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Tory leaders are to blame for the collapse of the Red Wall

Where did it all go wrong? Credit: Getty

April 4, 2024 - 10:00am

A new YouGov electoral model spells doom for the Tories. The forecast is that just 155 seats will return Conservative MPs — though that is better than the 98 predicted by Survation. One thing that both models agree on is that Labour will rebuild its “Red Wall”.

In 2019, the Tories gained 50 seats from Labour across Northern England, the Midlands and Wales — a result that was hailed as a realignment of British politics. More informally, the Red Wall also refers to the unbroken belt of seats, stretching from Liverpool to Hull, that Tony Blair won in 1997. It remained unbroken until 2010 — and was then reduced to urban fragments five years ago.

The YouGov model shows the map reverting to 1997 (or very nearly). There’s a small gap along the Humber where the Tories cling on in a couple of seats. Further north, however, it’s solid red from the Cumbrian to Northumbrian coasts. Not even Blair achieved that.

The Tories ought to understand what they’ve thrown away here. 2019 was a once-in-a-generation chance to break the Left’s hold on an electorate that it had clung onto for generations — and to offset Conservative losses in London and the Remainer South.

When the communists won the Chinese Civil War in 1949, the US foreign policy establishment tortured itself with the question: who lost China? After the next election, surviving Tories will need to ask themselves: who lost the Red Wall?

The blame rests firmly with the party leadership — or, rather, the leaderships of Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. Each, in their own way, betrayed the realignment. Johnson, of course, got Brexit done, but he didn’t take back control of our borders nor was he remotely serious about his promise to level-up the land. He also sacked Dominic Cummings, who actually understood the Leave-voting electorate.

As for Truss, she too was an immigration liberal and, apart from some flaky ideas about “freeports”, had nothing to offer the Red Wall. Sunak — yet another immigration liberal — has used his time as chancellor and PM to starve the levelling-up agenda of funds, abolish industrial strategy  and cancel HS2 north of Birmingham. Hilariously, his most positive gesture towards the Red Wall was to establish a Northern “campus” of the Treasury in Darlington. Needless to say, Whitehall’s colonial outpost has not impressed the locals — and the Darlington constituency is set to revert to Labour.

How will the coming defeat change the Conservative Party? According to analysis by Tim Bale and David Jeffery, a major loss of seats won’t drastically alter the ideological balance among MPs, but the loss of regional perspective will be extreme. The YouGov map leaves only one blue seat in the North East and, aside from bougie Cheshire, only one in the North West. Of the frontrunners to replace Sunak as leader, all are southern MPs and none show much sign of understanding of the impending loss of the Red Wall or why it matters.

If there’s any hope for the party, it lies with its most thoughtful MPs and candidates. Four names to look out for after the election are Danny Kruger, Neil O’Brien, Nick Timothy and Rupert Harrison. It should be said that none of these gentlemen are standing in Red Wall seats. That, however, is just as well. They wouldn’t stand a chance if they were.


Peter Franklin is Associate Editor of UnHerd. He was previously a policy advisor and speechwriter on environmental and social issues.

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Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago

I suspect the future of UK politics from now will be one of landslide victories for the opposition at every election as voters increasingly despair at the unwillingness of the Oxbridge governing class to confront any of the country’s fundamental problems and our inability, due to FPTP, to replace them with a more representative – and competent -alternative.

Paul Curtin
Paul Curtin
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Quite correct HB
First past the post means no true public representation in parliament
But turkey’s don’t vote for Christmas so the two block parties won’t let PR in with coalition party’s giving a balance of viewpoints

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Curtin

British people had a referendum on that.
Tell me how did the people vote?!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It wasn’t a great system that was proposed though, the Alternative Vote would have made very little difference. I think something similar to NZ’s version would prove much more popular

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

AV would have made a significant difference. It was completely foolish of the proponents of electoral reform not to seize upon that chance, even as a stepping stone for something more proportional.

As both Germany (endless centrism) and Israel (tiny extreme parties with excessive influence) show in their different ways, the introduction of PR is likely to be no panacea!

