Gosh, it’s depressing watching the natural party of government committing slow-motion suicide. It’s depressing even if you’re not, as I am, an instinctive and more or less lifelong Conservative. What it means is that Britain is on the verge of losing its most effective, tried-and-tested prophylactic against the misery of socialism. Sure, there are lots of other parties competing to perform this function: Ukip; the Brexit party; the SDP; For Britain. But will any of them be able to do enough to avert the dread possibility of a regime led by Jeremy Corbyn?
Let me first explain why I know that the Conservatives are doomed. It’s not so much to do with their sabotage of Brexit, appalling though that has been, as it is with what they’re promising to do if and when Theresa May ever goes.
‘We need to get back to explaining our One Nation Tory approach,’ announces Boris Johnson in his Telegraph column, as if this were some cunning wheeze no one had thought of for ages. Except, so too have most of the other leadership contenders including Michael Gove, Amber Rudd and Jeremy Hunt — and for obvious reasons. One Nation Toryism suggests you’re in favour of peace rather than war, unity rather than division, kittens with sparkly ribbons round their necks rather than savage devil dogs with sharp fangs, racist tendencies and rabies.
Boris goes on in his article to define One Nation Toryism as being about ‘the vital symmetry between great public services and a dynamic free market economy’. Yes. This is what Tony Blair called The Third Way; what his heir David Cameron called The Big Society or ‘sharing the proceeds of growth’; and what Boris, were he the more frank entertainer he used to be, would call ‘nihil novi sub sole’.
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