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How the UK’s Conservative Party could cease to exist

Here’s how:

1. There is a crash in the stock market this autumn (there has already been a large fall).

2. A recession starts. Businesses start to close, others start to lay off workers. Either way there is a large increase in unemployment and the fear of unemployment.

3. The public see that as far as Cameron and Osborne are concerned the emperor has no clothes. The mirage of economic recovery they have concocted over the last four years is seen for what it is: a mirage.

4. As the Conservatives start to fall in the polls, UKIP and Labour start to rise. Eurosceptic Conservative MPs realise they have nothing to lose by defecting to UKIP. A hundred do so.

5. The defection of such a large number of Conservative MPs makes UKIP seem a lot more credible as a party of government.

6. In the election, Labour get a plurality but not a majority. UKIP are only a few seats behind. The leader of the Conservative Party, now with 30 seats becomes known as Kim Cameron.

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34 comments to How the UK’s Conservative Party could cease to exist

  • Lee Moore

    Inconceivable on so many levels.

    1. The Tories – like Labour – will not sink below 25% or so in one bite. It’d take several elections to chip em down to the 15% or so that would leave them with 30 MPs. You might, conceivably, be able to conjure a result like 30-28-25-8-9 for (Lab-UKIP-Con-Lib – Others) but Labour would win a comfortable majority on that, and the Tories would finish up with many more seats than UKIP.

    2. 100 Conservative MPs are not going to defect. 10 are not going to defect. The sine qua non of being a Conservative MP is COWARDICE. The two who have defected may have slipped through that filter, but the vast majority are not going switch from a party that’s been in power on and off for nearly 200 years and join one that’s never been in power. IF UKIP were to win more seats than the Tories and many more votes, THEN a lot of Tory MPs might switch. After the election, if UKIP looks to be the surer horse. But before the election ? Never gonna happen.

    3. Cameron is toast anyway. but after the election the Tories will then simply select Cameron Mark Two. Who was that fellow who pretended to be Eurosceptic and then appointed Chris Patten to head the BBC ? Someone like that.

  • Got something against the name “Kim”, Patrick?

    ;=)

  • Patrick Crozier

    Yup it was you I was thinking of, Kim, and definitely not Kim Campbell.

  • PeterT

    I think the most likely outcome is for Milliband to get elected with the lowest share of the vote ever, say 30% as suggested above.

    Ensue 4-5 years of Hollande style politics, with a downturn in the economy. I think a collapse is unlikely as long as the magic money fountain is in operation – the reduction in wealth is more likely to be achieved through lower real wages and assets.

    The Lib Dems may yet have some seats and might support Labour. With Milliband in charge no referendum is held on the EU. The Conservatives boot Cameron out and replace him with somebody middle of the road like Boris, but who would be willing to form a coalition with Farage – I imagine that any tactic that could see Boris as PM would do. In the next election the Conservatives and UKIP form a pact, with UKIP taking many seats from Labour, and the Conservatives regaining seats in the rest of the country. The Lib Dems may either be destroyed or may stage a recovery – it depends on how they perform in the next parliament (Clegg is unlikely to remain leader).

    We finally get a referendum on the EU – but this time the conditions for a yes vote winning are much better, with Boris actively campaigning for yes, with Ed Balls heading the No campaign. A no vote is still highly possible, however.

    A second possibility is that the Conservatives and Lib Dems manage to form a coalition, maybe with a minority of the seats in parliament. Cameron hangs on – that is what he does best after all. UKIP win a handful of seats and support the coalition on a case by case basis. The referendum on the EU proceeds as planned. By then Cameron has somehow managed to win some minor concessions from the EU, maybe:

    – some rights to restrict immigration from parts of the EU, conveniently this could be done by the accession date, as Bulgaria and Romania joined most recently, the eastern countries like Poland and Lithuania in the wave before then. These changes may also help Hollande and Merkel tick some boxes with their electorate so is therefore not highly unlikely.
    – Possibly a sop of some kind on legislation affecting financial services. Germany and France are unlikely to play ball so it will be something largely symbolic.
    – Maybe a freeze or reduction in the UK’s fee.
    – Some other minor changes.

    The immigration issue is the one that the electorate cares most about, and with this partially addressed are content with the status quo. The outcome is a marginal victory for the ‘no’ campaign.

    On balance the first scenario perhaps seems slightly more likely than the second, albeit we might end up remaining in the EU.

