Self-importance threatens Tory victory


Self-importance threatens Tory victory

With the Party ahead in the polls, the only serious threat to the Conservatives winning the next election is division among its ranks. If the Party’s mutinous backbenchers overcome their self-importance they may just win the next election says Peter Bingle.

By any standards this has been a crazy year in Westminster. Yet it would appear that all the frenzy in the House of Commons has left most voters stone cold. Despite showing every sign of being the most incompetent government in living memory the PM ends the year more popular than Comrade Corbyn and the Tories are ahead in the polls. These are indeed strange times.

Despite almost daily government cock-ups and vicious and consistent ministerial infighting the Tory Party has basically stayed around 40 per cent in most opinion polls commissioned since June’s disastrous general election. One reason is the collapse of the UKIP vote, most of which has defected to the Tories. Another is the hard-left nature of Her Majesty’s Opposition which genuinely scares many ordinary middle of the road voters. Perhaps there is a more obvious reason – voters have simply switched off. After the needless EU referendum and the pointless general election they have decided (understandably) that they have done enough politics until 2022.

British politics is going through a bad patch. The big beasts have mostly left the stage. The calibre of the current House of Commons is, with a few exceptions (my mates!), shockingly bad. It is an oasis of mediocrity and dullness. Has there ever been a more lightweight Cabinet or a more terrifying but also low calibre Opposition? The answer is a very firm ‘NO!’

The irony is that for all its hopelessness the Tory Party remains on course to win a comfortable overall majority at the next general election. The recent Budget by ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ hasn’t unravelled and indeed has started the process of regaining for his party a reputation for economic competence, something which is completely beyond the very scary John McDonnell. Thanks to Gavin Barwell (one of the Tory Party’s few stars) the government is finally focusing on trying to sort out the mess that is the housing market. Helping young people get on the housing ladder (either through PRS or home ownership) will be a key plank of the next Tory election campaign.

There is talk of a major ministerial reshuffle in January. The PM needs to assert her authority and sack ministers at every level who have demonstrated a quite worrying trait for being totally useless. There needs to be a radical education agenda which is not afraid to praise excellence, extol the benefits of parental choice and supports parents who are prepared to make huge sacrifices to pay to send their children to independent schools.

On that last point when was the last time a Tory Minister publicly praised and endorsed the independent sectors in both education and health? Quite shocking …

The Tory Party in the country resembles in many areas the political equivalent of a corpse. It has literally expired. Nobody knows where the current Tory Party Chairman is hiding. Does he actually exist? Yet there has never been a time when the role was more important. Why hasn’t the PM sacked Patrick McLoughlin?

The only serious threat to the Tories winning the next election is the stupidity of a small number of Tory MPs who take themselves far too seriously. If proof was ever needed, it was the decision of eleven Tory MPs to vote with Corbyn and his comrades and defeat the PM in a key Brexit vote just as she was about to attend a critical EU Summit. Never trust a former minister whose political career is behind them when they talk about putting country before party. They wouldn’t have been saying that when they were desperate to climb up the greasy political pole! Sheer humbug!!!

So, the end of a totally bonkers year. The Labour Party should be twenty points ahead in the polls but instead the Tories have a slight lead. So as Tory MPs return to their constituencies for Christmas they would do well to take Michael Winner’s advice and ‘Calm Down!’  If they do and start acting like sensible politicians they will win the next general election. Happy Christmas…

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  • Peter Bingle
    Peter Bingle
    Peter is the Founder of Terrapin Communications. With a career in politics and communications that has spanned almost four decades, he is one of the country's leading public affairs practitioners. His career has seen him advise many top companies, including McDonald’s, HSBC, L’Oreal, Permira, Motorola, Camelot, Rolls Royce & Kellogg's.
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