Pamela Booker
Pamela Booker
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

It wasn’t a referendum on proportional representation but alternative voting. Not quite the same thing

John 0
John 0
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Curtin

To be fair, the coalition held a public referendum on PR which was rejected by the public…

Paul Johnston
Paul Johnston
3 months ago
Reply to  John 0

It wasn’t on PR but On Alternative Voting.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Johnston

Clearly though PC exaggerated his point, to the point is was false and incorrect.
When folks had the Vote on PR they may have opted against it for multiple reasons. AV complexity perhaps one.
Ironic though also isn’t it that a certain section on the Right (more Reform leaning perhaps) now favouring the voting system used in the EU parliament over our own tradition.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

There wasn’t a vote on PR, it was on AV. They are not remotely the same.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

There is not only one system called PR, and AV is a more representative system than FPTP. All voting systems are based on some formula or other so the idea that AV and PR are not “remotely” the same is an exaggeration.

All voting systems have both advantages and disadvantages

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

You can not have your cake and eat it.
And the people will not vote for hard decisions – they can pretend (on this website as long as they like) but the people will not vote for pain.
Those reforms (that you want ) are going to be very painful for a long time (10 years or more).

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I suspect the future of UK politics from now will be one of landslide victories for the opposition at every election

I’m struggling to see where a future Conservative landslide could come from.
Before 2019 the last time the Conservatives won a majority which could survive a whole parliament (taking account of likely defections, deaths and by-election defeats) was 1987. Major’s 21 seat majority from 1992 was a minority by 1997. Cameron formed a coalition in 2010 then won a 10 seat majority in 2015. That was lost in 2017 but natural attrition would probably have done for it by 2020 anyway.
2019 is the exception: a thumping victory in terms of seats, but an inch deep in many places. Achieved largely by a combination of Boris’s peculiar appeal, leaning into Brexit, and exploiting the Corbyn factor. None of which are factors now.
I’m not saying that they will never win again, but I think a landslide will require a seismic shift in prevailing political trajectories in the UK.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago

I’m not so sure: it does seem to be the case that we live in increasingly unstable political times. After many decades of political stability after the Second World War, at least in electoral terms, over the past 20 years we have seen a number of political earthquakes of Brexit, the astonishing rise of the SNP (perhaps now to be followed by a fall) and even the recent rapid fall from grace of the conservatives – just in the last few years. People vote on a far less tribal basis than they used to.

We are now seeing the Tories been seen by people on almost all sides of politics as having totally screwed up with Labour having not been in office for 14 years. But attitudes will change very dramatically once Labour are actually elected. About other very unpopular things they are likely to intensify our progressive identitarian policies the increase in the number and scope of “hate crimes” and many others.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago

The Conservatives don’t have to do anything or become anything. Labour’s energy policy alone and the hardship it will bring to millions, is enough to guarantee another wipeout in 2029.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
3 months ago

Breaching the Red Wall in 2019 was a neat trick, which possibly only Boris and Cummings could have pulled off. But it was always very unlikely to represent a sea-change because it was based on promises that can’t be delivered.
Promising levelling up and comprehensive public services while at the same time promising a reduction in immigration and low personal taxation, against the background of sinking indigenous Total Fertility Rates, is a pipe dream. Brexit or no Brexit.
It is possible that without Covid landing when it did that Boris could have boosterised himself to a second term as PM on the basis that he needed another full term to fully “realise the benefits of Brexit”. But inevitably the country demanded a sacrifice for Covid mismanagement and the photos of Conservative ministers breaking their own rules handed them one on a plate. Everything since then has been a clownshow piled upon a clownshow.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 months ago

Yes, all true.
Germany spent c.2 trillion over 30 years (c.67bn a year) to level up East Germany.
Levelling up costs real money and no Tory GOV will tax its blue wall to pay for the Red Wall.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Smith

Well arguably Germany followed the wrong policies there, which marked the beginning of a deterioration of German economic performance. The world is complicated and there are no easy solutions. The idea that Britain has a low tax economy which you might believe from Tory rhetoric is completely for the birds.

You want to get to a sustainable self generating vibrant economy in the North, not one that is based on massive subsidies and transfers from the South.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago

Not quite.
Red Wall promises could have been delivered. This is simply a question of will. But the willpower wasn’t there. The resources exist. The guts don’t.
And Boris Johnson didn’t have the stamina to see such a program through. Which would also have required gutting the Civil Service (an excellent reason to pursue such policies) who are currently principally employed to stop things getting done.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Some was almost certainly ‘will’ but related to the contradiction that the Blue Wall Tory element wouldn’t want to pay for it.
Fundamentally though the hard yards in Policy formulation was lacking and remans so. It never got much beyond on slogan because for the Right it would involve taking on choices it wants to avoid.

