Published 6th November 2021
What next for Conservatism?
It is widely accepted that the Conservative & Unionist Party is now anchored in the centre left politically and economically. This once proud party, the natural party of government for over 100 years has been shorn of all its credentials in areas including immigration, budgetary constraint, a small and efficient state and an instinct to cut tax to nurture an enterprise economy.
As a lifelong Tory, this is a bitter pill to swallow but having resigned as a member in September, I am increasingly convinced that the Conservative Party is hellbent on losing power.
Given the dearth of quality within the Labour Party leadership team, the Tories may yet reclaim victory from the jaws of the very defeat they are conspiring to achieve. Even so, they will not receive my vote with the current totalitarian instincts and bluster that pass for our Prime Minister.
With the exception of Liz Truss, John Redwood, Steve Baker and a handful of Spartans, I view the Tories as a misnomered anachronism aligned with the same kamikaze path as John Major’s 1992-1997 vintage. The stench of chumocracy, hypocrisy, sleaze and incompetence abound.
Against this backdrop, what is to be done? I have huge admiration for those who choose to remain inside this now fetid tent rather than getting out whilst their integrity remains beyond reproach.
The alternatives from the centre outwards are an eclectic mix of social and fiscal conservatism that need to unify and galvanise to stand any chance of (at least) making the Tories think again.
The SDP led by the redoubtable William Clouston combines social conservatism with centre left fiscal policy and is as near to the centre of what used to pass for left and right in the United Kingdom.
The Heritage Party led by David Kurten, is more in keeping with Thatcherite Conservatism with a policy agenda that combines controlled immigration with free market economics, the primacy of the nation state and resilient law and order.
Reform UK is led by the avuncular Richard Tice and is the rebranded Brexit Party. With a populist agenda of low taxes and strong border controls, it has the most historic traction with the electorate but also the most baggage, not least amongst pro Europeans.
The Reclaim Party, led by Laurence Fox is primarily focused on libertarianism, a laudable objective but has struggled to gain traction since the London Mayoral election in May 2021.
Commentators including Calvin Robinson have called for these 4 entities to unite and offer a home to the broad church that is the centre and centre right of British politics and in doing so, fill the vacuum for the circa 12M voters in both the blue and red wall that desire traditional Conservative values.
Without a fundamental realignment in policy amongst the Tories or a credible coalition of traditional Conservatives emerging from these 4 parties, the prospect of a rainbow coalition to “keep the Tories out” winning the next General Election and setting the country on a course that combines environmental Thunberg with economic iceberg looms large.
First past the post is an imperfect voting system but the alternatives generally lead to sclerotic coalitions (just ask the Italians). For the first time in my 50 years, I have to countenance, however reluctantly, the possibility of Proportional Representation. Why? To keep the Tories honest? I fear that is now an oxymoron.
Come what may, that 80 seat majority is not only becoming a distant memory, it is evaporating faster than the polar icecap.
87% – by any measure, a crisis
Over 21,000 mostly economic migrants have now arrived officially in the UK by boat in 2021. There are more, possibly many more, who avoid official Home Office processing by heading inland at speed avoiding Border Force personnel.
87% are men. Able bodied men. Men leaving their families behind in countries where they, as men, fear for their lives yet feel it is appropriate to leave their wives and children behind in.
My previous piece on immigration set out my thoughts on the actions the government needs to enact to “Take Back Control”. My faith in them doing so is ever diminishing.
Whilst our Prime Minister proselytises on what sacrifices we all must make to prevent a “climate catastrophe” (David Bellamy would disagree but hey ho), a growing number of vulnerable young girls will be groomed to sate the financial enrichment and sexual proclivities of people traffickers.
The next time you see some bleeding heart human rights lawyer discussing the “rights” of the undocumented migrant, spare a thought for white girls, often below the age of consent, often in the care system, who will be plied with iPhones, alcohol, clothes, drugs and suckered into modern day slavery and prostitution.
Smart motorways are anything but
I am all for optimising value for money for taxpayers, who seem to be at the bottom of the list for government recognition when announcing new “record levels of investment” for this, that and the other public service.
Smart motorways are anything but value for money. Instead of widening motorways and retaining a hard shoulder, this policy, which was introduced by John Prescott and is known as “all lanes running” has resulted in tragic and avoidable loss of life at the expense of investing in world class infrastructure for vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
It is unfortunate at best that Grant Shapps has been tin eared in response to the Commons’ Transport Select Committee findings who found that there was insufficient safety and economic data to justify with continuation of the policy.
