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Home > Politics

The Tories: Don't mind us

10 July 2005

This week, as David Davis emerged as the most likely next leader, the Tories were asking themselves 'Where next for the Tory party?' This is by now a question so wearily familiar it must be like a blue whale asking itself 'I wonder what's for lunch? Oh. Krill. Again.'

Davis himself has said there has to be a new Tory agenda, not just slavishy copying other parties. Hmm. Who COULD he be referring to?

However, the options appear distinctly limited. The Tories can move right and be accused of opportunism or, inevitably, racism, because any move to the right is going to include harsh words about immigration. Alternatively they can move left into a more centrist, One Nation position, but they don't seem to have much idea about what that's going to be. And we haven't spotted any Tories saying 'If we can just emulate the Heath government....'

In any case, the all-over-the-shop position of New Labour doesn't help the Tories. The best they can hope for is that more people think Labour has screwed up on immigration than think the Tories are opportunistic/racist to bang on about the subject.

And while the Daily Mail doesn't help New Labour, it manages to hinder the Tories too. Can the Tories claim to be the saviour of the NHS, while the party's natural supporters (ie. Daily Mail readers) are being fed the idea that the NHS is terminally fucked: go into hospital you'll die from MRSA and you'd have been better off with BUPA?

Both Labour and the Tories have also screwed up over Iraq, Labour by taking part in the war, the Tories by supporting from the sidelines. The most political capital the Tories can hope to make from the war is either that Labour lied (lies which they broadly accepted) or that Labour has run down the armed forces, which put our lads at greater risk in Iraq. A fair point, but then the Americans are brilliantly equipped and it hasn't stopped the body bags mounting up.

It's not looking good. Maybe the Tories' only salvation lies in the maxim that 'parties don't win elections, governments lose them'. Maybe David Davis needs to play a waiting game, coupled with turning the party into the most bland and inoffensive political product in history. We can almost see the next conference slogans:

The Conservatives: Seen but not heard.
The Conservatives: Don't mind us. We won't be any trouble.
The Conservatives: The party that likes a nice cup of tea.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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