Naked Politics Blogger
In an act of abject hubris the Prime Minister has destroyed her inherited majority, trashed the reputation of her party and is in the process of kowtowing to backward looking, homophobic religious fundamentalists. She has proven herself a catastrophe. In what will almost certainly be remembered as the worst election campaign in British history she squandered a 25 point lead and saw Jeremy Corbyn, until 10 o’clock Thursday night, a political write-off take seats for the Labour Party for the first time in 20 years. She needs to go. And our party must change.
I like many people sneered at Corbyn and his selling of Utopian snake-oil. I was wrong. His positive vision and a willingness to engage directly with the electorate is a lesson. Where he sold hope, we were hopeless. I have voted for the Conservative Party since I was able, I have campaigned in local, European and general elections but as this campaign progressed my enthusiasm evaporated. I felt palpable dread as the exit poll came in, I knew we had mucked it up. We lost; and we deserved it.
Mrs May conducted herself for the duration of the campaign like a malfunctioning robot butler. She was the captain of a football team who psychotically scores own goals whilst screaming “strong and stable”. She has to go. More generally our policies were bad. It was an arrogant manifesto that supposed the idea that Jeremy Corbyn was so weak we could campaign however we liked. Embarrassing media encounters and stage managed engagement with party faithful on industrial estate warehouses demonstrated the palpable contempt that Mrs May felt for her own supporters.
Philosophically May-ism was anathema to the huge number of younger Tory supporters who came up during the optimism of the Cameron years. Years where even when spending contractions were proposed the overall message was one of hope. Her authoritarian vision of a Britain returned to the ‘50s complete with grammar schools and censorship resonated with few and alienated many. Many good, hardworking, capable Conservative MPs are out of office due to the wholly negative view of the country displayed by May. Her belief that her ‘leadership’ trumped Conservative policy and party has been proven a fatal error.
Repeated and hysterical attacks on Mr Corbyn proved she was losing the argument. It is perfectly right to point out the flaws in one’s opponents but only if you contrast them with your own strengths. Corbyn as a dangerous Red who supports terrorism simply did not make sense when compared to the kindly old chap who makes his own jam. Ranting about it unfortunately exposed the flaws in Conservative policy. I agree with almost nothing that he says or believes in, BUT I believe he believes it. May seems to believe in nothing. When we stand for nothing we fall for everything.
Despite this I, unlike many of my Conservative fellows, do not believe May lost this election. They are still underestimating Jeremy Corbyn. He won. He won by behaving with vision. By demonstrating that the future could be brighter, that his vision of what this country could be would not be blackened by the muck-throwing of the Conservative Press. Tory daggers are drawn for May, the vengeance of the Conservative Party is brutal and merciless; whilst eviscerating Mrs May we must learn lessons from Mr Corbyn.
So where do we go from here? Many people have written and will write about the immediate aftermath of the election, I am not going to join them. When I woke up on Friday morning the sun was shining, and I felt upbeat, joyous even. In adversity comes opportunity. I had witnessed the destruction of a section of my Party that I reject utterly. The time has come now to rebuild, to look into our hearts and to build a vision of the Party that captures a simple positive message like the resurgent Labour Party. The Party of the May ministry is centralising and dictatorial, it is in a word un-Conservative. We must build from the ground up. Lead by the very generation who raised up Mr Corbyn we must decide what our party will look like in the next 10, 15, 20 years. We must be disruptive, radical and brave. The founder of our movement, Edmund Burke spoke in terms of ‘little platoons’ and this is how we must organise ourselves in the wake of the humiliation of this election.
I ask everyone reading this article, particularly Conservative voters or former Conservative voters, to get in touch with me to make a start on creating a new movement in the party. We should be critiquing and commenting on every move in the coming years. We should write our own Queen’s Speech, propose our own Budget, and generate the vision of Conservatism that we believe will take us confidently into the coming decades and will beat Labour. Like Momentum and the Corbynistas we should take control of the Party from the bottom up and rattle the towers of the mighty to see the Conservative Party remade in our own image. Let the fightback start now.
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