IT IS the folks over there at the Institute for Economic Affairs and the Adam Spliff Institute I worry about the most. Just how are they going to keep Big Spending Boris in line? If the manifesto and all the newspaper reports are to be believed, we are in a new era of Big Spending Conservatism and ‘Thatcherism is dead’.
It is not just The Blessed NHS that will be showered with taxpayers’ money, but significant infrastructure spending will be launched, especially in the blue heartlands of the North of England. In the Times Robert Colvile, who helped write the Tory manifesto, tells us that Boris really, really believes in his One Nation Conservatism, and Matthew Goodwin explained in the Sunday Times (for those who are still working with the old system of Left-Right divide) this means moving to the Left economically while moving to the Right on culture.
Goodwin: ‘Voters care just as much about their cultural security – about tradition, identity and belonging – as they do about their economic security. The much-underestimated Boris Johnson and his team recognised these deeper shifts. By combining promises to increase spending on public services and rebalance the regions with a pledge to respect the vote for Brexit, reform immigration and clamp down on Islamist terrorism, the Johnsonites have adapted to a new, unwritten law in politics: that it is easier for the right to move left on the economy than it is for the left to move right on identity.’
Now I am partial to some infrastructure spending, don’t get me wrong. And one should never underestimate the drive the male ego has to create something that will last, something that will remain long after the body has turned to dust, so I expect there will be Boris Bridges popping up all over the place. Whether the last remaining fiscally-conservative Conservatives will be on board with all of this remains to be seen.
We are also told that Boris, the most socially liberal of Tories, has recognised the social conservatism that has driven Brexit. Those former Labour heartlands did not vote for the Tories because they feel, finally, that they need another Etonian in power. No, they voted to get Brexit done. They voted against what Corbyn and the rest of the liberal London Labour elite represent – a disdain for the nation and those who love it.
Those who have been mocked as Little Englanders for wanting to control their borders, for wanting to run their own affairs, for wanting to have a say over the ridiculous immigration numbers that have been running in the last decade, watched and waited and got their revenge. Yes, on Thursday the Little Englanders served it cold to Corbyn and his cult.
It remains to be seen how Boris, who until very, very recently has prided himself on being one of those same liberal, pro-immigration, open borders types, turns into the Prime Minister who delivers Brexit. He has promised the much-vaunted Australian-style points system specifically to reduce immigration. The Conservatives have promised to reduce immigration in each of their last four manifestos and have failed each time. Can Boris do it?
Finally, will there be anything else that is even remotely socially conservative from the great liberal Boris? I wouldn’t hold my breath. However, we can expect a chilling impact on cancel culture, woke-ness and madcap schemes such as race audits (from Theresa the Technocrat).
We hope to hear more about equality of opportunity and less about parity of outcome amongst various groups. And we sincerely hope that this will put on a pause on the idiotic notion that men can transform into women on their mere say-so, and therefore use to power of the state to compel everyone else to agree with them.
Bridges, Brexit and a jolt of reality. That’s what I hope for in the next few years.