    The English Votes for English Laws issue is a wild card. I rather cynically think that Cameron’s sudden enthusiasm for the issue has to do with the implications of it for his own future political fortunes. If it goes through before the next election we could end up in a situation where Cameron remains PM, or at least First Minister for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

    Whatever happens I cannot see any scenario, short of Farage falling under a bus, where UKIP do not keep rising in importance.

  • zarba

    It’s not so much a “how”, but a “when”.

    The Conservative’s current Socialism Lite is working quite well, thank you, and should be sufficient to render the party nonexistent in a few years. They merely prefer a bootie on the neck vs. a jackboot.

  • Paul Marks

    I have given trying to guess when the crash will come Patrick – because I have had too much egg on my face from guessing too early.

    But, yes you are correct, it must come at some point – and likely before the May election.

    As for the Conservative party (locally and nationally) there are two alternatives and only two.

    Either a pact with UKIP (at least at the local level around the country) or ……..

    We lose the general election and “Red Ed” becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    The present line of “make a deal with UKIP and we will expel you” is insane.

  • Mr Ed

    PeterT

    We finally get a referendum on the EU – but this time the conditions for a yes vote winning are much better, with Boris actively campaigning for yes, with Ed Balls heading the No campaign. A no vote is still highly possible, however.

    Apologies for appearing obtuse, but what question is the ‘Yes’ a response to, as why would Mr Boris Johnson, son of a Euro-MP cum Eurocrat, (not that parentage determines thought) be thought of as a Eurosceptic and diametrically opposed to Mr Balls?

    I see Mr Johnson as the Conservative’s ‘cheeky chappie’ but without supporting pretty much any which terrorist crosses his path, but I don’t see him as a Eurosceptic. He might make the odd bit of noise, but that is all. If he were a serious sceptic, he would have drifted towards UKIP by now.

  • Kevin B

    Patrick, add in a cold winter, a problem with a large generator and no wind. When our suberb plan B of energy generation, (scattered diesel generators and the shutting down of factories), doesn’t make up for the shortfall and thus large scale power cuts ensue, then if UKIP can’t pin the blame on the Labour party and the Coalition they don’t deserve any votes. They do, however, have a half decent energy policy.

    Owen Patterson is due to give a talk at the GWPF outlining how our blind adherence to the Climate Change Act has left our energy infrastructure in a parlous state and adding a Plan C on how to stop global warming.*

    Although he and most of the rest of the lemmings voted for the economy destroying CCA, this shot across the bows may well presage a breakup of the Tory party over green issues and if the above scenario does occur there will be a flood of rats pitter-pattering down the mooring ropes.

    *Yes, of course he has his own corporatist agenda, subsidising small scale nukes, combined heat and power systems and ‘demand management’. He’s a politician. He can’t leave it to the market.

  • Mr Ed

    I have noticed a significant slowing in the property market in the southern half of England outside of Greater London in the last 4 months or so, and many large houses going on the market overpriced. I wonder if it is that the owners either wish to cash in at the perceived ‘top of the market’ and/or fear the drip drip drip talk of a ‘mansion tax’ and see the forthcoming General Election as the end of times.

    The ghastly truth is that there have been no ‘cuts’, the National Debt, now just shy of £1,333,333,333.34p has ballooned like Diane Abbott and Eric Pickles locked for a week in the Food Hall at Harrods with two Willy Wonka tickets to eat all you can.

    There is no escaping reality, the fundamental laws of economics will not permit a country to borrow, tax and regulate its way to prosperity.

  • Mr Ed

    This Telegraph article about a Conservative MP querying with the Home Secretary why police who stopped him in his car for having a frosty windscreen (note that the article refers to the Highway Code which has no relevance to the criminal law) and then asked him about his ethnicity tells you all that you need to know about the Conservative Party and why it deserves to perish. A Home Secretary glad that orders were obeyed, and a slightly baffled backbencher perhaps unable to join the dots.

  • PeterT

    Mr Ed, I don’t think Boris loves middle ground politics in the same way that Cameron does and could not care less about the UK staying in the EU, particularly if doing a deal with UKIP might help him become Prime Minister.

    Owen Paterson – how he can remain in the Conservative party is a mystery. Good man.

