then you need Home economics lessons, not taxpayers money.
Unless some or all of these are seen to have occurred , the Tories are toast at the next election.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

The author’s diagnosis for fixing conservativism is for conservatives to be less conservatism, seemingly failing to notice that they have already tried this. Ceding ground on same sex marriage, immigration and other cultural issues should make obvious that this was a failure. By trying to please everyone the right pleased noone. Victims of its own folly in failing to stem the flow of university graduates and ethnic minorities, the right’s answer should be to fall victim to its own Vatican II? Madness. Conservatism, like wider liberalism, is a dying stagnant beast. Put it out of its misery and move on.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

“By trying to please everyone the right pleased noone.”
I dunno, I think they managed to please the left. They pandered to the left on practically everything, to the point that it was hard at times to know who was actually in power!

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

“By trying to please everyone the right pleased noone.”
I dunno, I think they managed to please the left. They pandered to the left on practically everything, to the point that it was hard at times to know who was actually in power!

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

The author’s diagnosis for fixing conservativism is for conservatives to be less conservatism, seemingly failing to notice that they have already tried this. Ceding ground on same sex marriage, immigration and other cultural issues should make obvious that this was a failure. By trying to please everyone the right pleased noone. Victims of its own folly in failing to stem the flow of university graduates and ethnic minorities, the right’s answer should be to fall victim to its own Vatican II? Madness. Conservatism, like wider liberalism, is a dying stagnant beast. Put it out of its misery and move on.

andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago

Conservatism having something to do with representing the wishes of the people rather than representing oligopolistic corporations seems to be one of the big issues

Last edited 1 year ago by andrew.iddon
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

Good point, the Tory party has long been an alliance of country land owners and city grandees which works well when their interests are aligned but falls apart when they don’t
We don’t really have any “country land owners” in that sense, at least not in political terms, but we do have two distinct factions in the British Right.
The corporatists are in the ascendant at the moment, while vast swathes of potential Tory voters are more aligned to the traditional values side, whatever that may be. (I’m not convinced they are all Liz Truss fanatics but the party members did not vote for Sunak)
As the article observes, the right needs a new message, a new mojo, a new way of approaching the running of our country. Unfortunately no solution is proposed.
I wish I had that solution, I’ll know it when I see it, but it’s not there as a complete vision in the Reform party or in Farage’s pronouncements, or the flaccid levelling up agenda… etc. Etc

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

In the USA, the Democrats and corporations are in cahoots today, calling the shots. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent on DEI and the instilling of woke culture into the corporate sphere; Hundreds of thousands of ‘woke diversity counselors’ have been hired as well . The media and academia, with few exceptions, have been shilling for the Democrats. Conservatives have been locked out entirely. Democrats are the corporations today and the corporations are woke and Democrat-guided.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Andrew Wise
Andrew Wise
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

Good point, the Tory party has long been an alliance of country land owners and city grandees which works well when their interests are aligned but falls apart when they don’t
We don’t really have any “country land owners” in that sense, at least not in political terms, but we do have two distinct factions in the British Right.
The corporatists are in the ascendant at the moment, while vast swathes of potential Tory voters are more aligned to the traditional values side, whatever that may be. (I’m not convinced they are all Liz Truss fanatics but the party members did not vote for Sunak)
As the article observes, the right needs a new message, a new mojo, a new way of approaching the running of our country. Unfortunately no solution is proposed.
I wish I had that solution, I’ll know it when I see it, but it’s not there as a complete vision in the Reform party or in Farage’s pronouncements, or the flaccid levelling up agenda… etc. Etc

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  andrew.iddon

In the USA, the Democrats and corporations are in cahoots today, calling the shots. Millions and millions of dollars have been spent on DEI and the instilling of woke culture into the corporate sphere; Hundreds of thousands of ‘woke diversity counselors’ have been hired as well . The media and academia, with few exceptions, have been shilling for the Democrats. Conservatives have been locked out entirely. Democrats are the corporations today and the corporations are woke and Democrat-guided.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
andrew.iddon
andrew.iddon
1 year ago