Removing the hard shoulder, providing insufficient safety areas, relying on flawed technology to pick up vehicle breakdowns (in the areas where the technology exists (note exists not works) and allowing the commensurate increased risk of avoidable mortality is a recipe for folly from a government increasingly out of touch with the electorate.
With over 700 miles of smart motorway complete or under construction, the government has doubled down on its stupidity. There will inevitably be a catastrophic incident arising from smart motorways in the coming years. A public enquiry at taxpayers expense will recommend the policy is scrapped and the government will U-turn.
No wonder Boris took a private jet back from COP26 for dinner with Charles Moore at the Garrick Club.
That is not a prediction, it is a racing certainty. My message to Grant Shapps is simple. Get ahead of this now, scrap smart motorways and widen what we’ve got. It will cost a fraction of the £1.4 trillion the government has committed to delivering net zero carbon by 2050 and remind those who voted Tory in 2019 that they voted blue not green.
By elections abound
On a human level, it is difficult not to feel sympathy for Owen Paterson. His wife tragically took her own life on his birthday and he has been through a tortuous process either side of that with Parliamentary Standards Committee, which found him greedy of egregious lobbying on behalf of 2 firms who paid him £100,000 as a consultant.
One firm, Randox (based in Northern Ireland) has secured some £500 million of public contracts without having to engage in the standard public procurement process. A reminder that Mr Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under David Cameron.
Paterson’s assertion of innocence centres around not being allowed to call witnesses to corroborate his version of events that his intervention was around food safety standards. Further that the process has no appeal mechanism.
As usual, the Tories found a way to bungle by conflating the need for the Parliamentary Standards scrutiny process to be overhauled, whilst simultaneously overturning the committee’s decision on Paterson’s conduct. All under the auspices of a 3 line whip.
Having won the vote, the backlash led to (you guessed it) a U turn leading Paterson to immediately resign from the “cruel world of politics”. He would almost certainly have faced a recall petition in any event but not for the first time, I’m left feeling this catalogue of erroneous actions was all entirely avoidable.
Contrast Paterson’s demise with that of Claudia Webbe who escaped with a suspended sentence despite threatening to throw acid over her partner’s “friend”, with some nude photographs ready to be sent to her family for good measure.
Whilst Labour withdrew the whip from Webbe when charges were laid against her, she (currently) remains in office as the independent MP for Leicester East. Her predecessor, Keith Vaz, who has faced allegations of bullying, procuring male prostitutes and possession of class A drugs, apparently wants his seat back. Let’s file that under you couldn’t make it up.
The murder of Sir David Amess, combined with the end of James Brokenshire’s battle with cancer, presents an opportunity for both the Tories and Labour to see how they fare with the electorate in 4 so called safe seats.
I’m expecting at least one of these seats to change hands with a double digit swing. Time will tell.
Is the Woke backlash finally gathering pace in the US?
Glenn Youngkin’s stunning victory in the race to become Governor of Virginia in isolation could be viewed as an outlier.
When added to the decision of the good people of Minneapolis not to defund the police, Biden’s poll ratings remaining in the can (falling asleep during the opening speeches at COP26 will not have helped) and local elections in New Jersey swinging heavily towards the Republicans and the signs are encouraging.
With a year to go to the mid terms there is many a slip between cup and lip. That said, momentum is with the Republicans that if maintained will render Biden or Harris as lame ducks in the last 2 years of this presidency by sweeping Congress and the Senate.
We can but hope.
Meanwhile Woke in the UK plumbs new depths
Sending boys as young as 3 to Castleview Primary School in skirts in the name of “diversity” is beyond cynical virtue signalling. Only in Sturgeon’s Scotland eh?
Well no actually.
Monty Python legend, Terry Gilliam has been cancelled from delivering his latest West End production for the heinous crimes of finding Dave Chappelle funny (and questioning those within Netflix who would like his latest show cancelled) and verbalising out loud that just possibly some of those men who have had fingers pointed at them by MeToo campaigners may actually be innocent.
Throw in the resignation of Kathleen Stock and be under no illusions that Planet Woke is still trying to invade every nook and cranny of our way of life.
I’ll end on an amusing note. Apparently the complete works of William Shakespeare are to be reviewed and all colonial references will be cleansed.
Now I’m no David Starkey but suffice to say good luck seeking the non-existent needle in that particular haystack.
© justchrisdavies 2021