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Memo to Tories: chasing Reform votes is a fool’s errand

Tories are divided over whether to allow Nigel Farage into the party. Credit: Getty

June 15, 2024 - 1:00pm

This week’s news that Reform UK has overtaken the Conservatives may be just one poll. But it will likely cast a big shadow over both the election campaign and the widely anticipated Tory leadership contest later this year.

Even before this week, there was already evidence that the Conservative campaign was disintegrating into a kaleidoscope of local battles. Candidates, and not just on the Right of the party, tell me they’re sick to death of CCHQ and may start ignoring its demands to approve all their literature. How many more might follow in the footsteps of Andrea Jenkyns, who this week put out a leaflet sporting two pictures of Nigel Farage — and no mention of the Conservative Party?

Even more important is how the Tory campaign chooses to respond. There are already plenty of voices urging Rishi Sunak to tack Right to try and head off the Reform threat. But according to two polls, this may not be a good idea. Today, a YouGov poll showed that only 36% of Reform voters would back a Tory candidate if a Reform one wasn’t standing. In addition, ConservativeHome‘s latest survey of Conservative members found that they want the party to focus on voters switching to Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

This isn’t because they are hostile to Reform UK. Quite the opposite: a majority of respondents said that they would favour a formal deal between the two Right-wing parties if one were available. But there is none: Farage feels he got burned when the Brexit Party stood aside for Boris Johnson in 2019, and has no incentive to offer anything to a party staring down the barrel of the biggest electoral defeat in a hundred years.

Yet those knocking on doors will be more keenly aware that it is the progressive parties poised to scoop hundreds of Conservative seats on 4 July, not Reform. It’s very basic maths: the Tories are forecast to lose well over 200 seats; Farage’s party, even on its impressive vote share, is not forecast to pick up more than three.

In fact, there is only one seat where it is really in contention: Clacton, where Farage is making his eighth bid to enter the House of Commons. But that victory alone could have a seismic effect on the Conservatives.

Tory leadership hopefuls are already divided over whether they would let the Reform UK leader into the party. Kemi Badenoch is dead against; Suella Braverman in favour. The latter sees it as a way to “unite the Right” and bring a popular figure back into the fold; the former is simply giving Faragism — a political force which has never got close to enough support to deliver a government — a chance to take over the Conservatives.

So it will be welcome news to the former Home Secretary that a majority of Tory members surveyed favour allowing Farage to take the Conservative whip if he is elected, which is something for the other candidates to factor into their calculations.

If the eventual winner is bounced by the membership into letting Farage in, the stakes couldn’t be higher: he’s very popular on the Right and makes no secret of his wish to take over the Tory Party — or destroy it.

There is great potential for irony here: pouring more effort into chasing Reform voters in response to this week’s poll might well deliver an even worse Conservative result than they already expect — but the scale of the rout will only strengthen, at least superficially, the arguments of those who think a pact with Farage is the only way out.


Henry Hill is Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome.

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Peter B
Peter B
1 month ago

It really doesn’t matter what they say at this stage. It’s too late to do anything and no one is going to be convinced by their words. At some point, you simply stop believing.
When it’s so obvious the Tories will lose, their supporters are freed to vote however they want. Just as Labour supporters may now find it easier to vote Green this time.
The Tories have become what we might call the “Ratner party”. They have so alienated a segment of their most loyal supporters that they won’t feel satisfied until they see them go down in flames. Not unlike the BBC’s attitude to part of its audience.

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
1 month ago

You fail to mention that the majority of Tory MP’s are of the ‘left’ .
As for the Tory ‘right’ they have proved to be totally inept in trying to rescue their party from it’s relentless pursuit of socialism.
There is no way out of this for the Tories, they have lost the electorate, and now they will lose their party.
A fitting end it has to be said.