Conservatism having something to do with representing the wishes of the people rather than representing oligopolistic corporations seems to be one of the big issues

Last edited 1 year ago by andrew.iddon
Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Contrary to the author’s opening statement, 2022 was a year to remember for the Right in Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Denmark and it looks like 2023 will be a good year in NZ too.
Perhaps the difference between these countries and Britain is that they have right-wing parties that actually espouse right-wing policies.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

Contrary to the author’s opening statement, 2022 was a year to remember for the Right in Italy, Sweden, Hungary, Denmark and it looks like 2023 will be a good year in NZ too.
Perhaps the difference between these countries and Britain is that they have right-wing parties that actually espouse right-wing policies.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

Short answer, the Conservative party will not survive. However, most people in UK are conservative by nature, so conservatism will survive. The pity is that the People are not really represented in Parliament. The Party system is a big con trick. They represent the party elite, globalists and the establishment.
“Equally, they are finding their support in diminishing demographics — older, whiter, and less well-educated than the rest of the population.”
Actually, the older, whiter people are the most educated, by life and experience. Today’s generationn just think they know better, when in fact they know nothing due to having minds that exclude any thoughts different to their own.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Not really much of a rational argument that, though is it? ‘I’m one of “the People”, because I am right, whereas those who disagree with me are gullible morons, incapable of thinking properly. They, whatever their numbers, are NOT “the People”. All people of a certain age should be ignored as they are idiots, as they “exclude thoughts different from their own”. Unlike you.
You share this particular way of ‘thinking’ with the far left. Except for your claim that “whiter people” have more “life experience”- you might be on your own there.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Not really much of a rational argument that, though is it? ‘I’m one of “the People”, because I am right, whereas those who disagree with me are gullible morons, incapable of thinking properly. They, whatever their numbers, are NOT “the People”. All people of a certain age should be ignored as they are idiots, as they “exclude thoughts different from their own”. Unlike you.
You share this particular way of ‘thinking’ with the far left. Except for your claim that “whiter people” have more “life experience”- you might be on your own there.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

Short answer, the Conservative party will not survive. However, most people in UK are conservative by nature, so conservatism will survive. The pity is that the People are not really represented in Parliament. The Party system is a big con trick. They represent the party elite, globalists and the establishment.
“Equally, they are finding their support in diminishing demographics — older, whiter, and less well-educated than the rest of the population.”
Actually, the older, whiter people are the most educated, by life and experience. Today’s generationn just think they know better, when in fact they know nothing due to having minds that exclude any thoughts different to their own.

Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

Interesting article, although I think it missed one important aspect – perhaps the most important – that underpins conservative political power: culture. Socially conservative culture is at least informed by, if not led by religion. ‘Our’ religion is in steep decline. IMO this is the real reason for the mess the Conservatives are in: they are struggling for political principles because they (and we) no longer hold the unifying moral principles of their/our grandfathers, which were essentially from Christianity.
You’re welcome to argue that this is a good thing, but I’m not sure it’s useful to believe that and still think you’re a conservative. What exactly are you seeking to conserve, and why?
The author has written an accurate article, but he shows his blind spot in the above regard by suggesting that the new conservatism “… can bring with it an expansive view of the family, one that sees gay marriage as a win for tradition rather than a kick against it.”
Again, you’re more than welcome to hold this position, but it’s not conservative; it’s liberal and progressive. Social conservatives think the position is absurd. You might as well say that the new conservatism “should welcome Trans ideology as a win for traditional gender roles rather than a kick against them”.
Saying this sort of thing may or may not win across floating voters whose principles are essentially liberal or progressive (personally I doubt it – in the UK at least, such people increasingly and instinctively despise the Tories). But social conservatives will just laugh. (Privately, of course: it’s dangerous – if not practically illegal – to laugh at this stuff publicly).

