The Conservative Party is far from down and out….

At the beginning of Layer Cake, the narrator informs us that “It is only very, very stupid people who think the law is stupid.” Similarly in politics, it is only stupid people who think the Conservative Party, taken as a collective whole, is stupid. Granted, given the current ruling circus that is hard to remember this sometimes but any political Party is so much more than its ruling group. As a whole, the Conservative Party, has an unquenchable thirst for power and is often very adept at maintaining it even when the chips are down and the situation looks beyond retrieval. It showed this in the early-90s when despite the trauma of Margaret Thatcher’s untimely exit, the poll tax riots and a Labour poll lead that lasted 3 whole years, it still won the 1992 General Election. Adaptability and a strong survival instinct sustain it, in fact, when it loses that it is vulnerable but the current Conservative Party is nowhere near that kind of complacency as yet.

Given all this I was somewhat surprised to hear Ed Miliband announce the demise of the government in the pages of The Observer. Ignoring the fact that Ed’s choice of words is poor, to say the least, following on from Bradford West, it also totally underestimates the opposition and confuses a personal crisis for David Cameron with a generalised crisis for the governing Party. Of course, one can become the other but that all depends on how long the Conservatives are prepared to tolerate Cameron’s presence poisoning their well.

Cameron and Cameronism, such as it is, has a similar kind of awkward relationship with the Conservatives that Blair and Blairism had with Labour. However, Camerons’ electoral record is vastly inferior to Blairs’ so the chances of it sinking deep roots are pretty non-existent. Even a casual visitor to Conservative Home can tell you that the Conservatives are not ‘Camerons’ Party’. Culturally the ‘Cameroons’, as they are sociologically speaking from the numerically tiny aristocratic wing of the Party, are viewed with a weary eye by many a true-blue Conservative. This is reflected in the virtual unanimity now of the Conservative-supporting press, from the Daily Telegraph to The Sun, in questioning Cameron and seeking to undermine his authority. Obviously, there is internal dissent, how else did the Daily Telegraph acquire the recently leaked memo about the horribly botched ‘Thatcher moment’?

This is a crisis yes, but a very personal one to the Prime Minister and his ruling circle. Furthermore, its worth noting that mid-term crises do not equate to automatic opposition wins. During the fuel crisis in 2000, for example, I genuinely cannot remember any leading Conservative being daft enough to tell their activists to go back to their gold-plated coffee tables and prepare for power. Plenty of time exists for the Conservatives to divest themselves of the gangrenous and highly toxic Cameroons and reinvent themselves or else go to the country with that special new leader spring in their step.

Looking at the potential replacements for Mr Cameron, should he fall, the name that leaps off the paper is David Davis. If Davis doesn’t want the top job then one wonders why he resigned as Shadow Home Secretary when he could have stayed and now been at the top table. One suspects he sees himself as Thatcher’s heir and rightful leader and Prime Minister and has never forsaken his ambition to be as such. He has been noticeable by his media presence of late and indeed emerged today to criticise government proposals to further monitor email and web use.

No doubt he will have learned the lesson taught by previous pretenders to the Tory throne and won’t want to wield the knife himself (they never end up wearing the crown) but will be happy to let us, the media, and others do it for him. This would not be good news for Labour because Davis is at least twice the politician Cameron is and would be well-received by the British public I would imagine. Of course, the transition would see us develop exciting poll leads which would make our heart quicken. The leadership will probably continue to behave like a teenager on their first acid trip and lose themselves in a narcotic-induced haze but eventually we will be in for a very long and hard come down onto the rocks of political reality; that reality being that the Conservative Party is very much alive and kicking and definitely not down and out.


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5 responses to “The Conservative Party is far from down and out….”

  1. representingthemambo says :

    Reblogged this on Representing the Mambo and commented:
    An interesting post from an interesting Blogger. I’ll address some of the issues he raises tomorrow. The only point I would make off the top of my head is that although David Davis clearly harbours hopes of a political comeback, I think his positions on civil liberties are deeply held and sincere. His track record on the issue is very consistent. Many of his other views are singularly loathsome, but on civil liberties I’m with him all the way.


