We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Happy new year to everyone… and maybe even to the Conservatives!

For about the last six or seven years I have been reminding whoever would listen that there is nothing pre-ordained about the survival as a serious force in Britain’s affairs of the Conservative Party. It could disappear without trace. Now I find myself making the equally (now) controversial point that it might not disappear. That isn’t pre-ordained either.

I have a theory about the Conservative predicament. It’s basically guesswork and could prove entirely wrong, but here goes.

The plight of the Conservatives is basically punitive. People hated their nastiness and then their nastiness and their incompetence (a particularly lethal combination) and decided to make the bastards suffer. For as long as arrogant, careerist bastard idiots continued to regard the Conservatives as an appropriate focus of their pathetic careerist fantasies, the voters would go on humiliating them. It would feature them as pathetic villains in girlie fiction who would in due course have to make way for PC wildlife photographers in the affections of the heroines. It would sneer at them relentlessly on the BBC. It would regard Conservatives as worse than motorbike freak drug addicts as potential boyfriends for their daughters in old-fashioned suburban TV sitcoms. It would trash them so mercilessly that even they, the Conservatives, would realise that something was seriously and probably permanently wrong, public affectionwise, with their social situation.

It does not matter what is being said. What matters is that the Conservatives have to understand their utter insignificance, to stop talking as if they think that what they say or how they do their hair or who they choose as their leader or what they think about rail privatisation or what sort of cardigans they wear matters, at all, to anybody. Then, when it has finally dawned on even the most stupid and malevolent and socially inept of these people that they really might prove utterly marginal to anything whatsoever, the voters will say: okay, you people have suffered enough. You’re still ghastly, but we’ve made our point. Voting Labour all the time is costing the nation too much. Too many other bad things are being done. Time for (some of us to) vote Conservative again in sufficient numbers to shake things up a bit. Time to end the Thousand Year New Labour Reich.

This moment may (I’m guessing) be approaching. For the next few months, still, the Conservatives will be able to say and do nothing right, just as has been the case for the last decade. But then – when Conservatives are all finally saying: right, that’s it abandon ship it was fun while it lasted but now it’s gone gone gone � and for that exact reason, the Conservative votes will start again mysteriously to assemble themselves. The important thing is for the Conservatives to have extremely public discussions which take it as axiomatic that they will never, ever be back in serious business again in the old style. They need to internalise and to be seen to have internalised their own insignificance, ghastliness and patheticness.

Support for this notion comes, I think, from Scotland, where, according to David Farrer, the Conservatives are doing really quite well. I surmise that this is because the Scottish Conservatives got to their “well that’s it we’re doomed doomed” state rather sooner than they did in England, and therefore the voters decided that the punishment could cease rather sooner than it has down here.

I can’t emphasise too strongly that this is all guesswork and could be utter rubbish. All I really wanted to say to samzidata’s readers when I sat down to do this was: Happy New Year!

I am off to see the new Bond movie, in a cinema, with a fellow samizdatista. I expect it to be the cinematic equivalent of the Conservative Party: absurdly implausible, formulaic, full of sex and violence but in a ludicrously dated way, and demeaning to women and to ethnic and linguistic minorities. If not, I shall be wanting my money back.

9 comments to Happy new year to everyone… and maybe even to the Conservatives!

  • Pherecydes

    That’s the most intelligent thing I’ve read about the Conservative Party and its prospects anywhere. Let me add this: I think there might be a lesson for New Labour (essentially the Conservative Party in disguise) in America where, once Clinton and his cryptoRepublicans had been dislodged, there was no place for the Democratic Party to go.

  • qsi

    In yesterday’s Times, William Rees-Mogg argued that the revival in England is already underway based on recent opinion polls.

  • cydonia

    They say the same about financial markets. Whilst there are still bulls about, the market won’t recover. It is only when everybody is bearish that it’s time to buy. Maybe ditto for political parties?

  • Jacob

    Political voting has a cyclical element in it, maybe somewhat like the economy. After one party is in power too long (maybe 15 or 20 years) people are utterly disgusted with it and vote in the other party, having forgotten how disgusted they were with that party when it was in power. It has little to do with programme, ideology or personalities. So you can safely predict a change in government; what you cannot predict is improvement.

  • Brian,

    That assessment strikes me as exactly right. The Tories could have policies that would right the world in a heartbeat and it wouldn’t matter, because they’re simply not going to be listened to. I think it was 1994 when a friend of mine started calling anyone he didn’t like a “Tooorrrry” (with a long sneer). Eventually, however, people are going to start listening again, so they’d better have something to say then.

  • Julian Morrison

    Sacking the entire front bench (in fact, any tory who has ever been on TV at all) might be a good start.

  • The disapproval of the people is going to transform the “arrogant careerist bastard idiots” into people worth voting for?

    People want to vote Tory. But they don’t think the party has actually *changed*, if you ask me. Suffering isn’t enough, in fact it’s irrelevant. What you need is sensible people and policies to run the country with.

    Do we think the Tory party now has good people and good ideas?

  • Julian Morrison

    Any tory party that hasn’t actively sacked portillo, clarke, widdecombe, howard, major, currie, hesseltine, lawson, IDS… hasn’t got the point quite yet.

  • Bob Briant

    The fundamentals are that we have a long and honourable tradition of Parliamentary government in Britain. With that, what matters is not this party or that but whether the government is honest and competent in its endeavours and whether the parties in opposition are effectively holding the government to account and for making good its promises to the electorate at the last election. The present mounting cynicism with politics, it seems to me, is because we are failing on all scores.