The Tories’ natural base of social conservatives is shrunken and the Tories don’t want to represent them anyway. The culture wars have been broadly lost. The Tories know this and so have become progressives who only believe in banking: good riddance to them. The rest of us need to accept that the prevailing culture of individualism and competing interest groups, sans traditional moral principles, simply leads to a scrap for power. Personally I expect this will lead to increased levels of civil unrest/violence between groups, the only alternative to which will be some form of centralised tyranny.
(Symptomatic of the latter, the police in Britain recently arrested a woman on suspicion of silently praying, without any exterior sign, on a public street. Literally a Thought Crime. This ought to worry everyone).
The future? Violence or tyranny or both, folks. And probably poverty for most of us, either way.

Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

Interesting article, although I think it missed one important aspect – perhaps the most important – that underpins conservative political power: culture. Socially conservative culture is at least informed by, if not led by religion. ‘Our’ religion is in steep decline. IMO this is the real reason for the mess the Conservatives are in: they are struggling for political principles because they (and we) no longer hold the unifying moral principles of their/our grandfathers, which were essentially from Christianity.
You’re welcome to argue that this is a good thing, but I’m not sure it’s useful to believe that and still think you’re a conservative. What exactly are you seeking to conserve, and why?
The author has written an accurate article, but he shows his blind spot in the above regard by suggesting that the new conservatism “… can bring with it an expansive view of the family, one that sees gay marriage as a win for tradition rather than a kick against it.”
Again, you’re more than welcome to hold this position, but it’s not conservative; it’s liberal and progressive. Social conservatives think the position is absurd. You might as well say that the new conservatism “should welcome Trans ideology as a win for traditional gender roles rather than a kick against them”.
Saying this sort of thing may or may not win across floating voters whose principles are essentially liberal or progressive (personally I doubt it – in the UK at least, such people increasingly and instinctively despise the Tories). But social conservatives will just laugh. (Privately, of course: it’s dangerous – if not practically illegal – to laugh at this stuff publicly).

The Tories’ natural base of social conservatives is shrunken and the Tories don’t want to represent them anyway. The culture wars have been broadly lost. The Tories know this and so have become progressives who only believe in banking: good riddance to them. The rest of us need to accept that the prevailing culture of individualism and competing interest groups, sans traditional moral principles, simply leads to a scrap for power. Personally I expect this will lead to increased levels of civil unrest/violence between groups, the only alternative to which will be some form of centralised tyranny.
(Symptomatic of the latter, the police in Britain recently arrested a woman on suspicion of silently praying, without any exterior sign, on a public street. Literally a Thought Crime. This ought to worry everyone).
The future? Violence or tyranny or both, folks. And probably poverty for most of us, either way.

Mark Gilmour
Mark Gilmour
1 year ago

There is no salvation in democracy.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Gilmour

I agree. Both parties are dinosaurs, they stand for nothing except playing a part in a dying system. The only reason Labour may win is because people are fed up with the Conservatives. Then they’ll swing back to the Conservatives because they’re fed up with Labour. This is going nowhere and draining the country of all potential.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Then a third party will emerge. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There are so many third parties out there you’d think something would have happened by now. But yes, there’s nothing to stop a third party appearing. But if it’s just going to be the same old in a new dress then what’s the point.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The electoral system makes it incredibly hard for a third party to make any headway in the UK, unless they’re concentrated in a single area like the SNP. An example is the 2015 election where UKIP received over 12% of the vote but only won a single seat out of 650

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You have to get over 25% as a national party to get remotely close to proper representation.
SDP/Liberals/Libdems fortunes the past 60 years prove that.

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

You have to get over 25% as a national party to get remotely close to proper representation.
SDP/Liberals/Libdems fortunes the past 60 years prove that.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Irish Republic has been locked in a similar malaise for years.
Now however it looks as if Sinn Féin has a real chance.
Will there be an English/British equivalent?

