There was a time many years ago when Britain was a conservative nation and the Conservative Party saw its role in preserving as much of the status quo as possible. Its purpose was to repel communism, save free enterprise and old institutions, and slow the pace of social change.
Today, with the country dominated by a left-wing cultural elite and the economy crippled by a devalued currency, rising taxes, a self-inflicted energy crisis, extreme bureaucracy and a gargantuan but hopelessly dysfunctional state, the Tory Party’s mission is dramatically different.
For about 15 years, its 160,000 members have seen themselves as agents of change: Great Britain is broken and they are desperate to save it. They are revolutionaries looking to steer the UK in a more conservative direction, rather than supporters of what the contemporary establishment happens to believe.
Toryism is much more ideological now; Like Margaret Thatcher, most party members are born-again radicals rather than old-fashioned defenders of the current order. Many joined because of Brexit. They can’t stand their own government levying a Gordon Brown-style tax on jobs and are furious that decarbonization is being used to persecute the burgeoning middle class.
They are also angry that immigration is not being controlled, that the EU’s exit pledge is being gambled away and revived, and that incompetent officials and union barons are fooling the public.
They’re dying to hear about supply-side tax cuts, individual responsibility, competitive markets, and real deregulation. They want higher interest rates to fight inflation. They long for a war on crime and a strategy to ensure cheap energy; and they dream of an efficient and smaller government that does not fail in everything it is involved with.
They believed Boris Johnson was their man. It wasn’t until they realized he had morphed into a green-tinged social democrat with an unnerving inability to build a strong, enduring management team that they really began to pay close attention to his moral failings. Bad politics and a lack of competent delivery, as well as depravity, brought Johnson down.
Because of this, it is becoming increasingly likely that Liz Truss will become the next British Prime Minister.
A former Liberal Democrat and former Remainer, she has the zeal of a convert. Her intellectual journey counts in her favor in the new Tory party. She captured the mood of members: the frustration at the consensus that led to Brexit, which put Johnson in 10th place, and the desire for fresh ideas.
Tragically, Rishi Sunak, an extremely capable and charismatic man, failed to understand the mood of his party. His campaign targets centrist mainstream voters and technocratic elites in the financial heart of the City of London and Whitehall.
He has fallen into the trap of becoming the Tory that anti-Tories are happy to support on Twitter but party members oppose. Tories didn’t always want a flame-throwing right winger: in the mid-2000s they remained in awe of Tony Blair, so they embraced David Cameron. But that centrist moment is over.
I wish to continue to grant Sunak the benefit of the doubt. He is intellectually and operationally brilliant. He helped torpedo Johnson’s more absurd spending programs. His background and family history are wonderful assets. But for reasons hard to fathom, he seems to have changed, or stuck in a bizarre form of collective responsibility that consists in defending every recent government decision, even the ones he has been vocal against.
The anti-tax chancellor, who claims he only raised taxes to discourage additional spending, has become the defender of any new tax-and-spending program. The radical capitalist is now the spokesman for failed group thinkers and those obsessed with measuring the desirability of tax changes by whether they hurt the “rich” and help the “poor” immediately, rather than by their broader impact on growth and Company .
My heart sank during the last debate. His argument for taxing big companies “just a little bit more” was classic leftist. Truss, on the other hand, responded with a crystal clear line on attracting investment.
She understands the need to move away from the Blair/Brown system. She appears to be the first prime minister since Thatcher to question the macroeconomic consensus du jour, including the “new normal” of ultra-low interest rates and money printing that has accelerated inflation and house prices, pushing Britain into a low productivity catch.
It may not be too late for Sunak. His about-face on the VAT on fuel shows he sees the need to fight back. But the winner will be the one who shows Tory members they are the best anti-establishment radicals. Right now, Truss is miles ahead.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/tory-members-are-revolutionaries-and-thats-why-liz-truss-is-heading-for-victory-41875333.html Tory members are revolutionaries and that’s why Liz Truss is heading for victory