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago

Having voted Tory for 50 years l have to say l don’t recognise them as conservative any more, also, based on the last 14 years l see no reason to believe they will honour their promises – especially when they almost seem intended to insult the intelligence of dissalutioned supporters.
Nothing they say would tempt me back and l want them gone in their current form to be replaced by a genuinely centre right party. In the meantime Reform will get my vote as the best opportunity to bring this about.
Labour will win the next election but it won’t be because people choose to vote Reform (lib/dem etc) it will be solely because the Tories have shown contempt for and betrayed the people who have supported them in the past.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Day

That the Reform party that has Ian Gribbin as candidate for Bexhill & Hastings? The one who’s just said we should have done a deal with the Germans in 1940 and been more sympathetic to their leaders and that all women are ‘gender spongers’. Yes look it up and know and own what you are voting for. And you see while Farage is cute in the phrasing of his Dog Whistle’s Reform is the home of sorts like Gribbin. Dreadful people, whom once the broader public gets to hear more will be totally repelled. Of course they’ll be people here on UnHerd who think like a Gribbin and undeniably a small percentage in the Country. But the vast majority will see them for what they are. Tories head in that direction and they are truly sunk and good riddance to the lot of them.

David L
David L
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

It would be easy to dig up many repugnant things said by Labour candidates and sitting MPs.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

If the Tories had listened to reasonable people in the past, they wouldn’t have had to listen to the unreasonable ones now.

William Woods
William Woods
1 month ago

The Tories need to be dissolved and the current party membership move over to Labour and the Lib Dems where they belong. A new right wing party should then replace them. Reform is more or less a glorified PAC. Hopefully the Tories will be properly punished. Even the DT is now against them…

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  William Woods

PAC?

Jo Jo
Jo Jo
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Phillips

Political Action Committee?

Mark Phillips
Mark Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Jo Jo

Beats me and Google.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago

I think Kemi is right in wanting to keep Reform at arms length. Farage is a great campaigner, but I don’t believe his reheated financial Thatcherism is very popular electorally in Britain, which tends to lean slightly to the left economically. If the Tories could get a control on immigration (both legal and illegal) then you would see support start to drift back from Reform anyway.
The Tories need to take their kicking, pick a direction after the election and stick to it, because currently they stand for nothing

Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

The Brits are left on economics and right on culture as you say. The Conservatives failed to grasp this basic fact.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan Grabston

A bit in that SG, but also bit over simplified IMO. I think Brits are centrist on economics (we value the small business man/woman as much as some broader state interventions, but we are sceptical of the big Multinational) and generally ‘tolerant’ on the typical culture issues. In fact this tolerance and balance what makes us respected. We’ve veered close to losing that.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

If the Tories could get a control on immigration (both legal and illegal) then you would see support start to drift back from Reform anyway.

Too late for that BB. The Tories are out of power in three weeks time; they can’t turn anything around now.
In 2019 I emailed my sitting Conservative MP to ask what the pledge to ‘take back control of our borders’ actually meant. Did it mean more or fewer arrival? He wouldn’t put numbers on it, but he assured me that it meant fewer. Seldom in my life have I been told such a bare-faced lie. I’m done with them. I’ll vote Reform, and I don’t care that they won’t win.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

They’ve had 14 years to fix it and haven’t bothered, they deserve everything they get. My comment was more aimed at going forward over the next 5-10 years rather than in the here and now. As you say it’s too late now to do anything

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Your comment confused me. How are they going to get a control on something when they are out of office?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

Poorly worded on my part, I meant having a credible, plausible plan that they can put to the electorate. To be honest it’s going to take a decade for the voters to forget about the current incarnation but they have to find a philosophy going forward and stick to it rigidly. People will get sick of Labour over time the same as they do any party in power but they need to be offered an alternative when that time comes

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

The problem is of course DG that they made contradictory promises and avoided being honest with you about the trade offs. They didn’t think you could handle it. Does that say more about them or about you?
So you’ll be voting for likes of Ian Gribben and other such types?

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Do you condemn the Islamists in the Labour Party? Will you be voting them into office?

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

What do you mean by Islamists DG? Easier to answer if clearer on the definition you are using and who you are referring to. Not avoidance it’s just not clear what you mean.

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Billy Bob, you are aware that Osborne admitted (in public) the Tories under Cameron never intended to ‘reduce immigration to the tens of thousands’. Subsequent leaders have allowed it to drift upwards while still promising to bring it down. In recent years they have put it on steroids while still promising to bring it down. Now they are campaigning on their ‘record’ as the party of low immigration. Reducing immigration is clearly not in the Tory party’s DNA.
They have, and still are, taking the piss out of everyone who has ever trusted them on immigration. That’s before you even begin to look at all the other areas where they have royally screwed up.
People will take a very long time to forget or forgive this betrayal and by then a large part of their base will have died and younger generations will see them as the cause of their own problems.
As the Tories will not be able to actually do anything in opposition and no-one is going to believe what they say l see no route back to power for them.
The Tories have brought all this on themselves, unfortunately it’s the country that will suffer. Stop harbouring a sentimental attachment to what they once were, burn the party down and salt the ground so they can never inflict so much damage on this country and it’s people again.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Day

I’ve no sentimental attachment to the Tories, I don’t even live there anymore. I was merely pointing out what I believe is their best route back to power.
As you say it’s going to take a decade for this shambles to be forgotten about, but by then Labour will have its own long list of failures (as every government does) to try and defend and if the Tories are serious about getting back to a party of government the planning for it needs to start now. Find a message and stick to it

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I agree with you re labour falling apart fairly quickly and the Tories needing to find a common message but have to differ on how long it will take for the Tories to regain trust. I regrettably think it will take longer than a decade, possibly even as much as a generation. Since this is far too long for the country to be without an effective opposition it’s inevitable people will look elsewhere.
You say that you no longer live here, it may be that you are not fully aware of how deep the sense of betrayal and anger is toward the Tories in particular and Westminster in general. The mood at the moment is way beyond simply wanting to give the other side a go – many are looking for a much more profound change simply because they feel their interests are no longer represented by any party.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Day

Tory supporters and the Right more generally brought this on themselves and unfortunately the rest of us. They wanted less net legal migration without the investments and changes to UK capitalism required – because those, at least in the short/medium term, were going to cost. The trouble is you chumps wanted less migration, less tax/more trade friction. You can’t have both and it’s like the petulant child in the Candy store spitting their dummy out about not being allowed two sweets rather than one. Your own contradictions, and possible ignorance, have got us here. Stop blaming the Tories. They are but a mirror.

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Boring boring boring.
No doubt your solution would be more EU

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Why can’t the UK have less immigration? How does importing lots of cheap labour help British citizens?
Surely yourself being left wing would be in favour of wages rising, house prices falling and there being less pressure on public services, all of which would be the end result of not importing millions of workers from abroad?

Phil Day
Phil Day
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Nice reply – sadly I don’t have your patience or restraint.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Phil Day

Or answer perhaps?

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It can have less and certainly must if the 690k net last year anything to go by. The issue is are we doing what’s needed to wean ourselves off the need. Clearly not. Partly it’s because folks on the Right can’t get past the red mist and think the problem through properly.
One example – social care. Fund it properly with additional NI or inheritance tax; increase ave wage to attract locals into the work; expand training places. Got it?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I agree with you, more needs to be done in regards to social care (which in turn would remove a lot of pressure from the hospitals).
However it’s a chicken and egg scenario currently, local workers won’t go into the sector because the wages are too low to live on, but rather than pay higher wages (and offer training) to attract the staff they need they instead go crying to the government to let them import workers by claiming Brits don’t want to do the work. This in turn keeps wages down so locals don’t apply and the circle continues.
The cycle needs to be broken and these companies should be banned from importing staff to undercut the local wages. Until then we’re simply stuck importing ever more people making us all worse off

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We’re v close to full agreement. The problem is that without some increase in funding the social care providers can’t pay higher wages, and letting them go to the wall would have lots of elderly without care. In truth the fear of the repercussions of that is what has stopped Govt taking the line you suggest. So the trickier questions has to be answered – how are we to fund social care properly? Until folks engage with that reality their howls about related migrant workforce purely performative. As we know likes of Farage entirely silent on his answer.

Jake Raven
Jake Raven
1 month ago

I was a Conservative member, supporter and latterly activist for over 45 years. I was unhappy with May (the worst PM ever) but stuck by the Party. Sunak’s appointment against the wishes of the membership was the final straw, I burnt my membership card and started supporting Reform.
I now detest the Tories and hope they are decimated at the GE, Labour will win but will be so bad they will not serve a second term. Reform may not be the answer but will provide a vehicle to move the Overton Window to the right. I hope they succeed, we need a real right wing alternative to the left wing ‘progressives’.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake Raven

In 2029 a lot more Tory voters will have died. A lot of 16-17 year olds will have been enfranchised.
Sir Keir has floated the idea of giving the vote to EU citizens who have settled status here. I think he has dropped that last one, but you know what he’s like. He could resurrect it.
He could also increase the number of Commonwealth citizens, who are eligible to vote.
Don’t bet on Labour not getting a second term.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

Everything you say is true, but never underestimate the capacity of Labour, once in power, to alienate the public.
You will have heard of the saintly Attlee government that gave us “our” NHS. Voted out in six years, and stayed in the wilderness for many years after that. We don’t hear that mentioned often, strangely enough.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

And yet the NHS still with us and strongly supported. Few things the public support more and not because it’s perfect or doesn’t have some scandalous problems but because of the social solidarity values it represents. Painful for alot of the Right to have to grasp that.
As regards the last 14 years I think a strong chance much less fondly remembered don’t you think?

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I take it you haven’t been ill lately. The NHS is only still with us because no politician will take on the enormity of the task to modernise it.
My consultant mate, senior and well respected, is leaving the NHS. He wants to mend people, not spend hours doing oaperwork and following the latest inefficient procedures.
A relation, a GP has retired and emigrated. He simply had enough of the NHS.
My sister, a senior nurse manager often told me of the chaos and basic maladministration.
I could go on, but hey, it’s Sunday.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
1 month ago
Reply to  D Glover

A lot of people assume young people will lean left. The German left is now finding out that isn’t always the case, and five years of Labour and who knows which way newly enfranchised young people in the UK will be voting.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake Raven

The Reform party of Ian Gribben. Look him up. He’s one of yours. You folks haven’t thought about what you are really supporting have you.

D Glover
D Glover
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

The Labour party is home to some appalling Hamas apologists, too.

Arthur King
Arthur King
1 month ago
Reply to  Jake Raven

Well said. The EU will go far right and deal with immigration and expell radical Muslims. The UK will follow suit.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 month ago

I think this article is kinda missing the point. Park the last 14 years and let us focus just for a moment on the last 20 months which have been the Sunak and Hunt show. What is absolutely, astonishingly unbelievable, is that the CCHQ high command appear to have made seemingly no analysis of why so many people who had voted Labour all their lives broke the habit of a lifetime to vote for Johnson, what those people expected, and what they needed to do to claw those people back once they drifted away because of the perception of governing incompetence, the pain of which was being felt in form of ramping mortgage and rent costs in the wake of Truss’s brief reign. Sunak and Hunt appear to have made absolutely no effort to understand who it was that actually voted for the Conservatives in 2019 that gave them the 80 seat majority. I can understand Hunt because no doubt he thought he was invulnerable and unaffected in his Surrey seat but Sunak in the north should have known better. Instead they seem to have got hung up on a Hunt-led strategy to make big numbers balance as if they were playing some computer based economic simulation game, completely ignoring that there were groups of people on the other side of the equation – groups who had to be kept on board notwithstanding conflicting demands if the Tories wanted to stay in power. Instead, Hunt decided to pile on the pain onto many many different groupings who were still reeling from the effects of pandemic and the lockdowns – the very people who had supported the Tories in 2019, and Sunak went along with this.