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

I hope UK doesn’t get a party in govt that murders its opposition.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Rather like former terrorist groups in Israel/Palestine, I think they may have metamorphosed into something more reasonable. The are historical precedents for this unusual behaviour.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Well observed.. try to imagine a GB overrun by Nazis in 1940 and you had a terrorist (sorry freedom fighting) resistance trying to take back GB for the British.. a kind of Brexit by force (happily not required under EU).. Would you now call those freedom fighters murderers? .or do you think you’d have kept to the ‘Queensbury rules in your tactics despite Nazi methods? Okay not exactly a like for like but I hope you get the idea?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Well observed.. try to imagine a GB overrun by Nazis in 1940 and you had a terrorist (sorry freedom fighting) resistance trying to take back GB for the British.. a kind of Brexit by force (happily not required under EU).. Would you now call those freedom fighters murderers? .or do you think you’d have kept to the ‘Queensbury rules in your tactics despite Nazi methods? Okay not exactly a like for like but I hope you get the idea?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Can you differentiate between the Kray Bros, BNP, and UKIP? Good, that’s a start. Is it ok to trade with Germany now? Yes? Good.. you’re making progress..

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Rather like former terrorist groups in Israel/Palestine, I think they may have metamorphosed into something more reasonable. The are historical precedents for this unusual behaviour.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Can you differentiate between the Kray Bros, BNP, and UKIP? Good, that’s a start. Is it ok to trade with Germany now? Yes? Good.. you’re making progress..

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

If there is, they will not get the same favourable media as Sinn Fein from the UK media. Nationalism is good, everywhere but GB&NI.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

For once I think you might, just might be making some sense Charlie! A UK version of Sinn Féin (We Ourselves) might be just the ticket.. rediscover (or decide for the first time?) what it means to be British (or maybe just English); it might just repair the massive divide in England at the moment between Leavers v Remainers, Tories v Labour, North v South – some middle ground that truly reflects the modern English nation?

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago

I hope UK doesn’t get a party in govt that murders its opposition.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

If there is, they will not get the same favourable media as Sinn Fein from the UK media. Nationalism is good, everywhere but GB&NI.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

For once I think you might, just might be making some sense Charlie! A UK version of Sinn Féin (We Ourselves) might be just the ticket.. rediscover (or decide for the first time?) what it means to be British (or maybe just English); it might just repair the massive divide in England at the moment between Leavers v Remainers, Tories v Labour, North v South – some middle ground that truly reflects the modern English nation?

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Emerging is fine, they get put down if they show signs of challenging or, horror of horrors, cannibalising. The Establishment ensures that genuine populist movements are crushed at source, using whatever level of dirty tricks is necessary to brainwash the sheep against them.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Oh I so hope so.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

There are so many third parties out there you’d think something would have happened by now. But yes, there’s nothing to stop a third party appearing. But if it’s just going to be the same old in a new dress then what’s the point.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The electoral system makes it incredibly hard for a third party to make any headway in the UK, unless they’re concentrated in a single area like the SNP. An example is the 2015 election where UKIP received over 12% of the vote but only won a single seat out of 650

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

The Irish Republic has been locked in a similar malaise for years.
Now however it looks as if Sinn Féin has a real chance.
Will there be an English/British equivalent?

Rhys Jaggar
Rhys Jaggar
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Emerging is fine, they get put down if they show signs of challenging or, horror of horrors, cannibalising. The Establishment ensures that genuine populist movements are crushed at source, using whatever level of dirty tricks is necessary to brainwash the sheep against them.

