Thursday, April 05, 2018

London Conservatives to declare UDI?

Will Heaven says in the Spectator that London Conservatives are braced for disaster in next month's local elections. Which must be good news for Liberal Democrat candidates in Richmond and Kingston.

He also reports that:
The decay of basic Tory infrastructure, for example, means the party is running out of foot soldiers. Things are so bad that, for the first time ever, CCHQ has paid for a full-time employee in every London borough to chivvy local activists.
So what are the London Tories going to do about it?

Heaven reveals a fascinating possibility:
Over the past year, a series of meetings has been held at venues including Tory HQ. On the agenda was a radical idea: that London’s Tories should formally break away from the national party and become a separate entity with their own brand and leader, like the Scottish Tories under Ruth Davidson. 
It would create clear water between them and a national party that, in the words of one insider, is becoming ‘very provincial’ under Theresa May. 
Borough leaders, Greater London Authority members, association chairmen, London’s remaining Tory MPs — the vast majority were in favour of the idea. But word came down from the very top: nice try, but it’s not going to happen. 
Someone familiar with the meetings reveals: ‘We are a very centralised party now — and we were told to shut up, basically.’ 
In another moment of desperation, the Conservative party asked Ms Davidson if her team — after their outstanding performance at the general election — would consider heading south to mastermind the London campaign. The answer was a polite but firm ‘no’. 
The Scottish Tories had performed an astonishing recovery — but it was not (just) due to a well-run campaign. The renaissance came after painstaking work to identify why national Conservatism wasn’t working in Scotland. It was a long process, and the London Tories have yet to make the first step.
But as long as they continue do nothing, the threat of what, Heaven reports, one Tory councillor calls "hipsterisation" will grow across the South East of England.

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