  • Mr Ed

    PeterT, I would like to think that you are right about Mr Johnson, but I just can’t see him as a Eurosceptic. He seems more like a licensed jester who can be wheeled out to say the odd negative thing about the EU, and who has a burning political ambition. However, there is nothing in his policy decisions that I have seen that indicate anything other than Cameron dried out with a single Kleenex.

  • Regional

    PeterT,
    Boris would pass enabling laws and establish gulags with no fences of Lampooning. The Bloated Bourgeois Communists would be a good place to start.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Isn’t the sticking-point of your scenario “the public see?”

  • Trofim

    Did anyone watch this BBC Panorama hatchet job on UKIP, using Nigel Farage as a symbolic figurehead? Astonishingly blatant propaganda. What I find particularly disturbing is the use of a well-known Nazi marching song in the background, at 1′ 46″ for instance. Watch it now, because the BBC may well doctor it if possible.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04lxvrd/panorama-the-farage-factor

  • Trofim

    Misprint. The Nazi marching song is used, for example, at 16’46”, not as I cited above. I have requested from the BBC when a similar programme on the Green Party will be shown.

  • Tedd

    That scenario is not unlike what happened to the former Progressive Conservative party in Canada, with the rise of the Reform Party. The PCs were reduced to two seats in Parliament. (Q: What’s the difference between the PC Party and a Volkswagen? A: Two seats.) Eventually, the two parties merged to become the Conservative Party of Canada, and they have been quite successful in an electoral sense. But — and this may be important for UKIP supporters — the reform policies were pretty well completely lost along the way.

    With the benefit of hindsight and some changes in my thinking, I now think those reform policies would not have been the unqualified good I once thought they would be. But that’s not really the point. The point is that the supposed alternative to conservatism, on the right, really just ended up being subsumed into a traditional conservative party with a new name.

  • Regional

    What fucked the Conservatives in Canada was introducing a GST type tax without consulting the Electorate, the Leader was Kim Campbell.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Here in Australia, our non-labor parties joined in the 1940s to form the Liberal Party. We use ‘Liberal’ in the traditional British sense, since we were too young to have anything to conserve.
    Perhaps Britain is ready for a Conservative-Liberal party?

  • Tedd

    Regional:

    No, it was Brian Mulroney. Furthermore, he as much as said he was going to introduce a GST during the election campaign, although he did not name it as such. A key part of their platform during the campaign was to change the tax regime to encourage saving, by favouring taxes on consumption over taxes on earning. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to understand what that meant, but it turns out that a lot of people who voted Conservative were a very long way from being rocket scientists. If you look at Mulroney’s term closely you’ll see that he came closer to delivering on his election promises than probably any Canadian PM in my lifetime — and the electorate spanked the party thoroughly for it. It makes the Liberal trick of telling the voters what they want to hear and then quietly doing something completely different seem like a pretty smart strategy.

  • Regional

    Ted,
    I remember Kim Campbell coming out and giving the Sistahood salute when made Leader.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Mulroney might have said that the GST was meant to encourage saving, but the fact is that the GST replaced the MST (manufactures’ sales tax). Surely it makes sense to tax all goods on sale, rather than taxing only the goods produced in your own country!

  • Snorri Godhi

    PS: ironically, the GST was introduced in Canada at almost the same time as the Poll Tax in England and Wales.

  • PeterT

    Most politicians who might be considered Gladstonian liberals are already in the Conservative party.

  • Friday Night Smoke

    I keep hearing that the economic recovery is a bubble built upon house prices and insufficient public sector restraint; but here on the ground on the industrial estates of Birmingham it looks quite real to me. A fair portion of it is trickle down from the success of Jaguar Land Rover, who are spending large sums of money on factory expansion and by all accounts are exporting impressive numbers of cars. Other than that every ‘real’ sector that I deal with appears to be doing well, the only pain seems to be in the ‘non real’ recycling industry, which has always ridden on the coat tails of now diminishing government subsidy.
    I would go so far as to say that Conservative policy over the past 4 years has been very helpful to my small business peers; the right taxes have been cut (Corporation Tax rates, a huge jump in Annual Investment Allowance) or frozen (fuel duty) and this has allowed a lot of real capital investment to happen, with productivity benefits stretching into the future.
    I would suggest that free market advocates should be dreaming about the destruction of the Labour party, not the Conservatives. I think a parliament made up of Con, Lib Dem and UKIP would be the best realistic option.