Ann Roberts
Ann Roberts
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Oh I so hope so.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

We need some form of proportional representation. The two party system is throttling this country.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

New Zealand has that. Unfortunately no change.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“New Zealand has that. Unfortunately, no change.”
Then perhaps that means that, contrary to the loud claims here that the nation is crying out for ‘real conservatism’, actually, out there in the real world, people aren’t quite as furious as you think.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“New Zealand has that. Unfortunately, no change.”
Then perhaps that means that, contrary to the various bellicose claims here that the nation is crying out for “real conservatism” (i.e., reversing everything that’s happened since 1922 at the very latest), actually, out there in the real world, people aren’t quite as furious as you think.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Some people are furious, including myself. Politicians would put their shoes on backwards if they felt there was an advantage in it, My default position these days is that nothing can come out of a system that has failed to deliver for a long time. What most people think is a mystery to me and election results leave me more confused.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Fair enough. I largely agree.
But I get confused by the line taken by many here that there’s a huge ‘silent majority’ of decent ‘folk’ who share the commenter’s furious opinions on everything, and yet if an election goes the ‘wrong’ way, the electorate are suddenly a bunch of mindless puppets. Both the Left and the Right indulge in this.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Fair enough. I largely agree.
But I get confused by the line taken by many here that there’s a huge ‘silent majority’ of decent ‘folk’ who share the commenter’s furious opinions on everything, and yet if an election goes the ‘wrong’ way, the electorate are suddenly a bunch of mindless puppets. Both the Left and the Right indulge in this.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Some people are furious, including myself. Politicians would put their shoes on backwards if they felt there was an advantage in it, My default position these days is that nothing can come out of a system that has failed to deliver for a long time. What most people think is a mystery to me and election results leave me more confused.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“New Zealand has that. Unfortunately, no change.”
Then perhaps that means that, contrary to the loud claims here that the nation is crying out for ‘real conservatism’, actually, out there in the real world, people aren’t quite as furious as you think.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“New Zealand has that. Unfortunately, no change.”
Then perhaps that means that, contrary to the various bellicose claims here that the nation is crying out for “real conservatism” (i.e., reversing everything that’s happened since 1922 at the very latest), actually, out there in the real world, people aren’t quite as furious as you think.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  John Dellingby

New Zealand has that. Unfortunately no change.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Then a third party will emerge. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t.

John Dellingby
John Dellingby
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

We need some form of proportional representation. The two party system is throttling this country.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Gilmour

I agree. Both parties are dinosaurs, they stand for nothing except playing a part in a dying system. The only reason Labour may win is because people are fed up with the Conservatives. Then they’ll swing back to the Conservatives because they’re fed up with Labour. This is going nowhere and draining the country of all potential.

Mark Gilmour
Mark Gilmour
1 year ago

There is no salvation in democracy.

Lance Stewart
Lance Stewart
1 year ago

There is nothing about the “Conservative” Party in the UK which is conservative A mere handful of its MPs very occ .asionally make feeble noises; but nothing ever actually happens. Our main-party politicians really are all the same where it counts. Just look at the state of the country

Lance Stewart
Lance Stewart
1 year ago

There is nothing about the “Conservative” Party in the UK which is conservative A mere handful of its MPs very occ .asionally make feeble noises; but nothing ever actually happens. Our main-party politicians really are all the same where it counts. Just look at the state of the country

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

The last few years have proved beyond all doubt that the Conservative Party have become an organised crime syndicate; of course they don’t believe in anything. I also think that most of the authors’s ideas for their respawning could be adopted by a pragmatic Labour Party. The elephant in the room is PR, which will (or would) dislodge the tories permanently. FPTP and the Tory psyops division in the lowbrow media have bestowed a longevity they’ve come to take for granted. Till now.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago

A pragmatic Labour Party could indeed adopt a lot of these ideas. But they will not. In focusing on the self-destruction of the appalling pro State semi socialist Fake Tories, the media ignore the truth that – hidden under his cynical union flag waving – Starmer leads a far more dangerous immoderate party. Look at the whispered proposal of new race equality legislation by A Dodds last week. It will weaponise and toxify a multiculturalism which – no thanks to the State – the British people have made a success. But Labour’s ONLY ideological belief is divisive reverse racist CRE and identitarianism. Positive discrimination could see non whites given privileged first access to energy support, entry to the creaking NHS, jobs unis and more. No one is interrogating the few actual ideas Labour are playing with. They are still a near blank page. But their warped divisive race obsessions and undisguised hatred of wealth creation and class envy make them a far more poisonous dangerous entity than even the chaotic useless fake Tories.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

