(This piece is written in acknowledgement of Peter Hitchens, who has long trumpeted the utter uselessness of the Tories and his analysis of The Abolition of Britain. Kathy wrote an earlier version of this article over the weekend for the I newspaper. You can read it here.)
The Conservative Party only has itself to blame.
First, the Left came for the institutions – the law, the Church, the universities and the BBC – then it came for the family; finally the Left took our children. Now to cap it all in the name of progressive liberalism, the Left has turned thought into a crime.
How did the Conservative Party respond over the years? Attack this progressive liberalism as a menace?
No, it capitulated with barely a struggle. It caved in. This week’s result was May’s Conservative Party’s comeuppance and payback time – with a vengeance.
The Conservative Party never marshalled the argument against progressive liberalism. That it is anything but progressive, rather an orthodoxy that that promotes selfishness, irresponsibility and mind-numbing conformity.
No, the Tories barely remonstrated, being ever accommodating and so easy to bully and shame.
Instead of fighting the Left, they renewed the BBC’s tax-funded Charter without tackling its institutional bias, and expanded the lefty-dominated universities.
Also – and much worse – they conspired with Labour and the Liberal Democrats in the progressive undermining of the family – the essential core of freedom. They did not just surrender the family; they collaborated in its demise.
Like Vichy France, the Conservative Party settled for living in occupied territory long ago. They forgot those once great ends of civil society – the protection of life, liberty, and property.
You have to have a long spoon to sup with the Devil, but the Conservatives’ spoon has not proved long enough.
Last week’s election was a boomerang that knocked Mrs May (who once labelled her party nasty and mistakenly thought its ‘toxicity’ could be expunged by embracing modernity) right off her PC pedestal.
Whatever George Osborne’s schadenfreude, he need not think he has right on his side. This is about more than Mrs May’s drift to the left. It’s about the unintended (but inevitable) consequences of her party’s long-term Faustian pact with its modernising Mephistopheles – liberal leftism of which Osborne was in the feminist forefront. But the Tories seem yet to understand the source of their downfall.
Nor did the bemused Conservative voters I met at three election night parties (turned wakes). They were completely confounded by Corbyn’s triumph. And triumph it was, whatever the voting stats.
They found it simply ‘illogical, unbelievable, inconceivable that the British public could rally behind a candidate so extreme, so inadequate, so profoundly and incessantly wrong’, as Robert Colvile of CapX put it.
True, some do see it as Mrs May’s reward for arrogantly abandoning Thatcherism. They are right, but only up to a point.
The fact is that Thatcher exhausted her moral energy bringing down the Berlin Wall and destroying militant trade unionism. But her triumphs concealed deeper failures. She left intact a monstrous new public sector unionism and tax-financed employment sector lobby; she left the cultural institutions and the tax-funded artistic elite ‘bound’ to the State. Under her the rot set into education.
The existence today ‘of an entire (youth) cohort ignorant of, alienated from or simply contemptuous of the market – for whom the financial crisis was not a blip, but a scar’ (Robert Colvile again) should come as no surprise. It is not as though compulsory free market economics was ever added to the national curriculum. Only more Britain bashing.
More to the point, no one carried on where Thatcher left off.
The election of 1997 was the last time the Conservatives and the country had a choice in these matters. Culturally, Labour had been in power for years. But Tony (my middle name is consensus) Blair’s mission was to set the new mores in political stone, in the name of equality and progress.
Emasculated and browbeaten by two election defeats, entranced by and jealous of the pop star PM, hating their own characteristion as old-fashioned and dissatisfied with what they perceived to be the limits of traditional values, the Tories were ready to sell their soul to the Devil in return for office.
They should have read Dr Faustus first. When Mephistopheles warned him of the horrors of hell, Faustus told him to return to his master, Lucifer, with an offer of his soul in exchange for twenty-four years of service.
Well Cameron did likewise. He summoned his very own Mephistopheles, that most coiffed of policy wonks Oliver Letwin, to advise him on how to beat Labour at the modernity game, never mind the abandonment of principle or the ensuing subservience of the populace to the State.
‘Compassionate conservatism’ and the Big Society were the tricks Cameron was told to play. In reality they meant nothing. Soon they were to be subsumed under the Left’s typically statist, socialist, universal childcare and working mother and poverty policies. Mothers didn’t matter any longer. The State could do their job.
The economic independence of the married family, the true answer to poverty, was already undermined, Cameron then surrendered it to radical feminism, gay marriage and transgenderism – to those dubious principles of equality and victimhood, in this, the latest front of the culture wars
Yes, ‘Conservative’ policies – by commission and omission – have conspired to foster the modern social malaise of family breakdown, fatherlessness, toxic relations between the sexes, ensuing social isolation, and social media addiction. That is what left wing ‘solutions’ do. Is it then surprising that marriage declined apace, that family breakdown speeded up, that children became ever unhappier, and their mental health problems more acute over these Conservative years in years in office? Catch the Conservatives acknowledging that the childcare revolution, the State’s abrogation of parental duty, could be to blame? Never.
Yet what else could be the outcome but Generation Alienation – the disgruntled Y and Z generations – that took up arms behind Mr Corbyn last week?
Alienation and chronic loss of self esteem are the product of neglect. It’s what happens when children’s most basic needs for attachment, love, recognition and stable family life are left unmet. No wonder this is the most conformist, least coping and safest space, snowflake generation of self-harmers and discontents that ever was. Never was a generation so ripe for indoctrination outside a communist state.
This is the slow motion coup d’etat the Left has orchestrated, thanks to the collaboration of what Laura Perrins would call Conservative, cheese eating, surrender monkeys.
Worse is to come. The next election will see Corbyn and his Marxist youth army – educated by Tory taxpayers – ruthlessly pushing their ‘black line’ through the country, destroying every would-be conservative in their path, young and old.
The Conservative Party like Dr Faustus can only dream of their doom until the Devil, whether in the shape of Owen Jones, Michael Heseltine or Ruth Davidson (whose identity politics trump her Conservative Party loyalty), arrives to carry off its soul to hell.
The only hope is that, by then, Nigel Farage will have inspired his own freedom force of swivel-eyed loons to defend capitalism and explain market-based Conservatism to the yoof and reveal the real source of their unhappiness – the horrendous price of social liberalism.
Only he can force the Corbyn momentum back, and then dismantle the increasingly authoritarian and destructive State.