“Why are so many of you Conservative MPs so absolutely bloody useless at doing anything even remotely conservative?” I said to the Conservative MP Sam Gyimah in the green room before my disastrous appearance on BBC This Week the other night. (It’s probably why he looked so pleased during my car crash interview with Andrew Neil…).
Perhaps I was unfair to take it out on Gyimah. Sure he’s a bit of a fence-sitter – for example, he voted Remain and is now campaigning for a Second Referendum. But he’s by no means in the Sarah Wollaston/Nick Boles/Nicky Morgan/Greg Clark/Philip Hammond/Dominic Grieve league of teeth-grinding awfulness.
Still, my main point stands. The Conservatives in government have not been remotely conservative for some considerable time and the party grassroots are not impressed.
At the moment the party members’ rage is largely focused on the Conservative government’s failure to deliver Brexit.
This view was trenchantly expressed in a letter written by Bob Perry, the chairman of the Hornchurch and Upminster Conservative Association, to the Conservative party’s May-ite Chairman Brandon Lewis:
“They did NOT vote for a DEAL, they voted to LEAVE. If we fail to deliver that the Conservative Party will sentence itself to political oblivion for generations to come.”
As Camilla Tominey reported in the Sunday Telegraph, similar angry letters are being dispatched by local associations all over the country.
My suspicion, though, is that voters’ concerns about Brexit are merely a proxy for their concerns about something much bigger: the creeping strangulation of Britain by a politically correct agenda instituted by a leftist Deep State which not even a Conservative government seems either willing or able to fight.
People feel like strangers in their own country; that their liberty to say and do what they like – “it’s a free country”, we used to say – is being snatched away from them by shadowy forces they cannot control; that a new politically correct code of values is being imposed on them against their wishes; that powerful institutions which ought to be politically neutral are now nakedly biased towards the left’s “progressive” agenda.
The Brexit vote, I believe, was partly an expression of despair at what is happening. A cry for help.
Let me give you a couple of examples, just from the weekend’s papers.
Electoral Commission plans to hand itself powers of prosecution
This organisation gets £23.5 million of taxpayers’ money every year to regulate party and election finance. It’s supposed to be competent: it isn’t, as we can see for example, in its abject failure to deal with postal voting fraud. It’s supposed to be politically neutral: again, it isn’t. Its commissioners have a pronounced left-wing, anti-Brexit bias.
Now, the Commission plans to increase its powers by assuming for itself the right to conduct prosecutions:
According to the Sunday Telegraph:
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Tory backbencher, said the Conservative Party should formally oppose the move, stating: “The Electoral Commission is not trusted to be impartial and a number of its leading figures have said very prejudicial things about Brexit.
“An independent prosecutor is a safeguard and that’s the whole purpose of a prosecutor. Investigators have a prejudice in favour of prosecuting.”
Yes, the Conservative Party should formally oppose the move. But will it?
Wind turbines along the length of the HS2 track
Another Sunday Telegraph scoop, this:
Wind farms could be built along the route of HS2 in a major resurrection of onshore turbines in Britain, under confidential Government-commissioned plans.
An official strategy document seen by The Sunday Telegraph proposes powering the controversial rail line using lucrative onshore wind farms spanning the equivalent of 19,000 football fields.
For some stretches of the line the majority of electricity would come from solar or wind farms built “on or near” the track, according to the plans. The document indicates that the move would require more land being purchased by developers along the route of the line, and could tip the scheme over its £56 billion budget.
The plan is likely to spark fury among MPs and residents who already fear the line will blight landscape.
Well yes. I live along the HS2 route. No public works project has ever been more widely hated. Yet despite copious cost-benefit analyses finding it to be a White Elephant project which will devastate the landscape and cost billions of pounds to no useful purpose, the project seems to have acquired a life of its own. This wind turbine proposal is typical of the Deep State: high-handed arrogance and lack of accountability combined with achingly PC values. Ugly, expensive, wasteful schemes are imposed on the public. No one has the power to stop them.
My question to the Conservative MPs in parliament right now is: why are you not protecting us? Why are you not fighting for our freedoms? Why are you letting the Deep State get away with it?
The rot, it seems to me, goes back at least as far as the era of David Cameron. He pointedly dissociated himself from the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, preferring to describe himself as the “Heir to Blair.” And we have been ruing it ever since.
I said in the headline that the Deep State is a bigger threat than Corbyn. Obviously I fully accept that the Corbyn terror – were we foolish enough to vote for it – would be the end of the world as we know it. But I fear the Deep State more because it is a more clear and present danger: it’s there, working now, infiltrating every institution, imposing its PC agenda on a proud, freedom-loving people who – given any say in the matter – would have none of it.