All of what you say is true. Problem is, the People will continue to vote for them whether they are called tories, labour, libdems or whatever. The people need to wake up and realise they always get the same thing whatever the party name.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Agree. I thought the double Brexit voted – Referendum & election ,- expressed a genuine and brave protest against a failing indifferent elite by voters. But party politics and elections do not allow any such targeted demonstration of popular will. Tory voters voted for a government supposedly keen on business (wrong), sceptical of high tax Statism and mass migration (wrong), keen to enact Brexit freedoms (wrong), hostile to wokery and the equality mania (wrong), anti welfarism (wrong,) etc etc. Both political parties have lost their anchors in the lives of people. They are detached and trapped in an alt universe of social media bubble and fetid hot air.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I hate to muddy your wonderfully simplistic story, but last time I checked, “business” was pretty keen on “mass migration”.
And when you say “popular will” was behind the leave vote, you make it sound like the lumpen masses had spoken in one resounding voice, whereas in fact 52% ‘spoke’, now apparently down to about 46% in retrospect. What do we do about the 48- 54% who don’t fit your definition of “people’?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Of course business wants mass migration. The discussion is about Tory party beliefs. A fundamental one of which is supposed to be support for private enterprise, wealth creation and the encouragement of a low tax environment. Some policies do not align with global capitalist business interests and mass uncontrolled migration via free movement of people – which shatter nationsl labour market – was one such necessary clash. It is the Tories abandonment of so many other pro enterprise policies that shocks. What happens when one side loses both a referendum and a Brexit election? Look up a thing called losers consent and wait for the next one.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Well, in terms of the next election, it’s not looking too rosy for the Tories right now.
And as for ‘losers consent’ regarding Brexit, the winners seem to have been just as constantly furious since the vote as the putatively losing side.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

Well, in terms of the next election, it’s not looking too rosy for the Tories right now.
And as for ‘losers consent’ regarding Brexit, the winners seem to have been just as constantly furious since the vote as the putatively losing side.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  John Holland

Of course business wants mass migration. The discussion is about Tory party beliefs. A fundamental one of which is supposed to be support for private enterprise, wealth creation and the encouragement of a low tax environment. Some policies do not align with global capitalist business interests and mass uncontrolled migration via free movement of people – which shatter nationsl labour market – was one such necessary clash. It is the Tories abandonment of so many other pro enterprise policies that shocks. What happens when one side loses both a referendum and a Brexit election? Look up a thing called losers consent and wait for the next one.

John Holland
John Holland
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I hate to muddy your wonderfully simplistic story, but last time I checked, “business” was pretty keen on “mass migration”.
And when you say “popular will” was behind the leave vote, you make it sound like the lumpen masses had spoken in one resounding voice, whereas in fact 52% ‘spoke’, now apparently down to about 46% in retrospect. What do we do about the 48- 54% who don’t fit your definition of “people’?

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeanie K

Agree. I thought the double Brexit voted – Referendum & election ,- expressed a genuine and brave protest against a failing indifferent elite by voters. But party politics and elections do not allow any such targeted demonstration of popular will. Tory voters voted for a government supposedly keen on business (wrong), sceptical of high tax Statism and mass migration (wrong), keen to enact Brexit freedoms (wrong), hostile to wokery and the equality mania (wrong), anti welfarism (wrong,) etc etc. Both political parties have lost their anchors in the lives of people. They are detached and trapped in an alt universe of social media bubble and fetid hot air.