2 plus 2 equals 4
2 plus 2 equals 4
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Its much more than just a question of willpower.
The two things which the Red Wall claim to want most – reductions in immigration and increased economic/social investment (i.e. levelling up) – are substantially incompatible. The latter relies on economic growth which, in turn, relies on population growth. Without immigration our population would be declining and our economy would be stagnant.
Even Japan, which has long prioritised ethnic homogeneity over economic growth, has recently conceded they need immigration to overcome stagnation and plans to issue 800,000 work visas in selected industries to foreign nationals.
Of course you could tinker round the edges. Raise some more tax, borrow some more, or generate productivity improvements and so on. But tax increases beyond a certain point tend to rebound on you, we’re already mortgaged to the hilt, and trying to force through productivity increases tends to come at a political cost, often involving closing down inefficient industries in just the sort of Red Wall constituencies they are trying to level up. So none of those are exactly ideal solutions.
This is not, by the way, an argument for indiscriminate or uncontrolled immigration.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago

Don’t fully accept all of that …
For starters, the “inefficient industries” that need closing down are no longer in the Red Wall constituencies. That all got done in the 1980s. The productivity problem is now mainly in the public sector. And it’s high time we got to grips with that. Moving some of that out to lower cost areas in the Red Wall and starting fresh with some new people who actually want to work and go into the office would be a damn good start.
Of course, none of the solutions are easy or painless. But no one said they were.
This need to import more people is frankly rubbish. What we need to do is get the current generation saving for its own retirement rather than paying for the current retirees. Once you’ve done that, it doesn’t matter nearly as much whether the population rises or falls. As it is, we’re locked into a Ponzi-type system where we have to keep throwing ever more workers in at the bottom. It’s madness – and unsustainable.
The time for tinkering is over. Jeremy Hunt’s last budget will be his last wretched attempt at tinkering (and lying about reducing taxes).

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago

Your comment about economic growth depending on population growth is almost complete nonsense. It is GDP per capita, not gross GDP. Liechtenstein is very much richer on this basis than the UK! Ok, perhaps I’ve slightly overstated it: a certain minimum level of population is probably necessarily for the vibrant generation and exchange of ideas, but Britain’s current population is quite enough to achieve that.

There is also immigration and immigration. Importing vast numbers of low skilled migrants, as we are doing, puts huge pressure on public services, quite obviously depresses wages, quite apart from the enormous difficulties of achieving successful integration. Various analyses have shown that such migration is a net drain to the Treasury, not a gain. (A glance of how things work in my local area indicates why this would be the case; such groups would be overwhelming dependent on public health education etc while paying little tax).

Many countries allow migrants to come in and WORK, but don’t allow their entire families to come with them, nor essentially provide these people all the benefits of citizenship, including social housing, almost as soon as they arrive. Over 40% of London social housing is occupied by FOREIGN BORN people!

Many progressives and immigration liberals put the cart before the horse. Yes the UK has myriads of problems, not least ongoing poor productivity, immigration hasn’t caused all of these, and we need to tackle them. However, the levels of migration make this just very much more difficult, not easier.

By the way presumably at SOME point the population has to level out and stabilize, or we get a never-ending Ponzi scheme!

0 0
0 0
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

A. They didn’t know how to. B They were never interested to find out .

j watson
j watson
3 months ago

The factor we often forget was Corbyn. 2019 said as much about what Voters thought of him than it did about any detailed Policy prospectus from the Right in 2019.
It is true that the Pandemic would have unsettled/distracted all Govts and created difficult financial challenges. But their remains a complete dearth of real Policy development that emanated from Bojo Govt. As we all know, he’s not a detailed Policy, implementation person. He was a sloganeering journalist. We got what we expected, style over substance.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Agree up to a point.
I don’t remember anyone else offering better policies than Johnson in 2019-21.
Don’t forget – people wanted a “sloganeering journalist” in 2019. We all knew. You persist in this frankly weird illusion that the mass of voters were somehow stupid and/or conned.
Oh yes – I don’t recall seeing much “detailed policy” from Labour over the past couple of years. At least, not anything that survives more than a few weeks before changing again.
I suspect when we look back, we’ll conclude that Johnson won the 2019 election rather than Corbyn losing it. But it’ll be Sunak who loses in 2024 rather than Starmer winning.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Actually while never a person we could have as PM Corbyn had some good policies. And a Brexiteer at heart ‘to boot’!
That aside by 2019 Brexiteers had had 3 years to get a proper worked up portfolio ready. They didn’t.
And I disagree that Public wouldn’t say they felt they were conned. I think that is exactly what many would now say.
Agree on your last point.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

