BY PAUL NEWALL
I don’t know about you, but I was quite disappointed at the Tory landslide victory on the 6th of May, not because I’ve returned to my Bolshevik roots, more that for the first time in over 20 years we have no meaningful opposition and that isn’t healthy for our democracy.
In 1997, Tony Blair found himself standing on a Labour landslide with the Conservatives largely ineffective as an opposition party, though he had the benefit of the mainstream media subtly calling out Conservative initiatives and policies as racist/ misogynistic ad infinitum. We saw his populistic red wave turn into a disastrous Eurocommunist tsunami which by the time Blair had wisely exited, had utterly lost contact with its core voters and financial reason. We saw enormous growth in the public sector and the introduction of tax credits (prototype Universal Basic Income). And don’t get me started on Iraq ……
We have a slightly different scenario in play now in that the media is still predominantly anti-Conservative, so the party of government does get called out, but the voters no longer take any notice. Many like me have scrapped their television licence and scour the internet for their news and care little about who pays for our PM’s curtains. The problem is that many like me prefer having an effective opposition to keep everything honest and above board and Keir (Keef) Starmer and his merry band of identity politics dingbats really aren’t up to the job. I suspect that the Labour party supported by my late Father since the 1945 election has gone and the current incarnation is doomed to extinction. Meanwhile the Lib Dems are just as lost and seem to be holding onto Labour’s tailcoats.
It seems obvious to anyone who’s paying attention that the British public is inherently small c conservative which is why they have rejected the barefaced Marxism of Labour. Yet to keep our democracy healthy we can’t become a one-party state so what is to be done? There seems to be a plethora of right of centre groups that are competing for votes, some more extreme than others but collectively labelled “far right” by commentators in the media. I was a fan of UKIP , not because I particularly like Nigel, but credit where credit’s due…. their 10-15% in the polls definitely had a huge effect on David Cameron’s decision to hold the 2016 referendum and that’s the kind of opposition we need now.
There is a huge job still to be done from a conservative perspective which isn’t currently on Boris’s to do list. We need a Thatcherite culling of huge chunks of the state and NGOs. I haven’t forgotten David Cameron’s promise of a “bonfire of the QANGOs” and I still want it. It is a basic tenet of conservatism to prioritise personal responsibility and human initiative at the expense of the public sector. Ronald Reagan famously said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” He was right.
Voters in some constituencies hold their nose in order to vote conservative, the red wall in the north stayed red for 45 years for a reason and if they feel Boris isn’t paying enough attention to them they will unfortunately revert to type purely because there isn’t another viable alternative. We need someone to exploit the gap in the market and build a proper opposition.
Paul Newall is a child of the 1960’s from a traditional Labour-supporting household. Paul dabbled with Trotskyism in the 1980’s but then “grew up and thanks to having responsibilities I slowly migrated across the political spectrum until instead of hating Maggie Thatcher I admired her for beating my side in the miners’ strike”.