THE days are passing. The big 50 is looming and Kim May is still in situ. And I am suffering from a severe bout of Conservative Party politics fatigue, not helped by my attending an event entitled The Future of the Party Live last night.
There was very little that was alive about it. The panellists chosen by the Telegraph to inspire or reassure their invited audience were James Cleverly, Liz Truss, Victoria Atkins, Matt Hancock and Dominic Raab, and they failed – abysmally. They simply didn’t impress. Only Liz Truss amongst was forthright enough to give a yes or no answer when asked, and even then not always. The rest dithered horribly.
They had between them a pretty slippery grip on what Conservatism meant or why they were conservatives. Poor Matt Hancock was a total muddle of contradictory thoughts and clichés. James Cleverly and Victoria Atkins just waffled as one audience member brutally told them.
All invoked the free market; never mind that Victoria Atkins’s version was the government using taxpayers’ money – £20million or maybe a hundred – to play the stock market to raise cash for yes, another state-sponsored venture. None concerned themselves with the condition of self-discipline and responsibility on which the free market rests and which comes from a shared sense of belonging and national identity.
Nor did they consider the state’s role (their own government’s) in undermining the very institutions that support those values – namely marriage and the family – in favour of its support for interventionist identity politics and deference to leftism. As to the costly collapse of the social fabric of their socially liberal ‘progressive’ policies – not least out-of-control crime – it was not addressed.
None appeared aware of the huge contradiction between their free market clichés and the reality of an evermore authoritarian state that their party has fostered.
Most startlingly, in this of all weeks, they expressed little sense of urgency needed about the catastrophic collapse of support for their party in the run-up to the EU elections and its likely devastation. They might as well have sat and sung ‘I feel pretty’.
Get Brexit through, over and done with, as if an inoculation to be booked, seemed their attitude, then they could get on with spending taxpayers’ money slightly better – a few tweaks here and there – than before. Not forgetting the million of homes they’d build, but quite forgetting the millions more demanded by current levels of immigration.
The scale of anger among Tory Party members, published in a poll conducted by Conservative Voice well before they took their seats on the podium, might have told them that it is not quite so simple.
Asked who they would vote for at the next General Election, only four per cent of the poll said the Tories, and a staggering 90 per cent said Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party — rising to 95 per cent for Thursday’s European elections. Of the 1,300 respondents, 77 per cent said the current Conservative Party no longer represents their views. The huge hands-up in favour of voting for Farage last night’s event indicated similar intentions for the EU elections and showed the gulf between the panel and the audience.
Yet when asked by a questioner whether given her successive failures over Brexit it would be better to replace Mrs May immediately with an interim leader, James Cleverly was uncharacteristically emphatic. No, he said. Why? Because we need someone who can push Brexit through. We have an interim leader to do that. It is Mrs May.
I rest my case on the closed and limited minds of the modern Conservative Party and predict we have many days yet to count before the Toppling of Theresa May.
Today is Day 47 . . .