I don’t remember anyone else offering better policies than Johnson in 2019-21
Could there be some admission here that before this time, Corbyn did have some substantial policies? You’re a proponent of land value tax if I recall..
Corbyn had a ton of policies that polled very well and would have brought us closer to the spending commitments made by the stronger economies and heath systems of our western European neighbours (apparently ‘communist‘, if you read the coverage of much of the press and the supposedly right wing BBC):
1) Increase health budget by 4.3% (good one for the over 55s, who are almost 40% of Unherd’s readership)
2) Raise minimum wage to £10 (ok Unherd readers, I get that making work more profitable than pensions could be controversial..)
3) Stop state pension age rises (Unherd readers? can you hear that??It’s what you didn’t vote for (it rose from 65 to 66 in 2020))
4) Create a national care service for the elderly
5) Nationalise key industries (if you disagree with this tell me how the (wholesale) privatisation of water, energy, mail, rail or (piecemeal) privatisation of health has been successful)

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago

Many countries with low fertility rates managed without vast levels of migration, Japan being one of them. Everything we do causes some problem or other, but the problem of high net migration leading to huge pressure on public infrastructure and services, together with the lack of integration of many incomer groups, is now a very big problem indeed. And the levels of migration we are now seeing are totally opposed by the British public.

So many people seem to hate the Conservatives, with some justification, but willingly seem to be taken in by their rhetoric. For example, the UK doesn’t have a low tax economy, but the highest peacetime taxes for 50 years. We have 5 million people of working age who are idle, many of them apparently with mental health issues (which wouldn’t on the face of it be improved by sitting at home). We have lamentable productivity, which has been getting worse not better.

So undoubtedly the Conservatives have been in recent years short-termist, ideologically incoherent, and glib in their electoral promises. But I see absolutely nothing in Labour’s prospectus that will tackle these deep rooted issues any better.

Robbie K
Robbie K
3 months ago

I can understand voters turning away from the Conservatives, I’m uncertain what attracts them to Labour however. Guess it must just be an instinctive trait in these areas despite the obvious lack of talent and policies.

Jeremy Smith
Jeremy Smith
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

YOu have to vote for someone. And Reform is pointless.
So that is the choice you have Con or Lab.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

Labour vote isnt going up much. What is happening is the Tory vote is fading away.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Robbie K

There wasn’t great appetite for Thatcher in 79. There was for getting rid of Labour esp after Winter of Discontent. It has some similarities.

William Cameron
William Cameron
3 months ago

Immigration is killing the Tories. And it will – unless stopped- kill Labour too.
Remember Labour isnt winning new votes , Their projected vote isnt bigger- what you are seeing is the Tory vote collapsing.

D Walsh
D Walsh
3 months ago

To save the UK, first destroy the Tory party
Just don’t vote for them, its that simple

0 0
0 0
3 months ago

Immigration doesn’t need to be a big deal. It can easily fade into the background again with a bit of common sense. It’s been inflated to take the place of lots of ordinary stuff not being looked after by Government.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  0 0

It won’t “fade into the background” with the quite extraordinary numbers now immigrating! 750,000 net per annum. The city the size of Birmingham every three or four years? People are utterly furious about the total inability of the state to control your legal migration across the channel, which by the way is running at the same rate as legal migration was 25 years ago!

The country’s infrastructure is totally unable to cope with this huge influx and of course the cultural integration (or lack of it) among many groups is already a massive problem. The public’s view is very clear on this.

Is the bizarre nation that the concern about migration is principally being stoked by politicians, when the Conservative Party liberalised the immigration policies under Johnson, and Labour are also pro migration. The differences of the Conservatives appear to think that the public can be conned on this issue by a few tough sounding sound bites which make absolutely no difference.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago

Quite frankly, none of the Tories deserve to be spared.
It’s all very well Peter Franklin’s mates being “thoughtful”. Red Wall voters wanted action, not ideas. The last thing we need is more Whitehall “analysis paralysis”. Of course, we’ll now be getting the red flavour rather than the blue one. But paralysis all the same.
At some point, your patience just runs out …

Adoptive Loiner
Adoptive Loiner
3 months ago

The Conservative party deserves only annihilation, it no longer represents anything other than the interests of investment bankers, and it doesn’t even manage that well.

