LORD Frost is everywhere at the minute. After a wonderful interview on the Irreverend podcast – a superb YouTube channel run by three Church of England vicars that is well worth checking out if you haven’t done already – he was afforded a double-page spread as his introduction as a new Telegraph columnist, detailing his views on how to save the Tory Party and the country.
Listening to and reading his views was a tonic for the conservative soul. Starting with the Irreverend podcast, he spoke for millions of lapsed Anglicans when he stated that he accepted the Christian interpretation of the Universe, but was put off from the Anglican Church itself due to the attitudes prevalent in the hierarchy.
Turning to more secular matters in the Telegraph, he articulated superbly what so many conservatives hoped for from Johnson’s sorry excuse for an administration.
However, Frost made one telling and highly significant error, when he talked about ‘the historic genius of the Conservative Party: To bring together the maximum amount of political and economic freedom with a belief in our country, what it stands for, its cohesion, and our collective solidarity’.
No, Lord Frost – the historic genius of the Tory Party is to coldly look after its own interests at any cost. It is the oldest and most successful party in Western political history because of its ruthless opportunism. It is the ultimate Vicar of Bray, preferring to go with the flow of events rather than lead them, to see which way the wind is blowing rather than to make the weather.
As such, Brexit was always far too courageous, noble and revolutionary a moment in British history to be entrusted to a party whose instincts never extend beyond the shortest of short-term electoral calculation. It was simply something to ‘get done’ and move on, rather than a sea change in British politics and society.
Such Brexit-related reform the Tories do offer us is based firmly in the kind the liberal metropolitan elitists who run the party are more comfortable with, namely economic deregulation and trade deals.
These are no bad things in themselves, of course, as Lord Frost also points out – but next to worthless unless accompanied by the large-scale social transformation that Britain, in common with every Western democracy, is to make if it is to survive.
Again, and much to his credit, Lord Frost tackles some of these themes, most notably stating: ‘We must also be ready to insist that people who come here to live permanently should be committed to this country and determined to make it a success – to build a more cohesive Britain. This may require some difficult choices.’
Although he doesn’t explicitly mention the ‘I’ word, it is pretty obvious what he means here – namely that we simply cannot keep inviting people, largely but not exclusively from the Islamic world, who come from cultures whose intellectual traditions and customs are antithetical to Western ones, if we want our culture to survive.
However, it is on the issue of the Northern Irish Protocol that his words are arguably most painful when judged against the awful reality of this government’s pathetic cowardice and inaction. On no other pressing area is Tory ruthlessness, cynicism and contempt towards the people of these isles more apparent.
Now that it has served its purpose, the Democratic Unionist Party and Ulster unionists generally – who overwhelmingly voted Brexit – are left hanging in the wind to twist, with Sinn Fein now highly likely to storm the May elections to the devolved assembly.
In other words, the Tories’ main political legacy of Brexit is to hand victory to a party associated well within living memory with hideous anti-British sectarian atrocities.
It seems the probable Tory policy is simply to continue to kick the can down the road. After a Sinn Fein triumph, it will then talk of the ‘changed realities of the political situation’ to come to a sorry compromise with the EU, leaving the protocol all but unchanged.
From the point of view of Boris’s selfish personal calculation, to do so would also make perfect sense: There are few if any votes to be lost in doing so, and it would allow him to rebuild the bridges he burned with the liberal elites after backing Brexit.
After all, no group of people are further away culturally than socially conservative Ulster unionists are from the metropolitan dinner party set whose approval Johnson so clearly craves.
And those same elites particularly thirst for revenge on the DUP for being instrumental in getting Brexit over the line. Moreover, with part of the UK left firmly in the grip of Brussels, Brexit itself will be crippled. No doubt all that would keep Carrie Antoinette happy.
Plainly, Lord Frost is likely to prove a great success as a Telegraph columnist, and a wider career in the media surely beckons (GB News, anyone?). His missives will show us what conservativism could and should be.
But while he continues to make the mistake so common amongst those pundits with passionately-held conservative beliefs – namely that because they have convictions, the Tory party must share them – both he and we are likely to remain feeling frustrated and betrayed.
Each night we may go to sleep dreaming that one day the party may follow his advice, or that he may even run for office himself. But each day we wake up to find ourselves lying next to the same diseased Tory whore (as the ex-Conservative minister and historian Alan Clark described his own party) as we have done now for more than 300 years.
Join Reform, Lord Frost, join Reform.