Jeanie K
Jeanie K
1 year ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

All of what you say is true. Problem is, the People will continue to vote for them whether they are called tories, labour, libdems or whatever. The people need to wake up and realise they always get the same thing whatever the party name.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago

A pragmatic Labour Party could indeed adopt a lot of these ideas. But they will not. In focusing on the self-destruction of the appalling pro State semi socialist Fake Tories, the media ignore the truth that – hidden under his cynical union flag waving – Starmer leads a far more dangerous immoderate party. Look at the whispered proposal of new race equality legislation by A Dodds last week. It will weaponise and toxify a multiculturalism which – no thanks to the State – the British people have made a success. But Labour’s ONLY ideological belief is divisive reverse racist CRE and identitarianism. Positive discrimination could see non whites given privileged first access to energy support, entry to the creaking NHS, jobs unis and more. No one is interrogating the few actual ideas Labour are playing with. They are still a near blank page. But their warped divisive race obsessions and undisguised hatred of wealth creation and class envy make them a far more poisonous dangerous entity than even the chaotic useless fake Tories.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
1 year ago

The last few years have proved beyond all doubt that the Conservative Party have become an organised crime syndicate; of course they don’t believe in anything. I also think that most of the authors’s ideas for their respawning could be adopted by a pragmatic Labour Party. The elephant in the room is PR, which will (or would) dislodge the tories permanently. FPTP and the Tory psyops division in the lowbrow media have bestowed a longevity they’ve come to take for granted. Till now.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“Their embrace of populism has not proved popular enough to sustain victory.”
No, the official GOP just hasn’t actually embraced populism. They’ve mouthed the words but still kowtow to the ruling left/liberal cultural elite and treat actual populism (which now just means actual conservatism) like an intraparty insurgency.
Don’t know what you’re doing across the pond. It doesn’t appear that you have a conservative party at all.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 year ago

“Their embrace of populism has not proved popular enough to sustain victory.”
No, the official GOP just hasn’t actually embraced populism. They’ve mouthed the words but still kowtow to the ruling left/liberal cultural elite and treat actual populism (which now just means actual conservatism) like an intraparty insurgency.
Don’t know what you’re doing across the pond. It doesn’t appear that you have a conservative party at all.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Conservatism is long dead. It lost its last chance when the later Thatcher era left it with the reputation of driving mass unemployment for policy reasons. It was completely destroyed at the polls in 1997 and Cameron reconstructed it as a Lib Dem party in all but name.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Conservatism is long dead. It lost its last chance when the later Thatcher era left it with the reputation of driving mass unemployment for policy reasons. It was completely destroyed at the polls in 1997 and Cameron reconstructed it as a Lib Dem party in all but name.

Tony Taylor
Tony Taylor
1 year ago

It’s the Tories’ turn to cop an electoral battering, but when Labour has had its turn, made a pig’s breakfast of government, electoral gravity is pulling them down, and they’ve upset enough people to flip the electoral cycle, the Tories will be back.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

It’s not good enough to be less crappy than the alternative. It’s just not good enough.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Totally agree. Indeed, you may yet see the Tories campaigning on a slogan you’ve hinted at: “Ok, we’re crap. But the alternative is even worse.” A low turnout beckons.

Howard Gleave
Howard Gleave
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Totally agree. Indeed, you may yet see the Tories campaigning on a slogan you’ve hinted at: “Ok, we’re crap. But the alternative is even worse.” A low turnout beckons.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Tony Taylor

“the Tories will be back.”
Not unless they stop behaving like Tories.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

There problem is they are NOT behaving like Tories!
In fact we haven’t had a true Tory Government since the days of Baldwin and Chamberlain.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

There is no future in any of these parties. There is no future in this sort of politics. The system looks sound when it chugs along under its own steam, but as soon as something goes wrong and some action is required on the part of any party then their ineptitude is revealed and then we have to deal with the consequences, which set us back and so we start again patching up the damage. The system that wrecked the country will not fix the country.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Yes the whole wretched system is frankly an anachronism, yet the ‘technology’ exists for something far, far better.
However, horrors of horrors, it would entail far greater democracy, almost ‘direct democracy’ in fact, something not seen the days of Ancient Athens.

