Uproar in Tory circles, with Tory activists apparently incensed by David Cameron saying that he would “rather consult his valet” when it came to political matters.
Of course, that notorious quote actually belongs to fellow Old Etonian and former Tory Prime Minister Lord Balfour. However the sadness is that you could well imagine Cameron saying it, as he effectively did last week when telling MPs to ignore party members on the subject of the European Union.
In 1929, Sir Charles Marston described the party as an ‘autocracy masquerading as a democracy’. Nothing has changed, and nor will it. By conservatism the Tory party merely means conserving its own social status in society: its fitful interest in conservative ideas extends only to the point where they don’t clash with that central, overriding aim.
In continuing to trust the party, the broader conservative movement is like some pathetic gambler who insists on putting his money on Red 7 because that’s his lucky number and it really, really does come up more frequently than the others: when it rarely does, then it’s proof positive that the his theory is right; when it mostly doesn’t, he expresses bafflement that this is the case.
We have been treated this week to the wretched spectacle of so-called die-hard Tory sceptics melting away like spring snow when asked to back Brexit: once again, the social status of office mattered far more than their deepest principles, even when faced so momentous a political decision that could see our country swallowed up into a militarised European dictatorship.