Is it surprising they are in such dire straits when they no longer seem to have any philosophy beyond personal self-interest? They are clearly no longer right wing or conservative, so what is the point of their continued existence?

They have allowed immigration to sky rocket whilst gaslighting the public, law and order is breaking down, taxes are at record highs, the armed forces at record lows. Britain is apparently now nothing more than an international dormitory. What about any of that is conservative or right-wing?

Why should anyone have fear of a Labour government when the conservative party has been busily implementing that which most people would consider to be the worst version of one? If we are to have high immigration and taxes, why not let what looks like a more competent bunch of people implement them?

Our oppositional system requires a party of the right that is capable of winning power. The conservative party has forfeited that position and should now be ground to dust so that something genuinely right-wing can rise to take it’s place.

The party of Peel, Disraeli, Churchill and Thatcher is dead, and must now be buried.

Paul Johnston
Paul Johnston
3 months ago

Reform agitprop! What is genuinely Right wing, or genuinely anything about a party that put up a disgraced former Labour MP as its candidate at the last bye-election in Rochdale only 4 weeks ago?

Adoptive Loiner
Adoptive Loiner
3 months ago
Reply to  Paul Johnston

Kindly do not put words in my mouth. I did not advocate for Reform.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago

The problem is the Tories got ‘captured’ by Right Wing Populists who sold a false prospectus without the detailed Policy work or honesty with the public. As we know a large coterie of the Right want a Singapore on Thames type model, but whilst they’ll pull at the Tory leadership they won’t be honest about that with the public – because they know public doesn’t want that. And thus here we are.

0 0
0 0
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Aussie Levidov sold them ‘populist’ games they could play with us which had enough plausibility for those who wanted to believe in them. Those financial interests who don’t know enough or care enough about Britain’s people to do anything properly.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The problem is the Tories got ‘captured’ by Right Wing Populists

No the Tories got captured by Clinton/Blair neo-liberalism – and completely abandoned the ordinary people of the country. Which is why they’re about to vanish from the world. You should try to see the world as it is instead of constantly twisting things out of shape so they fit your corporatist narrative.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Hardly HB. How did Brexit happen?
And by the way it’s a remarkable gymnastic contortion to deflect Neo-liberalism onto exponents of the Third Way rather than the Joseph/Thatcher/Friedman/Reagan axis that spawned Neo-liberalism. The Right needs to ‘own’ Neo-Liberalism and start being honest that it got alot wrong about it. Then we can all find some common ground.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I suspect you don’t really know what neo-liberalism is.
Brexit happened because you got too greedy. That’s really all there is to it.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

There is something in what you say, but it is amazing how often this trope of Singapore upon Thames gets bandied about without those doing so having the faintest idea of the nature of the Singaporean state, policies and society! It strikes me as one of the best run societies countries in the world; would that the UK had a tenth of their competency! Singapore has an extremely effective state, not just a large sprawling, mediocre verging on utterly incompetent one, as the UK unfortunately increasingly does.

And yes Singapore is a city state but both South Korea and Taiwan also have much better government.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

Yes I’m sure alot of ignorance. Been there myself and can certainly see some of the positives. But it’s a City State and it’s transferability to the UK highly debatable.
Things like it’s approach to healhcare unlikely to be popular here, but maybe a discussion to be had with the public if the Right thinks that worthwhile. They just have to be honest about it.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago

I’m not at all sure that aiming to destroy the Tory Party is the right strategy. The problem is that it is almost impossible for a new party to break through in the first past the post system. Changing the existing party seems a better prospect to me.

After all, after all Thatcherite ideas almost completely took over in the Conservative Party from the previous “One England” “Butskellite”. consensus. And although the move to Euroscepticism skepticism was nothing like as complete, there was a big ideological shift there too. The Tories in the 60s and 70s were overwhelmingly pro European.

Unfortunately however shifts of this magnitude take many decades to accomplish. MPs and ministers tend to cling on to their previous positions, with only a few exceptions, and they often serve for many years or decades.