That will never do, just think of the howls from Quislington at the very thought that those ‘brutes’ of the Red Wall, may actually have a real say in how the place is run!

For are they NOT racist bigots, irredeemable Brexitiers, lovers of blood sports, alcohol, and whoring, and misogynistic to a man? As George Orwell noted, if there is one think Quislingtonites hate more than anything else, it the English Working Class, and somethings never change.

ps. The Swiss system seems fairly equitable, and you do not hear them complaining too much.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Interesting Mr Stanhope, sounds a reasonable idea, what do you reckon then, put all policy to the public electronic vote? Give up on Westminster entirely or work that in? I’m woefully ignorant on the Swiss system I’m afraid. Just intrigued, maybe we do need something new.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The Swiss have a system of frequent referenda or referendums if you prefer, so they all feel involved.

Critics would say all they’ve done is invent the Cuckoo Clock and make decent chocolate, but it is a far happier place than here and with a strong patriotic base.They know WHO they are and are proud it.
In complete contrast with much of Britain sadly!

Too many vested interests here to bin Westminster and the HoL so we shall just struggle on into oblivion. We missed our chance in 1660 and will do so again.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you, sounds fair enough I have only ever heard very good things about Switzerland from people that have visited, they do pretty well in general, mountains and scenery, good houses, don’t really have any trouble was my fuzzy perspective.
Well hopefully half the population still believes in Britain, I would also say to an extent Britain has had to constantly reinvent itself, through the industrial revolution and then through both world wars to rebuild. I mean no offence and correct me if I’m wrong but is Switzerland normally neutral? So they don’t end up embroiled in war politics, or blitzes, defence spending and intelligence which gives a different dimension to British politics sometimes would it be fair to say? They also are not quite so close to America…
Anyway, rambling. What if the parties if we can’t get rid of them, which I accept would be very difficult, get the membership to digital vote on the content of the manifesto. Put a good number of options up, they must all be different, from different people across their own party spectrum . Then we all get a say on the core manifesto from the start, and it goes to normal elections on the manifesto selected. The party wins because its actually got a manifesto it knows the people like and the people win because it gives us more options than just two more or less centrist standard Westminster options? Or something like that 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

Thank you, sounds fair enough I have only ever heard very good things about Switzerland from people that have visited, they do pretty well in general, mountains and scenery, good houses, don’t really have any trouble was my fuzzy perspective.
Well hopefully half the population still believes in Britain, I would also say to an extent Britain has had to constantly reinvent itself, through the industrial revolution and then through both world wars to rebuild. I mean no offence and correct me if I’m wrong but is Switzerland normally neutral? So they don’t end up embroiled in war politics, or blitzes, defence spending and intelligence which gives a different dimension to British politics sometimes would it be fair to say? They also are not quite so close to America…
Anyway, rambling. What if the parties if we can’t get rid of them, which I accept would be very difficult, get the membership to digital vote on the content of the manifesto. Put a good number of options up, they must all be different, from different people across their own party spectrum . Then we all get a say on the core manifesto from the start, and it goes to normal elections on the manifesto selected. The party wins because its actually got a manifesto it knows the people like and the people win because it gives us more options than just two more or less centrist standard Westminster options? Or something like that 🙂

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

The Swiss have a system of frequent referenda or referendums if you prefer, so they all feel involved.

Critics would say all they’ve done is invent the Cuckoo Clock and make decent chocolate, but it is a far happier place than here and with a strong patriotic base.They know WHO they are and are proud it.
In complete contrast with much of Britain sadly!

Too many vested interests here to bin Westminster and the HoL so we shall just struggle on into oblivion. We missed our chance in 1660 and will do so again.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago