Monday, April 15, 2024
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Night of the Tory Living Dead


IT IS with a tremulous heart, gentle reader, that, instructed by our revered editor whom to obey is a pleasure and an honour, I take up my virtual pen and beg to entertain you with the latest Conservative Home cabinet league table.

TCW has been following the progress of these regular polls over the course of four premierships, and the vicissitudes of grassroots support can be traced by those of you motivated to delve into the treasure store which is this site’s archive.

During the later May era, the monthly lists were almost invariably headed by Boris Johnson. During the Johnson era, the pro-Brexit group performed well with Ben Wallace and Liz Truss consistently achieving top marks. Rishi Sunak did well when taking over as Chancellor but his tax-raising policies while self-identifying as a low-tax devotee dished his popularity.

During the interregnum after Johnson’s resignation, Truss came from third place behind Sunak and Penny Mordaunt to land the Prime Minister job with a handsome 15 per cent margin handed to her by the grassroots constituency membership. This according to the parliamentary party was wrong; Truss was summarily overthrown.

Only one detail remains in recapping the story so far and that is to register all the other contenders for that leadership election (because we shall meet some of them below) so here they are in reverse order of their elimination from the contest:

Liz Truss

Rishi Sunak

Penny Mordaunt

Kemi Badenoch

Tom Tugendhat

Suella Braverman

Nadhim Zahawi

Jeremy Hunt

Arguably, Hunt and Zahawi don’t really belong on that list because although they did put themselves forward they failed to get sufficient votes from parliamentary colleagues to get off the starting grid.

So let’s have a quick look at the latest ConHome polling before confronting the question of whether anyone really cares what happens to this cabal of the walking dead. 

Ben Wallace still tops the poll with a significant lead over Kemi Badenoch in second place and James Cleverly, the Foreign Secretary, in third. Will the revelations that the MoD’s spooks were spying on British subjects to prevent wrong-think damage the Defence Secretary’s standing? Does it matter?

At the bottom of the league we have Rishi Sunak and Dominic Raab and below them in negative territory the twitching reincarnation of Andrew Mitchell, the ever-unpopular Jeremy Hunt, Robert Jenrick and Nadhim Zahawi. Hunt has a solid track record of appealing neither to his colleagues on the green benches nor to the ConHome voters. He won’t have many supporters among the readership here either.

There are no doubt some Conservative tribalists who think that there is a future for their party or else they wouldn’t participate in these polls. For everyone else there is the realisation that this lot have proved to have feet of clay, ankles of clay, calves of clay and so on upwards as far as modesty allows and beyond.

The country is in a shocking state and the people responsible accept no shred of guilt, so it will be left to Sir Keir Starmer’s lot to have a stab at making things worse with the electorate largely indifferent to being hanged for a sheep rather than a lamb.

There was a time when the Brexit Party offered an alternative which might not have achieved a parliamentary presence to any significant extent but which could have provided a small voice for an otherwise disenfranchised electorate. But alas, with a name change and under Richard Tice’s vapid leadership, the Reform Party is where the bland and the inoffensive merge into a comfortable realm of nothingness, and his recent contribution to this site reveals a tiny petulant streak to round things off nicely.

Like Labour and the Tories, Tice talks about ‘difficult’ decisions but the decisions are not in themselves difficult at all. Implementation may be hard due to opposition from vocal, well-funded campaigns and vested interests. Certainly, almost any change will disadvantage some people but to be frightened of decisions only contributes to the economic and cultural stagnation of the country.

An example: ministers are apparently powerless to oblige government employees to come into work. Swathes of employment regulation apparently trump the terms of a simple contract of employment and management is hobbled by HR departments in public and private sector alike. The need to rebalance employment law is clear.

Take the NHS – constantly reformed, never improved. The Western world is rife with examples of socialised healthcare systems that are more cost-effective and produce better outcomes, but any move to emulate one of them would be ‘difficult’ and hence best avoided.

Take the Channel illegals: the French rightly hold Britain responsible for acting as a magnet. Where France tolerates encampments until they become too obtrusive as with the Calais ‘Jungle’, Britain spends millions every day on reception centres where the inmates complain about the menu and is hamstrung, nay thwarted, by activist human rights campaigners citing a European Convention which should long ago have been put through the shredder.

Do we expect a humiliating cave-in on the Northern Ireland protocol?

The list of things that no party is willing to touch goes on and on: the Net Zero nonsense and the trans prism through which all of life must now be viewed on behalf of a vanishingly small percentage of the population have us firmly in their grip. 

The point of a general election will be chiefly to get rid of the current lot and replace them with another lot every bit as bad who at least will be happy to dig up selected cadavers. There’s a shred of comfort in knowing that Labour will make public some of what the present government has buried, but behind both lies the permanent administration which will damp down any fires that threaten to become too lively.

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Laurence Hodge
Laurence Hodge
Laurence Hodge is a regular contributor to The Conservative Woman

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