Pamela Booker
Pamela Booker
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The Tories in the ’60s had not experienced the Common Market as members and those in the ’70s were, for a large part, led by that visionless, eurocrat, bureaucrat Heath. As a young conservative who joined the party 40 years ago this October after being exasperated by Wilson’s 2nd GE win that year, I can tell you I was in good company among my anti-EU conservative peers. That was before the party was captured by Big Business and privateers.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago

Two key thoughts.
Firstly, and ironically, the loss of the Red Wall will return the core Tory party base to it’s more ‘comfortable’ heartland and likely lose it the potentially more radical element that engages with a entirely different constituent to it’s tradition. Thus a major defeat may have the reverse effect to that implied.
Secondly, and this seems to be a recurring theme in many UK related UnHerd Articles at this time reflecting the likely electoral loss coming – let’s blame a few guilty men/women rather than the abject failure of Right Wing/Brexit supporting thinking to really engage and prep long term policy decisions that will be required if we are not to rapidly disappoint a new coalition of supporters. It’s the paucity and infantalism of the Populist thinking that went into these projects that has undone them. The names mentioned by the Author then compounded the problem, and what a sorry lot to have placed into power, but they are not the fundamental problem. It’s the laziness and adolescent behaviour behind much Right Wing Populism. Given some proper thought to what supporting policies are really needed, and the honesty on trade offs and timescales, and it might have been so different. But half the Right lives in cloud cuckoo land.

Andrew R
Andrew R
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Very little “right wing populism” involved, the Tories had an 80 odd seat majority and did next to nothing in office other than enrich themselves. This would include the previous May and Cameron administrations as well.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Beg to differ. Right Wing Populism including Get Brexit Done key factor in 80 seat majority (Interesting aside – was all about getting it done, not making it work as by then they’d probably grasped a false prospectus and they weren’t going to tackle the fundamental Policy gaps needed).
And here’s one example of a Policy gap – social care and it’s reliance on low paid immigrant workforce. You heard anything on the proposed Policy solutions from the Right? Here’s another – how we fund Higher and Further Education without considerable overseas student fees? Any inkling of a Policy response? Fine if the view is we’ll just have less but even a switch to more vocational UK training will need investment. And doctors and nurses shortfall – similar Policy response? Loads and loads like this unaddressed by Populists. I haven’t mentioned the twaddle conveyed to farmers and fishermen and how subsequent Policy left them weakened and disappointed.

Andrew R
Andrew R
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

We could have grown the economy organically but no, we turbo charged it with mass immigration and low interest rates. We could have paid people decent wages, trained them, provided affordable housing and healthcare.

The electorate got tired of voting in governments enacting policies they didn’t ask for because, hey technocrats knew better, hence Brexit.

The Tories have done nothing about it because it made them and their backers wealthy, talk about unintended consequences. That’s what happens with ideology, it creates paradoxes.

Labour will continue to import millions of people each decade because of ideology and it being the line of least resistance.

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Labour will fail spectacularly – ironically the Tories would have too because Net Zero is going to destroy the UK economy and would the very fabric of Society.
The UK population in 2007 according to Supermarket Databases was between 77-80 million (for an idea of what that means is currently the ‘Official’ figure is just on 70 Million. So 17 years ago the figure was upto 10 Million more than we say it is today.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/comment/city-eye-facts-on-a-plate-our-population-is-at-least-77-million-5328454.html
What infrastructure have we built for a population of 80 Million plus? Perhaps the reason the country appears to be falling apart is that our population may now be in excess of 90 Million?
Net Zero will destroy the Grid, the economy will fail and the UK, not self-sufficient in food since the 1700’s then with a pre Industrial population of around 8 Million, is going to suffer such a catastrophic collapse of society that the UK will likely fail. That is assuming that Net Zero isn’t ditched once the first food riots begin. As Doomberg points out.
“On the path from abundance to starvation is riot”
Net Zero is that path. The very fact that not one post on here mentions it suggests that when the grid first fails, and that probably within the next 18 months IF the planned destruction of Coal Plants and retirement of Nuclear continues this Autumn, it is going to be a shock even to Unherd readers.
https://davidturver.substack.com/p/wait-for-the-blackout
Even Trans/DEI hasn’t the potential to destroy the country as effectively as Net Zero.
My MP argues that Net Zero isn’t Absolute Zero – I’d say there isn’t much difference as the myths of Carbon Capture that distinguishes them aren’t going to happen in the UK. Try reading the FIRES report re Absolute Zero for some idea of what Net Zero means.
https://www.icax.co.uk/pdf/Absolute_Zero_Report.pdf
Graphic P6 is a classic. Here’s Kipling on what no shipping means to the UK at a time when our population wasn’t north of 70 Million. (No, the chunnel won’t save us, the rails will melt first)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrvaBPakoIs

Bill Bailey
Bill Bailey
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

I note that there are no links in most posts, assuming that links mean ‘moderation’ this post repeats what I have already posted BUT here I’ve removed ALL the links that provide the evidence for my claims. I can but hope the original post complete with links appears. The data should worry us all.
Labour will fail spectacularly – ironically the Tories would have too because Net Zero is going to destroy the UK economy and would the very fabric of Society.
The UK population in 2007 according to Supermarket Databases was between 77-80 million (for an idea of what that means is currently the ‘Official’ figure is just on 70 Million. So 17 years ago the figure was up to 10 Million more than we say it is today.
(Search for Independent says 77 million)
What infrastructure have we built for a population of 80 Million plus? Perhaps the reason the country appears to be falling apart is that our population may now be in excess of 90 Million?
Net Zero will destroy the Grid, the economy will fail and the UK, not self-sufficient in food since the 1700’s then with a pre Industrial population of around 8 Million, is going to suffer such a catastrophic collapse of society that the UK will likely fail. That is assuming that Net Zero isn’t ditched once the first food riots begin. As Doomberg points out.
“On the path from abundance to starvation is riot”
Net Zero is that path. The very fact that not one post on here mentions it suggests that when the grid first fails, and that probably within the next 18 months IF the planned destruction of Coal Plants and retirement of Nuclear continues this Autumn, it is going to be a shock even to Unherd readers.
(search for davidturver substack wait-for-the-blackout)
Even Trans/DEI hasn’t the potential to destroy the country as effectively as Net Zero.
My MP argues that Net Zero isn’t Absolute Zero – I’d say there isn’t much difference as the myths of Carbon Capture that distinguishes them aren’t going to happen in the UK. Try reading the FIRES report re Absolute Zero for some idea of what Net Zero means.
Search for the FIRES report.
Graphic P6 is a classic. Here’s Kipling on what no shipping means to the UK at a time when our population wasn’t north of 70 Million. (No, the chunnel won’t save us, the rails will melt first)
Search for The Jolly Rogers – Big Steamers

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Quite a bit there I’d agree with AR.
I wouldn’t agree with your last point. I think Labour quite sensitised to the subject and of course it can undermine Unions and core support. But our demographics and workforce needs can’t all be quickly and easily resolved either. What I’m hoping for is a more honest debate about the subject.
Interestingly I heard Blunkett talking about how he’d now support ID cards. One suspects that’s a tactical ‘test the waters’ approach by an ex-grandee on potential Policy. I’d favour ID cards. Blair did but didn’t get sufficient support. I think the UK public would better support now in light of illegal migration and pressure on services. It’s not the sole solution but been v surprised Tories not pushed at this well before now.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Higher education – we let the market sort it out and rejoice as half the so-called universities close for good. These are not only useless, they are a massive drag on the UK economy. The opportunity cost of creating excessive graduates is huge – and includes funding all the staff and buildings. Meanwhile, the economy is full of both non-graduate and STEM graduate labour shortages. Add in the fact that we’re building up a mountain of bad student debt. And all the fake institutions which exist only as cover for unwanted immigration. It’s insanity.
We direct some of the savings to training our own doctors and nurses (nurses will no longer need epensive degrees when I’m in charge). We’ll end up with more and better doctors and nurses too. The BMC will not be allowed to interfere with any of this or limit training places as they have in the past – such professional trade union restrictive practices will be stopped (a job Margaret Thatcher sadly didn’t get round to doing).
Some of the savings go to paying social care workers more.
We stop the nonsense of fixed national pay rates in the public sector and pay the market rate required in each region. Rather than just London weightings (there are more expensive locations than parts of London).
We know very well where the waste and inefficiencies are and what needs doing. As stated before, all that is missing is the will.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Let’s assume we agree that we need to realign quite a bit of our Higher and Further education and that we may be generating too many Graduates in fields of less need to the Country.
The issue then is funding – you assume that with much less international students we don’t then have a black hole in our funding. And I think you also assume that affordability not an issue anyway because the ‘market’ will step and train where it needs? I think you are wrong on both these, if these are you base assumptions. Here’s a thought – China had 37k scientists graduate last year just in Sichuan province – Govt funded. Now doesn’t mean Chinese economy without issues, but you can tell what they are thinking can’t you.

Peter B
Peter B
3 months ago
Reply to  j watson

I have no idea what the Chinese government are thinking (or if, indeed they are thinking at all – we should be sceptical about the amount of thinking we credit some of these people with either here or in China – certainly many in China are in it for themselves – that’s why you join the CCP or any one party state cadre).
What we do know is that – quite weirdly and few people realise this – China has a far smaller welfare state than most Western countries. If you don’t have to carry that burden (and it’s small over all of east Asia), of course there’s money to spare.
I’m also far more concerned with the quality of graduates than the quality. A bad software engineer or doctor )ow lawyer or accountant) can do a huge amount of damage. And excellent one can easily be five times as productive as an average one.
Employing so many people staffing the superfluous universities has a direct economic impact. These people could be employed generating wealth in private industry, rather than being a drag on the economy. Basic opportunity cost stuff.
I’m certainly not ideologically opposed to foreign students at UK universities. In moderation this is sensible and does help with funding. But not the way it’s being abused today as an easy visa workaround.

John Turnbull
John Turnbull
3 months ago

Is it not time to disband political parties and their simplistic views on the way ahead. We need a much more nuanced approach in which the way ahead is decided by cooperation and sharing of ideas rather than the current childish conflict.

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
3 months ago

People have to wake up and vote Reform. The Conservatives are so hated across the country that they don’t stand a chance of stopping a Labour landslide.

John Tyler
John Tyler
3 months ago

While the current elite maintains its positions of power the rise of right- and left-wing populism will continue and accelerate.

0 0
0 0
3 months ago

It’s hard to think of anything the US FP establishment could have done to ‘keep’ China apart from playing both ends against the middle and allying with Mao as much as opposing him. As they’ve learned to do since.

China’s not a good analogy for the Red Wall nor the Tory ‘leadership’ for Foggy Bottom. Nor is sufficient to point out the mixed messages sent north from No 10 or Tufton Street. Governments must govern the whole country engaging all as best they can. In this sense the key failures are:

1 Failure to reconcile opposing Tory interests into a coherent Brexit strategy, leaving it to twist in the wind, along with the hopes of many in the Wall and elsewhere.

2. Failure to see that the point of ‘taking back control’ is about local and regional empowerment, instead letting that rot further. Sloganeering about sovereignty and border control is no substitute and not even mainstream up there. Red Wall voters may be less cosmopolitan than UK average but they are not especially national chauvinistic. In and out migration is a local and regional flow issue there, and plays on both sides of desired dynamics.

So, the Tory failure has been to play with people by slogans rather than taking their concerns and interests seriously. Not a serious populism even. (Signs are Labour are on the case and will go about things very differently. )

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
3 months ago

There only thing wrong I believe with this analysis is the idea the Labour are likely to be any better. The Tories actually had a few people concerned about immigration and did achieve Brexit, almost despite themselves.

There is absolutely no chance that Labour will do anything similar. We will see the further embedment of public sector mediocrity, even higher wasteful taxation, plus worst of all in my view, the intensification of progressive woke policies and the further restriction of freedom of speech, as in Scotland.

But it is no doubt to the Tories’ great disgrace, that so many people are by now so angry with them that will vote for an even worse party, a kind of vindictive self-destruction.

j watson
j watson
3 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

The reflex to shoot oneself in the foot whilst so angry with others has ‘form’ for sure, and Brexit a case example. Trump another.

Elon Workman
Elon Workman
3 months ago

These are the facts: Only two Conservative Prime Ministers since the Second World War have had majorities of 100 or over : Harold Macmillan in 1959 and Margaret Thatcher in 1983 and 1987. Margaret Thatcher’s was built largely on the splitting of the left/left of centre parties – the Labour Party/the SDP and the Liberals with the SDP and the Liberals forming an alliance in both the 1983 and 1987 elections. Scotland & Wales have always voted left so any Conservative win was built around the English electorate. Once the trust of the English shires, the suburbs around the big cities and the seaside towns (once Conservative strongholds) is lost then it is curtains for the party. The failure to re align after the December 2019 is not only astonishing but possibly terminal.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
3 months ago

I thought Nick Timothy was touting for another spad role with his recent Daily Telegraph articles. I didn’t realise that he was on manoeuvres for himself.