While the political Right is enjoying something of a renaissance across Europe (Giorgia Meloni’s victory in Italy, Marine Le Pen’s great advances in France, and Jimmie Åkesson’s meteoric rise in Sweden), ironically in Britain, 12 years of ‘conservative’ government hasn’t translated into anything even vaguely resembling a conservative agenda. A major contributing factor to that is the blunt refusal of the Conservative Party to live up to its name. Now, tragedy has descended into farce, with Liz Truss resigning just 44 days after being selected by the Tory membership to pursue an agenda of debt-financed tax cuts in Number 10. Trussonomics is now dead and will likely be superseded by something even less conservative.
Truth be told, there hasn’t been a whiff of conservatism about the Tories since Thatcher—the Party having somehow managed to survive the post-Blair years drunk on a cocktail of first-past-the-post, the stranglehold of the two-party system, inept opposition, and perhaps most importantly, being a Labour government in all but name. In fact, despite Brexit and a continued right-wing mandate from the electorate, Britain bears all the hallmarks of the far-Left government it so emphatically eschewed in 2019—inflation through the roof, open borders, record debt, and woke nonsense infecting the very pillars of society.
The electorate’s patience is understandably all but exhausted. Fifty percent of 2019 Conservative voters have already been lost, and Labour are comfortably 20-30 points clear in the polls, with or without Starmer at the helm. Whether through obduracy or incompetence (choose your poison), Johnson’s Tories have criminally squandered an 80-seat majority, breaking or failing to deliver almost every pledge in the 2019 manifesto: no tax rises, pension triple lock, forty new hospitals, and the scrapping of HS2 (although in fairness, good riddance on that score).
Facing inevitable electoral oblivion, in an odd way this affords the political Right a rare opportunity. With absolutely no chance of keeping Labour out of Number 10 (nor any possibility that they could prove worse), the nation finally has the opportunity to bury the Tories once and for all, and unite behind a genuine conservative coalition.
Beyond the narrow corridors of Westminster, there is most definitely an appetite for traditional values—the beating heart of Britain remains a conservative one; Brexit proved that. Lord Ashcroft’s analysis of the referendum demonstrates that two conservative principles were behind the vote: sovereignty (49%) and security (33%). Johnson could have taken full advantage, had both he and the Party not been sailing under false colours. Instead, they chose to be the least conservative when they were strongest, which means to all intents and purposes, the Conservative Party is now a waste of time.
Just taking sovereignty and security in isolation, the electorate couldn’t have been more betrayed. What use is a points-based immigration system, when the Home Office express check-in begins as a skinny dip in the shallows of Calais, and ends in a five-star stately home in Blighty? What benefit is sovereignty, when you vote conservative and get Labour open borders, high taxes and record debt regardless? To illustrate the point, 73% of Britons see illegal entry to the UK via the Channel as a serious issue, 78% want serious foreign criminals deported, and the same number think the government is doing a bad job. For years now, the Home Office has made all the right noises, but done precious little; clearly, we are not getting our money’s worth.
If the British people are to get a genuinely conservative Party, they may need to build it themselves. First of all, a fair bit of ego is going to have to be taken out of the equation. Whatever combination of Nigel Farage, Richard Tice, Neil Hamilton, and Laurence Fox shows up to talk, and whichever banner they incorporate, they are going to have to stop squabbling and work together.
Secondly, any prospective right-wing coalition needs to be brutally honest with the electorate, and deliver precisely what they promise. The nation is bankrupt, unsecure, and riddled with crime. Any serious new Party, therefore, must appreciate the need for triage—as virtuous as Net Zero, men who think they are women, and talk of ‘white privilege’ or ‘patriarchy’ may sound, they need to be shelved for the time being.
Some of the good priorities to begin with would be immigration, policing and energy. Britain needs to leave the European Court of Human Rights immediately, hamstrung as it has been in its meek attempts to remove dangerous foreign criminals. All illegal immigrant vessels must be turned around and towed back to France—Australia stopped the boats, and we can too. Furthermore, we can perform a reverse Dunkirk while we’re at it, and drop off the 35,000 illegals languishing in stately homes and four-star hotels across the country—they are not our responsibility, and we cannot afford them.
The police are now an openly political institution, and are failing to enforce the law. There needs to be a root and branch cull of woke police chiefs, and a return to old-fashioned coppers who don’t mind getting their hands dirty—not on Twitter, not dealing with ‘hate incidents,’ but walking the streets, employing stop and search, and keeping the public safe.
Finally, it is an absolute must that Britain bites the bullet and becomes energy self-sufficient. We sit on vast supplies of untapped shale gas—a careful exploration of which must be preferable to being held to ransom by hostile powers and crippling tariffs.
A new Party should go to the public with this simple mandate, and promise to make real inroads within the first year. The next general election is already lost, even without Liz Truss at the helm, but it should still be possible to sow the seeds in preparation to succeed Labour within four years. If a genuine will to unite can be found, there is no reason why Britain should not prosper under an authentic Conservative Party. Let’s demand a return on our votes, and bury the Tories once and for all.