Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Boris Johnson will destroy the Conservative Party if he doesn't destroy the country first

I came across two article today which argue that Boris Johnson's adoption of populism may in the long run prove disastrous for the Conservative Party.

On The Conversation, Andy Knott notes how the approach for Johnson's government marks a complete break with traditional Conservatism:
For conservatism, protecting “what is” (in other words, the institutions that have been handed down to us) is a joint project between conservative politicians and the people, their constituents. Together they have been engaged in this project for centuries. 
This means there is a seamless bond between the people and the elite (or establishment, or government, or parliament, or judiciary), which enables them to rule and the people to view the Conservatives as the natural party of government and their proper representatives. 
Populism, in stark contrast, operates by breaking that bond. It decrees that the elite has abandoned the people, and acts against their interests.
Johnson may think he can control the definition of the elite - judges, civil servants urban liberals - but sooner or later the people will notice that he is supported by the super-rich and adopt their own definition.

Once they do he will be finished and the tissue of interests the Conservative Party represents ripped to shreds.

Over to the Guardian, where William Davies argues that this Conservative ideology has long been in decline for 30 years:
There was one force in Britain’s public life that never gave up on the Tories: the press. All those resentments that took the place of conservative ideology – the loathing of multiculturalism, Brussels, Blairism, immigration, and the vast riches being made in London – were given a safe space in the pages of the Daily Mail, the Daily Express and the Daily Telegraph. 
With their constant attacks on all symptoms of liberal globalisation, these papers provided the incubator for the rage currently sweeping British politics, during the long years when national borders and rural England were out of political fashion.
The result is that those newspapers now have one of their own as prime minister.

And the Conservatives?
The current poll lead feels precarious; 59 per cent of Tory members have already voted for the Brexit party once (in the European parliament elections), and many could well do so in future. The Conservatives are now to the Brexit party what cocaine is to crack: more acceptable in polite company, but ultimately made of the same stuff.
Davies reaches a similar conclusion to Andy Knott:
The forces behind Brexit will need new scapegoats soon – and Johnson, Cummings and the Conservative party could be next in line.
All very encouraging if you wish to see the Tories destroyed, but the worry must be that they will destroy the country before that stage is reached.

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