So extravagant has the sense of entitlement of the political class become that at times it exhibits a kind of majestic fatuity that commands, if not respect, at least wonderment. Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than among what is facetiously termed the “leadership” of what is inaccurately called the “Conservative” Party.
Yesterday’s front-page headline in the Daily Telegraph furnished the most dramatic illustration to date of the infatuated complacency with which David Cameron and his colleagues regard the world around them, of which they have a rapidly diminishing comprehension: “It’s time to come home, PM tells Ukip voters.”
There is a world of arrogance, stupidity and complete absence of any sense of reality in that blinkered statement. Dave and his modernising cronies deliberately and aggressively set out to drive their core vote out of the Conservative Party. In this sole objective they succeeded, even if they failed in all other endeavours. But now that a general election is only a month away Dave has decided to clap his hands like a schoolmaster calling an unruly class of pupils to order and tell all the genuine Conservatives who have departed to UKIP that it is time to abandon such self-indulgence and return to the Tory fold.
Dave says he has heard the message of disillusioned Tory voters “loud and clear”, but pleads with them to help “avert the danger of a Labour government”. Well, there you are, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and hundreds of thousands of other ex-Tories, Dave has heard you loud and clear. So, no problem then: just throw away that purple rosette and “come home”. Everything is all right again, now that Dave has heard you.
Mind you, I wouldn’t put it past those two ingrate Tory defectors and that bloke Farage to respond to Dave’s gracious offer by raising a lot of bolshie, nit-picking criticisms. Not to mention the huge numbers of embittered ex-Tories across the country. Some of them are already asking: if Dave has heard their message “loud and clear”, what is he actually doing to address their concerns?
It seems unlikely that a referendum on Europe will be held at the same time as the general election, in view of the impracticality of passing the necessary legislation with Parliament dissolved. Or that the cancellation of HS2 will hastily be scribbled into the Tory manifesto. Or same-sex marriage repealed. So, what exactly is the practical consequence of Dave’s sudden attentiveness to the message of Tory defectors? In round figures, a big fat zero.
Dave’s transparently hypocritical claim to be hearing Tory defectors loud and clear is a meaningless piece of shmoozing that, so far from reconciling them, will aggravate the anger of his lost supporters by blatantly insulting their intelligence. It is the same offhand, patronising response as that of the Tory grandee who drawls at a concerned supporter, “I hear what you’re saying,” while his eyes are roaming the room in search of someone important to toady.
One longstanding maxim of Tory grandees that one never hears today is the dismissive “They have nowhere else to go,” in reference to party dissenters, since the advent of UKIP has effectively decommissioned that cliché. However, it is worth examining this latest effusion of Daveguff, to gain some insight into the depth of the delusory condition in which the Tory high command is floundering.
He is now urging those he repelled from his party to “avert the danger of a Labour government”. That is surely a potent argument: if we fell into the clutches of a Labour government we would have unrestricted immigration, no referendum on Europe, relentless PC erosion of our freedoms, same-sex marriage, a spiralling national debt and… er… in short, everything we have experienced under Dave’s principled stewardship.
The difference, of course, is that we would be enduring tyranny, incompetence and doctrinaire liberalism at the hands of a party from which we have always expected no better, rather than under a party that is supposedly the champion of conservative values. The betrayal factor would be eliminated. What has the Conservative Party actually conserved? Our armed forces? Our borders and national identity? Our traditional freedoms?
Never before in history has a political party deliberately set out to alienate its core supporters, but that is what the Tory Party did to the “Turnip Taleban”. Now the consequences of that kamikaze policy are panicking the Vichy Tories. In nanny phraseology accessible to a man of Dave’s social origins, Mr Sorry comes too late. Until the Tory roadkill has been swept away there will be no prospect of building an authentically conservative party in this country.
In terms of chutzpah, though, you have to love this piece of audacity from Dave, appealing to ex-Tory voters: “They can see the tougher approach we’ve taken to immigration.” Yes, Dave, indeed we can and we are suitably grateful. Thanks to Dave’s tougher approach, only 2,214,000 migrants have entered Britain during the period of his premiership. “It’s time to come home.” Shove it, Dave.