Tuesday 16 January 2024

If the Conservative Party is to lose I would rather it lost badly.


The latest massive poll tells us that the Conservatives may suffer huge losses at the next General Election, yet strangely lots of Conservative voters like me are not particularly despondent. This tells you everything you need to know about where the Conservative Party has gone wrong.

I don’t have much enthusiasm for the Labour Party and will be surprised if it does not make the same mess as previous Labour governments, but what I am hoping for, perhaps unreasonably is that if the Conservatives suffer a sufficiently catastrophic defeat it may emerge as a genuine Conservative party that does not view its own supporters with disdain.

The story begins I think in 2016. British voters were given a vote on membership of the EU. All of the major parties opposed leaving. The media, the Civil Service and the experts all told us that it would be a disaster to leave. But we voted to leave anyway. It was a rebellion not just about the EU, but about British politics and everything that ordinary people thought was going wrong with the country. Did the Conservative Party listen? No.

We ended up with Theresa May as Prime Minister who did her best to deliver Brexit in name only. Not only May but large numbers of Labour and Conservative MPs did their best to stop us leaving the EU. Northern Ireland has still not properly left the EU.

Eventually in 2019 in the European Parliament election which bizarrely we were still taking part in the Brexit Party won 30% of the vote and the Conservatives won just 8%. This led to Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister, but did the Conservatives learn their lesson? No.

Boris Johnson almost miraculously was able to win the General Election in 2019 with 43% of the vote. But the lesson of the European Parliament election was forgotten in the euphoria.

Johnson did manage to get the UK out of the EU, but the next two years were wasted with mask wearing and staying at home and gradually the hope that Conservative voters had in 2019 were disappointed.

Johnson fairly or unfairly found himself having to resign because of scandal, but his legacy was anyway not impressive. He should have stuck with his instincts and kept Britain as open and free as possible during the pandemic. Since then, we have gone through Liz Truss being elected by Conservative members only to be replaced shortly afterwards by Rishi Sunak.

We have all seen our standard of living get worse because of inflation and measures like net zero that are designed to make voters poorer. The economy is in worse shape than in 2019. We are unable to control our borders. More importantly the Conservative government has deliberately opened up those borders by allowing record numbers of people to arrive illegally. The revolution of 2016 was for nothing.

Voters gave the Conservatives another chance in 2019. We gave them a warning in the European election and then backed them in the following General Election, but our votes were pocketed, and the warnings ignored.

People voted for real change in 2016 and viewed the EU as preventing that real change. This was the point of taking back control. It was about gaining a sovereign parliament that was not bossed about by the European Union or judges and which could work in the interest of our own people.

But it is now clear that we need to try revolution once again. The Conservative Party is full of centre left Tory wet Remainers. There is no chance at the moment of getting back the low tax, low spending Thatcherite government that might bring us real prosperity. Instead, the Conservatives spend just as much as Labour and make it harder for us to heat our houses and drive to work.

So, if the Conservatives won’t learn their lesson, perhaps it is time for a lesson so large that they won’t be able to ignore it. If people like Jeremy Hunt lose their seats. If all those patrician Tory wets who like to look down on us as they deplore our voting for Brexit and opposing the gradual transformation of our country, if they all lose their seats, then just maybe something better might arise.

I’m not in the business of telling anyone how to vote. It depends on where you live, who your MP is and what your goals are. In parts of Scotland, it will be sensible to vote Conservative in order to defeat the SNP. In parts of England and Wales there may well be Conservative MPs worth saving.

But it’s not up to me and it’s not up to you. It’s up to the whole country. It looks very much as if Labour will win a majority because for the first time in a decade it may win in Scotland. Well to be honest if the Conservatives are to be defeated anyway, I would much prefer them to be defeated to the fullest extent possible.

We have just like in the European elections in 2019 a free vote. If the Conservatives lose by thirty or forty seats, they will carry on as before and we will have the same wet mush next time. If they lose catastrophically, they will have to listen this time to the revolt.

So, I would be very tempted to use my vote at the next election to send a message to the Conservative party. We are going to get a Labour government no matter what we do, so let’s this time continue our rebellion. 

If the Conservative Party is to lose I would rather it lost badly.

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