JUST when you thought the Tories could not become any more out of touch with public opinion, along comes David Davis MP on Twitter. Davis was holding forth on Shamina Begum, the so-called jihadi bride who left the UK to join ISIS and who, having apparently seen the error of her ways, is now intent on regaining her British citizenship.
Before hearing from Mr Davis, it ought to be noted that at Begum’s citizenship appeal, an MI5 officer told the tribunal that she knew exactly what she was doing when she had travelled to Syria in 2015 to join Islamic State. Begum’s lawyers claim the then 15-year-old had been groomed by the terrorist group. What is beyond dispute is that Begum freely joined a group which had committed a catalogue of atrocities. As well as beheading hostages including James Foley, David Haines, and Alan Henning, Isis had also committed genocide against the Yazidi minority in Iraq. Unsurprisingly, public opinion was that Begum fully deserved to have her British citizenship revoked.
Not according to David Davis MP, who tweeted recently that the UK should repatriate Begum, adding that allies such as Germany, France and the US are doing exactly this, i.e. repatriating nationals who have joined terrorist groups. But it’s Davis’s gloriously unaware justification for jumping on this dubious bandwagon that is worth ruminating upon: ‘We risk being an outlier on the international stage.’
That one sentence just about summarises the British political class and especially the modern ‘Conservative’ Party. For Davis seems not too concerned about the security risk posed by returning jihadists like Begum and countless others; rather he is troubled about optics. What will the neighbours think? In the rarefied world of politics and power, what really matters is perception.
A substantial majority of the British public might be opposed to the repatriation of Begum, but Mr Davis’s party has far more important considerations than voters: the Conservatives are terrified of incurring the wrath of left-wing charities and NGOs and, even worse, of upsetting the BBC, an organisation that has become the de facto PR agent for Begum. I’m not a Monster: The Shamima Begum Story broadcast by BBC Radio 5 Live in August will no doubt be only one of a series of highly sympathetic programmes
It’s the same dynamic with any number of issues. From the Channel migrant crossings to the climate ‘emergency’ and reparations for slavery, the Tories will always follow the path of least resistance, that set out by the BBC and other proxies of the ‘international global order’.
Certainly, should Davis and his colleagues dare to cross this powerful clique – should they come out against Begum’s repatriation – there will be trouble ahead, not least in the form of BBC onslaughts. Just ask Truss, Braverman or Patel. Indeed, Tory ministers are acutely aware that standing up for the public against the power brokers is tantamount to an act of career suicide. BBC smears can linger long enough to seriously affect not only ministerial longevity, but post-political career earning power too.
The Shamima Begum saga is not the only issue currently illustrating how far the Tories have drifted away from reality. Days before Davis’s espousal, Simon Clarke MP tweeted about the housing crisis.
The MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland diagnosed the reason for what he termed the Tory Party’s ‘collapsing vote’ in London. The case for Conservatism can’t be made, according to Clarke, ‘if you can’t afford to buy or even rent’.
Clarke seemed to be implying that lack of housebuilding in the capital has led to the current mess. It’s a line that has become somewhat of a Tory mantra: keep building millions more homes and problem sorted. The elephant in the room which Clarke and his colleagues will never dare discuss concerns the massive pressure on housing stock from mass immigration. In the case of London, according to Macrotrends.net, when the Tory party came to power in 2010 London’s population stood at just over 8million. By 2022 that figure had risen to 9.5million. Could the demand induced by mass immigration have anything to do with the capital’s housing crisis? According to figures just released, UK net immigration stands at more than 500,000 annually. Do the Tories intend to keep building cities the size of Liverpool each year ad infinitum? It appears so.
Ever mindful of upsetting the BBC, the Tories prefer the ostrich approach – ignore, pretend, divert. There is one reality that every Conservative politician accepts: should one of their number ever dare turn back a single dinghy as per the wishes of the British electorate, the British Broadcasting Corporation would crucify that individual in perpetuity. Life could become intolerable for such a cruel-hearted minister.
As for David Davis, his BBC-approved tweet received a tsunami of critical and angry responses. Not that public opinion is likely to deter the Sunak-supporting Davis and his party from their objectives, be it the repatriation of Begum or concreting over ever more of the British countryside.
After all, the priority here is not the safety and security of British citizens. The priorities of David Davis MP and Simon Clarke MP are those of the entire political class, Tory and Labour – staying on the right side of the ‘international global order’, aka self-preservation. When you exist in the Westminster-Whitehall bubble and wish to remain a part of it, life is so much easier when you don’t rock the boat, let alone send it back across the Channel.
To cap it all, the party of profligacy – the party that has wasted billions of pounds of taxpayer money on vanity projects such as Test and Trace, Ukraine and Net Zero – has just agreed to squander yet more billions on ‘climate reparations’.
But that’s okay, because our partners on the ‘international stage’, whose sensitivities appear to occupy David Davis’s thoughts so much, approve wholeheartedly of such measures. Squandering taxpayer money to look good on the international stage is just fine with the political class.
‘Life’s going to get very tough for ordinary people’ is the message from Chancellor Jeremy Hunt. ‘But on the plus side the optics do look very good.’
Has the ‘Conservative’ Party ever been so distant, so out of touch with its base? With polls indicating the Tories are some 25 points behind Labour and with Richard Tice’s Reform Party gathering momentum, the Tories face not just defeat but annihilation at the next General Election. It can’t come soon enough.