  • Tedd

    Snorri:

    I differ from almost every Canadian I know in that I believe the GST was a good idea (relative to the options on the table, which did not include less total taxation or less spending). The saving rate was low and declining, income taxes were already high, and, as you pointed out, there was already an existing federal sales tax that was capricious.

    Opponents of the GST fall into three categories: Albertans, who have no provincial sales tax and are therefore sentimentally opposed to sales taxes to the exclusion of all other considerations; non-conservatives, who are knee-jerked opposed to any policy brought in by conservatives (and whose heads explode when informed that the proposal was originally made by the Liberals, before they lost the government); and conservatives who weren’t paying attention during the election campaign before the GST was introduced, are too clueless to see its advantages, or are living in a dream world where a conservative government will reduce spending. Sadly, that seems to cover about 99 percent of the Canadian population.

  • Nick (Natural Genius) Gray

    Our Australian GST was something I applauded, because they were getting rid of other taxes, and I still think it did some good, though it had to be modified to get through our Senate.
    Is it true that any time anyone says, ‘History is bunk’, a Conservative just disappears?

  • James Waterton

    Here in Australia, our non-labor parties joined in the 1940s to form the Liberal Party. We use ‘Liberal’ in the traditional British sense, since we were too young to have anything to conserve.

    The naming of the Liberal Party of Australia (which is nominally conservative) makes sense if one considers the policies of the incumbent Labor government of the time, which wanted to nationalise everything in sight, continue on with the policy of rationing four years after the end of WW2, and transform Australia into something approaching a command economy. In contrast, the conservative opposition’s economic policies were much more liberal – scupper the plan to nationalise the banks, abolish rationing and remove other wartime/Labor controls over the economy. Hence the opposition party quite reasonably termed themselves the Liberal Party.

    Unfortunately, over time they’ve proved themselves to be more populist than anything else. Not especially conservative or liberal.

    One thing that can be said in Ben Chifley’s favour (Chifley being the postwar Labor PM who was defeated in 1949) was that he was virulently anti-communist and he smashed the striking coalmining unions which were shot through with Stalinists*. He broke the strike by sending the army in to smash the picket lines and work the coal mines.

    *these people have a long and shameful history of supporting genocidal totalitarians. Before Barbarossa, “anti-war” Stalinist wharfies often struck, refusing to load or unload ships either going to or returning from Europe which were involved in the war effort against Hitler. They were Nazi sympathisers because Stalin had made a pact with Nazi Germany. Of course, when Hitler invaded Russia, they suddenly became Hitler’s greatest foes.

    Well, that was a bit off topic. Anyway, back to your regular programming.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Tedd: the only Canadian whom i asked about the GST was a professor at the University of Alberta, and he said more or less what i said in my first comment about its motivation.
    I myself never had to pay it, because i moved to the UK just in time to see Thatcher’s downfall, caused by the poll tax (which i did not have to pay either, since my landlady did not see the need to let the taxman know that she was getting rent from me.)

    This was a bit off topic too, but at least there is a tie-in to the UK Conservative Party.

  • Mr Ed

    Mr Johnson’s administration appears to be set on banning smoking in Trafalgar and Parliament Squares. This man is hardly one to consider that there might be limits to the State’s role in life, still less at all interested in liberty.

  • Mr Ed

    Mr Sol Campbell, a former England footballer (soccer) has decided to sell his Chelsea ‘mansion’ before the General Election, with some trenchant words about the Labour Party.

  • PeterT

    Indeed Mr Ed, I had a too loud rant about this policy idea in the office this very day! I instantly regretted the words ‘lined up and shot’ 🙂 Boris sometimes has illiberal ideas like this, which is why we need Mr Farage to help put him in a place where his success lies in making us happy. We often talk about Cameron as a man without principles, but I have changed my mind about this. He would probably resign rather than enact policies that ‘loons and fruitcakes’ might approve of.

  • Mr Ed

    PeterT, absolutely. Mr Cameron appears to be a hybrid of Messrs Heath and Major, of the latter, I recall arguing in the day to those who held that he was indecisive, that he was not, he took one decision in his life, and stuck to it like a limpet, the problem being that his decision was that he would be a total sh*t.

  • Mr Ed

    It seems however, that the Labour Party now wishes to regulate football club ownership, by forcing major clubs to accept a representative of fans onto the board.

    I fear that Mr Cameron would simply regard that as a policy to be matched.