  2. John reid says :

    Representingthemambo, Regarding David Davis and civil liberties Yes he has a dislike of CCTV, he’s kept very quiet when the tories go back on issue after Isuue on ASbO’s or Email interception, Plus, The tories on A whole had a very oppurtunistist view on Liberties like getting rid of the protesters in APrlaiment square while backiong JAcqui Smith retracting the Arrested fro saying hte names of the war dead Outside PArliament street,

    DAvid was also factually wrong when He sadi Walter wolfagang was Detained and arrested after hwckling Jack straw at the LAobur conference in 2005, Yes it was wrong of private secutrity (working for free) for removing him from the conference,but that was nothing to do with the police, Wolfgang was Given a stop and account form (a voluntary form where he could have walked away anytime he wanted too)where the police officer had to account for his own actions in explaining why it was upto private secutirty who they admitted or not,

    Stop and account forms were introduced after the Mcpheron report,the Libdems wanted 2 other retractions of policy introduced after the Mcpherson report the idea “that any incident has to be treated as a racist incident if anyone say’s it is” and the end to double jeopardy.

    Davis view on other civil liberty issues is also suspect, he supprts teh death penalty thinks that tube drivers shouldn’t be able to strike. etc. and his view that it was Health and safety laws that pervented Police officers from showing bravery during the riots and going into dangerous situations, also shows a alck of understanding, Police sahould have to follow health and safety laws, weshouldn’t expect them to sacrifice their lives if asitation is too dangerous and they haven’t got the right number of men or protective equipment and Police chiefs shouldn’t expect police to put themselves in dangerous situtaions either, as the polcie chief would have t face a corporate manslaughter charge if they did send a cop in a dangerous situation and the P.C died without the right protective equipment.

    Good article other wise Darrell, The tories did win the ecenomic social arguments of the 80’s they were wrong on Selling council homes dirt cheap without replacing them,something labour never changed in the 13 years,
    the Tories were wrong on apartied, Section 28 ,fox hunting among other things, their view that Poverty tripling in the 80’s was nothing to do with crime doubling, yet Now both Ken clarke and Boris have said that crime fell in the mid 90’s not due to Michal Howards prison works or that crime is rising now not due to his police cuts ,but the change in crime rates was due to ecenomic times.

    The tories problem is that where It’s till thatchers party ecenomiclaly, and that the tories were A one nation party for the 50’s and 60’s the tories are desperate to show they’ve changed on issue of race poverty and gender, Yet gestures like Gay marriage don’t prove that they’re sincere about religous intolerance, I personally feel that the tories said how indescriminate section 44 stops (suspision of terror activicty) were after 7/7 yet they’re letting the police use more Section 60 searches ( stop anoyone at a train station as they may be a tooled up football hooligan )(legislation introduced 1996)


    • representingthemambo says :

      I agree that his politics are extremely inconsistent, being a civil libertarian in the Conservative Party is a contradiction in terms of course!

      In terms of the wider issues the post raises, I think the original argument that the Conservatives are first and foremost a party of power is true…….. up to a point. Certainly it was true before Thatcher was elected leader. The entire history of the party is a series of volte-faces and adaptations to the prevailing ideological climate.

      I’m not so sure any more though. It was something I discussed a few months back ( ) but I think something in their collective DNA has altered, and you see it in the behaviour of this administration.

      For eample,the NHS privatization is deeply damaging for them politically but in this case ideology (and no small amount of corporate lobbying) has trumped electoral expediency.

      As you say one gets the feeling that Cameron has been tolerated, not loved, so far, and the backwoodsmen would certainly move against him if they thought he was going to cost them the election. Right now though I see no one in the party capable of challenging Cameron and Osborne (who lest we forget thinks that he will handed the keys to number 10 in due course) and the only reason that Davis is even being discussed is that he is literally the only one with the stature to challenge the Cameroons.

      I still think that the Tories can win the next election outright, sadly, although that will have a lot to do with the failings of Labour.


  3. darrellgoodliffe says :

    Thanks representing 🙂 I think your right John about the inherent tensions within the Conservative Party….i very much agree with you about Davis in many ways too, I think hes sincere but I see the stances you mention as somewhat contradictory to his support for civil liberties….


  4. John reid says :

    When Labour brought in Trial without jury ,which 10 years alter was only used once, when A trial had twice collapsed over A fraud Bank robbery at Hathrow airport, I recall David davis up in arms at trial without Jury, the Tories now want to make more offences triable at Majistrates court without the Jury system of the Crown court, so the Majistrate judge can decied whether the person up for the prosecution is guilty or not and Alot of people who can’t afford a lawyer will pead guilty for things like theft street robbery ABH, I Despise Michael Mansfield QC but for once hes’ right about this at the guardian, Similar the Tories in not dragging the name through the dirt of those arreseted of Rape ,before they’ve been found guilty or inncoent, SAme as not keeping Inncoence DNA’ on record.


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