And my question is, Why? Why did they do this?

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
1 month ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

They did it because they have tin political ears, and they seldom, if ever, meet ordinary working people. They’re not bad people, but they just don’t get it, perhaps because (who knows?) their social, professional and political milieux are so privileged and monochrome.
That’s one thing we must acknowledge about Mr Farage. He can connect with blue-collar workers and the “bloke down the pub” in the same manner as his friend Donald Trump. And that’s why both of them are such effective politicians.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Because their predecessors almost bankrupted us, and because it was already too late to wean the UK economy off a need for significant legal migration to balance the books and ensure key services, such as social care, didn’t implode. Sunak has been a poor politician but the position was in truth irrecoverable. It was then made worse by attempts to tack Right to shore up his rear, but the inherent contradictions between Conservatism and Neo-Liberalism too ingrained to be fundamentally altered whilst in Office. Right needs a time away to reflect and really think through those contradictions. Having supporters who are possibly a bit dim and don’t understand the contradictions doesn’t help.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

I think characterising conservative supporters as a ‘bit dim’ is not just unhelpful but hypocritical. I mean by this, I’m sure you don’t have any plans to characterise the tribal supporters of say, some tin-pot despot of a sub-saharan country as a ‘bit-dim’ (and if perchance you did I bet your colleagues on the progressive left would have you for breakfast), so why do it for a very large section of your fellow citizens? I appreciate you are perhaps a tad over-excited by the prospect of the incoming Tory decimation, but I suggest, knock off such phrasing.

As to the ‘almost bankrupted us’ bit, I don’t buy that line, but in a different way from what you might think. The bankruptcy was caused by the half-a-trillion splurge during the pandemic, the authors of which were the Johnson cabinet with Sunak as Chancellor. In that situation, imagine they had blown away say 600 billion instead of 500 billion (or even more as might have happened under a counterfactual Corbyn government). Well, no one would have bat an eyelid because absolutely no one is comfortable about questioning or wants to face up to, how much was wasted and by whom during the pandemic, I mean what’s a couple of hundred billion between friends, when that was during the panic of the pandemic eh? In that situation, all Hunt had to do was imagine they thought they had blown 600 billion but had in fact ‘only’ blown 500 billion, so he had miraculously found a 100 billion down the back of the Treasury sofa with which to buy the support of their different voter bases. And as to the charge that such an outlook is cynical because you have simply back-loaded the debts which will have to be paid by shrinking younger generations for decades to come, well, that ship sailed at the start of the pandemic and is now a distant dot on the horizon. And to clarify, I don’t believe for a second (although I’m sure you do) that Labour would have handled things any better, because there is absolutely no evidence for this. The two parties are patently a uniparty.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago
Reply to  j watson

