Self-importance threatens Tory victory

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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.
    • getahead

      Not sure about self-importance but failure to achieve a clean Brexit will see the Tories trashed at the next election.

    • DAWWolds

      The eleven Conservative MPs who voted against the Government recently seem to be letting their egos get in the way of their brains [if they have any!]

    • Malcolm Stevas

      Why does the author describe the EU referendum as “needless”? He merely asserts this, without adducing any reasoning or evidence. His apparent support for the Conservative Party is futile if he is genuinely unaware how far at odds with much long-term Tory sentiment his dismissal of the referendum is. This might be said to sum up my having declined to vote Tory since the early ’90s, and I dare say it applies to a great many others too. Don’t bet on most of that UKIP vote having defected to the Tories, either…

      • Mojo

        Quite right. This Parliament is full of less than mediocre MPs. Not to mention an even worse HoL.

        I changed my vote to UKIP in 2010 because Cameron did not speak to me on any level. The Tories no longer hold strong conservative policies and the fact that Mrs May tries very hard to a job she really shouldn’t have has just sealed their future. Unless they can stop the rot from the top down and actually let the grassroots membership elect their candidates and their leader most Tories will probably vote for their local Independent candidate.

        UKiP is quietly regrouping and Henry Bolton is doing a grand job of touring the membership associations, creating a solid foundation for us all to campaign on next year and pulling all departments into shape. We have no money to speak of but I am sure that will not stop us. Our membership is already increasing again and I suspect with the Labour Party so badly betraying their heartlands we will find yet again a switch.

        On top of all that is quietly going on in the background, I am certain that over the next few years there will be parties emerging who do speak to the country and not the metropolitan academics and luvvies. It may consist of the few better quality politicians in Westminster, or it may be something completely new. Who knows. But politics as it stands is a real turn off where so many MPs are obviously not very intelligent, full of their own importance and come from such a small section of society that until we have people with real character, drive and patriotism come to the fore, many folk will completely disengage again.

      • getahead

        Quite right Malcolm. UKIP or UKIP by another name is going to achieve what it did not achieve last time when it the Tories to help deliver Brexit. There is going to be a massive UKIP campaign at the next election.

    • Little Black Censored

      “…the needless EU referendum…”
      That throwaway phrase needs some explanation. Does the writer think we ought not to be leaving? Does he think nothing should have been done to discover what most people wanted?

      • John M

        I also disagree with the columnist on this. He appears to have forgotton that since the departure of Margaret Thatcher, public opinion for a referendum had been building strongly but had repeatedly kicked down the road by successive Governments, much to the frustration of the electorate.

        This eventually led to increasing public support for UKIP. Cameron tried to prop up the elites position by denying snother vote for all sorts of reasons, but the results of the 2015 European elections, where UKIP were returned (under PR!) as the largest single party from the UK made the case for finally giving the people a referendum undeniable. Not just the Tories but Labour too could no longer run the risk of UKIP wrecking thier comfy life in Westminster on the same scale.

        And then to add insult to thier injuries the EU pompously refused to make any concessions to our relationship with them which would have allowed the remain side to have won a vote. So the British people, tired of thier sovereingty being handed over in little bits, tired of eastern Europeans undercutting thier jobs, fed up with a corrupt and unaccountable EU executive, tired of being threatened with economic oblivion by George Osborne, decided they’d have enough of the lot of them and voted to leave.

        And now we have people in our own parliament, using thier leverage to put thier own opinions in front of those of the electorate and using almost every parliamentary, procedural and legal means to wreck the decided view of the referendum just to occupy thier own vanity.

        I hope that when the next election comes around, that those in the parliamentary constituencies of Soubry, Morgan and the others involved in this decide to remind them of thier responsibilities by dumping the lot of them on thier backsides. They deserve nothing less.

    • Jolly Radical

      Having been a Conservative voter since 1982, this year’s events have convinced me never, under any circumstances, to vote Tory again. I’ll be voting for a good quality, local independent candidate instead.

      I can’t be the only person saying this!

      • STARS IN MY CROWN

        You and all the self important vote splitting kippers will only ensure this country falls to communism, so well done jolly soldier.

        • Jolly Radical

          Oooooh, tetchy tetchy!

      • Malcolm Stevas

        No, you’re not.

      • polidorisghost

        You are not

    • fred finger

      The only thing that will make or break the tories, is the quality of the Brexit agreement.. Given all the different influences, I am finding it impossible to see a direction it is going in. However, their future is totally dependent upon it.

      • Malcolm Stevas

        I care vastly more about our future being dependent on it, and sod the Tory Party! I’m worried.

    • ClickBait

      The sight of Amber Rudd’s face fills me with hatred for the Tory party for this very reason.

      • STARS IN MY CROWN

        She’s vowed to crack down on your online hatred.

        • ClickBait

          Thats me in the chokey then 🙁

      • grumpyashell

        Plus Clarke,Soubry,Heseltine,Hammond,Grieve,etc

      • polidorisghost

        Never hate the enemy.
        Ruins judgement.

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