The shade of Margaret Thatcher must be wailing. Though this time she is in harmony with those of Ted Heath, Macmillan and every Conservative Chancellor since the war. Right now all those storied ghosts must be looking at the party they once served in complete despond. The question of their lips is the same. What is the Conservative Party for? And should the party still exist at all?
Since WWII the country has been governed by a centre right party for more than 2/3rds of the time. At heart the UK is a centre right country. Labour and its varying degrees of socialism when it does get in, does not get in because people are particularly enthusiastic about their plans but because the then Conservative Government has run out of steam, belief ideas and the will to live. Right now that is what is happening.
This is a vital question as we move into the final year of this Government’s existence.
Traditionally and in the eyes of the country at large and their supporters the Conservative Party represents the country. They represent its traditions, its heritage, its self belief, and its ability to blunder on, just being Britain.
To do this it has always been and perceived to be a party of lower taxes, fear regulations, smaller Government, secure borders, law and order, pro-business and entrepreneurship and a strong defence.
But recent polling tells a different story, that perception has vanished. Despite the fact that every single Labour Government has put up taxes, it is also a fact that this supposedly Conservative Government has put up taxes higher and faster than any Labour Government. So it can hardly be a surprise that a new poll has shown that though 42% think Labour would lead to higher taxes 52% believe the same of the Government. Depressingly despite the Labour leader saying on the record he could raise taxes - a brave thing to do in election year - more people, 77% think the Tories will do just that, than Labour, at 62%.This is despite the Tories floating all sorts of tax cutting measure in the future. Voters believe Sir Keir Starmer is more likely to cut taxes than Rishi Sunak, poll reveals | The Sun
On immigration, despite Labours constantly soft approach to illegal immigration the fact that the Tories have used tough rhetoric but have presided over the highest ever migration figures to the UK in history (making the Vikings look like daytrippers) has resulted in only 21% thinking the Tories will deal with the problem best compared to 29% for Labour. The horrifying truth is only 50% believe that either of them can handle it shows the deep despair in the country at large.
Go on through the areas of policy and again and again the Tories are in fact doing the opposite of what anybody thinks they should be doing or indeed what they promised they would be doing when they were elected.
So I ask again what is the point of them. Right now more and more people honestly cannot see the difference between the parties. Those on the centre right are despairing even more. Recent by-elections have not seen any great surge in support for the Labour opposition or its policies. More a great turning to the wall of the Tory supporters, 40/50% of those who voted for Boris and the Conservatives in 2019 are now saying they will notary be voting for them again.
Right now though the country is at heart centre right, the party purporting to be so just isn’t. The threat posed by the party I provide consultancy to, Reform UK, is being recognised, in terror, by the Conservative Party high command, but with a resigned shrug of the shoulders by their erstwhile supporters. Reform UK, if it continues its rise in the polls, has the potential of causing the loss of well over 100 seats by taking between 10 and 12% of the vote.
When speaking to people up and down the country one thing I hear more than any other at the prospects of the Conservative Party being reduced to a rump of under 50 seats (in a 650 seat Parliament) is, “So what, what does it matter?'' It's not that people want Labour to win, but more that they dont care if the Tories lose, and lose so big that they effectively cease to exist.
Of course if that happens, for the first time in memory, possibly the first time since the end of the 19th century there is the possibility of a new party of the right. A party not corrupted by power and compromise, a party not captured by a progressive elite, in toto, a party that actually represents the natural centre right majority of the country.
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