Labour is completely incapable of providing the environment to develop new industries. For start we have an education policy geared to low grade humanities studies due to the power of the unions: not the high level maths and science training of Singapore and S Korea and the technical training of Switzerland. Labour is supported by white collar state employed office workers and those on long term welfare. Someone who knew Greek could learn Hindi/Urdu/Persian easily and it made Arabic easier to learn but most of our humanities degrees no longer require any languages. .
AI is likely to produce lay off of low skill office workers similar to what happened to un and semi skilled workers due to changes in technology and trade from 1967 to 1990. The closure of the Suez Canal in 1967 lead to ships increasing in size from a maximumof 50K T or less to up to 500KT which the UK could not build; the introduction of integrated circuits from 1967 and then Computer Aided Design and Manufacture in the 1980s removed the need fro many jobs . Loss of ship building meant less steel and coal needed: containers meant less dockers, strikes and over manning crippled the car industry, CAD/CAM reduced need for draftsmen and tool makers, the textile industry collapsed as production moved to China, Vietnam and Bangladesh.
Switzerland, a country of 10M has ETH Zurich because it pursues advanced high value manufacturing such as watch and pharmaceutical industries. Where we pursue advanced manufacturing we are successful but expensive energy will make only the highest level manufacturing affordable, so it will end the last of the steel, heavy chemicals and mass car manufacturing.
White collar state employees in offices appear to think they are entitled to their jobs.
People who will be employable will be :those with science and engineering degrees from the top 5 universities who are fit and healthy; top doctors, members of Armed Forces from elite units and those willing to do skilled, dirty and dangerous jobs such as repairing wind farms, Michelin starred chefs, Savile Row Tailors, skilled craftsmen in construction, etc, but that is a small percentage of the population.
The EU completely ignores the development of trade and technology in the rest of the World.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
1 month ago

“A majority of respondents said that they would favour a formal deal between the two Right-wing parties if one were available.”
There aren’t “two Right-wing parties”. There’s one Right-wing party (Reform), and six centre-Left parties: Labour, “Tories” (sic.), SNP, LibDems, Plaid and the Greens. The Greens, admittedly, are more Left than centre-Left.

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Heritage Party is right wing but even though I am in one of the few constituencies with a HP candidate I shall be voting Reform. Roll on the Conservative destruction.

Greens are more just mad than Left.

j watson
j watson
1 month ago
Reply to  Damon Hager

Can’t wait til the Tories become the Party of the likes of Ian Gribben (look him up). You’re doomed and too daft to see it.

Guy Aston
Guy Aston
1 month ago

In the very early 60’s there was a new cigarette brand called Sloane that ran a campaign featuring a lonely man under a streetlamp in a foggy London. The slogan was “You’re never alone with a Sloane.” As a campaign, it was a disaster. There was only one solution. They started over, calling the cigarette the “Embassy”. It became the best selling cigarette in the UK.
The Tories will have to totally rebrand if they are ever to return. I wonder, how about branding as “Reform”?

James Carr
James Carr
1 month ago
Reply to  Guy Aston

The advert was ” you’re never alone with a Strand,” At one time I worked with the chap who played the smoker under the streetlamp.

J Boyd
J Boyd
1 month ago

The time to try to secure the votes of those who now support Reform was 2021/2.
This was the Tories’ second great error.
The first, of course, was stabbing Boris in the back.
Hopefully both errors will be rectified after the election.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 month ago

Reform will be an obsolete Party if Starmer and Gordon Brown get to carry on Tony Blairs destruction of our Democracy. For those that have missed it these guys have been planning while the Tories squabbled.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-13522979/PETER-HITCHENS-Starmer-Gordon-Browns-Parliament-Left-wing-revolution.html

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago

Owell said the middle class left wing intellectuals lived in a world of ideas with little contact with physical reality and had a shallow self righteousness. The reality is that most middle class urban office workers with humanities degrees who run political parties are the same. In 1945 Britain thought it could rest on it’s laurels and ignore the rest of the World. It created a welfare state and NHS which wastes resources which we cannot afford and failed to innovate our industry. The rest of the world has different welfare and health systems and has developed it’s performance in trade and technology.
Inner cities with high crime rates, low academic standards and poor health mean we are unable to compete with South Korea, Singapore, China and rapidly devloping India. Immigration has resulted in increase in people with low academic abilities , unskilled, who cannot be employed in advanced manufacturing and will be net consumers of welfare.
To bear fruit, trees need to be pruned and then watered. Thatcher realised British needed to be pruned but failed to appreciate the next step was watering. Those people running the political parties think castles can be built in the air and there are money trees.