Most of the mainstream press is on their side. The broadcast media keeps on giving them a free pass. The Pundit Establishment overwhelmingly backs them. But all this cannot insulate the Tories from reality. And the reality tells us that our Prime Minister and her closest political pals are not only utterly tone-deaf, not merely desperately out of touch, but increasingly close to breaking apart over crises of their own making.
The issue which has exposed the tone-deafness has been the plight of the Windrush Generation: British Citizens losing their jobs, their homes and their right to live in the country they call home, all because of a hostile attitude to migration, and a policy underpinning it which is so inept that it has caught up hundreds of the country’s own citizens. Windrush claimed Amber Rudd. But it didn’t stop there.
Now has come a move from Labour which has once again exposed the wrong-footedness of our Government. As the Guardian reported yesterday, “Labour will use a so-called humble address motion on Wednesday to ask for all papers, correspondence and advice on Windrush between ministers, senior officials and advisors from May 2010 until now”.
There was more. “This would be handed to the Commons home affairs committee and would include information about any detentions or deportations, the setting of deportation targets, and how the policies were seen as affecting people’s lives”. The potential upshot of this move? “If successful, the tactic could undermine the government’s attempts to insulate Theresa May from the crisis”. The Tories are in check. But is it check mate?
Tory MPs are being whipped to vote against the Labour motion. This has played straight into The Red Team’s hands, with accusations of cover-up and an opposition spokesman telling “if the architect of this cruel farce, the prime minister, is ordering her MPs to vote to keep her role in this mess hidden from the public, it exposes the Tories’ crocodile tears on the Windrush scandal as a sham”. The vote will come at around 1900 hours.
But that isn’t the Tories’ only problem: back into view has come the spectre of Brexit, in the form of the Customs Union, which they claim not to be joining. Instead, there will be a so-called Customs Partnership (see ITV Political Editor Robert Peston’s musings on that idea HERE). The European Research Group of Tory MPs doesn’t want it. Bozza’s “friends” say he may walk out of the cabinet over it (like heck). Both current options have already been rejected by Brussels. Can Theresa May hold her team together?
She could get through today, but the increasingly fractured and fractious Tories then have tomorrow’s round of local elections to digest. If they do badly - that would mean losing more than one council in London, for instance - then back under the cosh goes the Prime Minister. The Tories don’t want to lose her as PM, but don’t have a credible unifying successor, and dread another General Election campaign like last year’s.
But they can’t stop falling out over Brexit, they’re utterly out of touch and heartless over the Windrush scandal, and those local elections might just tip them over the edge.
We may be about to live in yet more of those momentous times.