… in which the Conservatives screwed this up.
Or, more specifically, how the Wets screwed this up for us proper Conservatives.
Or, just another post-election stream of consciousness.
There are many reasons why this General Election was such a mess for Theresa May, some of which are down to the effectiveness of the Labour campaign; Maomentum’s efforts to control the narrative were clearly more effective than some of us expected. Even so, this was May’s election to lose and the seeds of that disaster were planted, in some cases, many years before she walked into Number 10.
Let’s start with the recent stuff….
1. The manifesto itself. The so-called ‘dementia tax’ was half-baked (they forgot to turn it over and do the cap until it was too late) and it didn’t need to be in there – they could have just promised a review. The plan to overturn the fox hunting ban was half baked (it was/is to be a free vote) and it didn’t need to be in there. The pledge to continue with the 0.7% Overseas Aid target rather than making cuts on the back of the world’s
Learjet fleets poorest should not have been in there. Then there was the general mood music; yet another lurch away from Thatcherism – the kryptonite of the Wets, even though it won Margaret three elections and is still in the hearts of the ordinary party member – you know, the ones who do the work on the ground.
2. The timing of the manifesto release, just as the postal votes started going out – and which is the Conservative voting demographic that uses a lot of those postal votes? Yeps, Theresa, the older ones. Your core vote, who you just gave a slap to.
3. The snap General Election. After the relief of the 2015 election result and the divisiveness and ill-feeling generated by the referendum (albeit the pain was necessary and the result the right one)., there was no appetite for another bloody election. The voluntary party – beyond those either on the payroll (the MPs) or the promise of one (the Candidates’ list) – weren’t particularly enthusiastic, and that enthusiasm waned further when the manfucksto emerged.
No, she didn’t need to do it. She had three years with what should have been higher priorities – Brexit and the boundaries being just two. Go to the country in May 2019, once Brexit was through Parliament and political business could return to normal.
It was a u-turn. So the other parties were trying to block Brexit? Of course they were dear, you just keep telling yourself that – no-one else believed that pathetic excuse. Of course, she’d have got away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids – Nick Dimothey, Fiona Ill, Ben Dummer…
4. The Budget. Continuing the Osborne tradition, the first port of call when money was tight wasn’t trimming back the Indian Space Programme subsidy. No, it was the self-employed – another of the core vote. Oh, yes, you u-turned on that too didn’t you? Too late.
As if that wasn’t enough, let’s look a little further back….
5. Cameron & Osborne. The party has been paying the political price of seven years of austerity. Except there hasn’t been any; government spending overall has continued upwards. That political price would have been worth paying if, by now, we had a balanced budget and thus some room to make sustainable spending pledges or tax cuts. But no, Cameron and Osborne were of the Blairite political generation to whom the question was not “would this measure work?”, but “how can we make this look good enough to get past tomorrow morning’s media interviews and front pages?”
6. Erosion of the party base. Cameron’s inherent Lib Demism and holstility to his own Eurosceptic party membership led not only to UKIP’s rise, but also apathy and the erosion of the voluntary party. Activists either resigned to get on with life or switched to UKIP. The influx of new members after Cameron left have not all proved to be so active – happy to be members but not so much to pound pavements.
Finally now, we get down to the fundamentals….
7. The March Through the Institutions – and the failure to stop it
Maybe it’s a hard-wired belief that the Civil Service really is politically impartial or that the BBC is the finest broadcaster in the world, or that yet another Leftist-infested quango – whether it’s, say, Ofsted or the Advertising Standards Authority (to pick a random two) – really does have the country’s best interests at heart, rather than being just another vehicle of Common Purpose statism. Maybe those in the position to stop the march just didn’t know how, or found themselves too isolated to fight back. Or maybe the Wets, devoid as they are of any real political conviction, were basically of the same mindset or regarded any warnings of such things as the witterings of swivel eyed fruitcakes.
Whatever, the Leftists’ March Through the Institutions has continued with only minor variations in speed since even the Eighties. Margaret did great things, but she could only do so much (and her tendency towards centralisation ironically played into the Leftists’ hands). The public consciousness, the media narrative, the control of the next generation’s minds and so much more is within their sphere.
We now have our own Deep State. How to drain that swamp and starve the beasts can be the subject of future posts, either by me and/or others here.