Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeKathy GyngellKathy Gyngell: The Tories are in headlong retreat over the fire

Kathy Gyngell: The Tories are in headlong retreat over the fire


It didn’t take long before the desperate Tories buckled.

No wonder my spare bedroom offer was not good enough. The Danegeld offered by the Tories to stop the Left’s ravages through Downing Street and the leafier streets of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was very, very much higher.

You have already read about it and commented. But for anyone who missed the Tories belated grasp for ‘the narrative’, the homeless survivors of Grenfell are to be allocated apartments in a block of new luxury flats in Kensington High Street. This is thanks to a deal made by the panic-stricken Communities Secretary Sajid Javid. Some of the flats sold privately at a cost of over £8 million, according to a BBC report, are now – 68 of them –  being ‘given away’ for just £10 million in total.

They had been earmarked as affordable homes for the capital’s workers (bad luck to the capital’s nurses, policemen and bus drivers waiting in hope) but who could begrudge the traumatised fire victims who have been through a living hell? No one.

But if Sajid thinks he can now wipe the sweat off his brow, I’d advise to keep plenty of spare tissues at hand. If he thinks this will get either the Tories or the rich off the Left’s hook, he can think again.

How will Corbyn and McDonnell’s Momentum pals react to this rich man’s virtue-signalling exercise of potlatch proportions, does he think ? With gratitude? Or as an open invitation to ‘shame’ Sajid’s property developer friends, so immorally rich they can give away their flats away if they want? That’s my bet. Another outrage train to climb on.

The Tories had better reflect on what next will they will need to do, or offer, to buy off their attackers. They could put up all their conservative principles for grabs – like their belief in an enduring moral order or their adherence to custom,  convention and continuity (except all that went by the wayside long ago). So what about the principle of prudence? Oh dear, that was jettisoned too in favour of faux austerity way back.  But no, it’s OK they still have something left to trade – and here we have it – the link between freedom and property.

Yes, the Tories still have that rabbit to pull out of the hat (not so clear after the ill-fated dementia tax) when they are next put under pressure by the Left.  They can climb on Corbyn’s bandwagon and start seizing the property of those deemed rich.

But I’d advise them to take a lesson from history first. Did buying off the Vikings with 10,000 Roman pounds (3,300 kg) of silver in 991 on the advice of Sigeric the Serious, Archbishop of Canterbury (who else?) stop there?

Of course not.  The Danes, like the Left, never go away. Guess what they came back in greater force in 994 to lay siege to London (sound familiar?).

“They were once more bought off, and the amount of silver paid impressed the Danes with the idea that it was more profitable to extort payments from the English than to take whatever booty they could plunder”

Surprise, surprise. So it went on. The bullies bullied – and the bullied ceded.

“Further payments were made in 1002, and in 1007 Æthelred bought two years’ peace with the Danes for 36,000 troy pounds (13,400 kg) of silver. In 1012, following the capture and murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the sack of Canterbury, the Danes were bought off with another 48,000 troy pounds (17,900 kg) of silver”.

Canute’s final and huge Danegeld of 72,000 troy pounds (26,900 kg) of silver was collected nationally, plus a further 10,500 pounds (3,900 kg) of silver collected from London. Not that many years later the Danes (now Normans) were running the country.

Take heed Tories is all I can say. Better to confront the devil than to appease him.

If, as another commentator on my last post avows, “the Government is giving in to this nonsense because of a great cover up of illegal subletting by people falsely claiming housing benefit while towers of overcrowded flats are full of undocumented immigrants”, they are not just weak but immoral and irresponsible.

New luxury houses given to survivors won’t solve the problem of illegal subletting gangs or those of the hidden population of their exploited tenants.

That, of course, is what Sajid’s mission should be – not praying for another rabbit to pull out of a hat when the Left’s incendiaries next need assuaging.

(Image: Natalie Oxford)

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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