The Tory Party has changed its stance on all manner of issues over its recent past, so much so that at times the question is asked as to what it really stands for. The answer can be put directly: the Tory Party is the party of the Establishment. It can therefore always look after itself. And, when successful, its politics has less to do with ideology than the base desire to keep hold of the levers of power.
Both of those facets of modern Toryism have been illustrated superbly by Theresa May’s former head spinner Nick Timothy, who co-authored the disastrous manifesto for June’s General Election. The Establishment has looked after him, just as it has looked after Young Dave and his equally inept former next door neighbour, the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet.
Nick Timothy’s manifesto was the main reason the Tories pissed away a 21 point poll lead, and here he ignored the crucial Tory principle: stuff ideological purity, just do what is needed to keep hold of power. Instead, he has mused “While I accept that the manifesto might have been too ambitious … I worry that the implication of this argument is that politicians should not be straight with the electorate”.
But it wasn’t “too ambitious”, it was one long suicide note, written in support of a crap candidate who was unable, or unwilling, to engage with her adoring public. But the Establishment has rewarded his failure with two regular newspaper columns, one in the increasingly downmarket and desperate Telegraph, and another in the Murdoch Sun. Ineptitude and a tin ear working together can be most rewarding.
And today has brought the first fruits of his relationship with the Tel, as he has made “the case for the Conservatives to maintain the spirit of the manifesto he co-authored, which contained policies such as lifting the ban on grammar schools and an unpopular social care shakeup that was branded a dementia tax”. You read that right.
He added another gem. “Overall the lesson of the election for the party and for the government cannot be: ‘Oh well, we tried that and we didn’t win the election we were hoping for so let’s not try it any more’ … if the party retreats to a much more orthodox Conservative proposition then I worry that won’t be sufficient to tackle the big problems that the country has”. The orthodox proposition that keeps your party in power, eh?
The air of unreality continues as he tries and fails to explain why it all went wrong: “We probably didn’t communicate as well as we could have done, directly with the public and the media, and probably to a certain extent around Whitehall”. Nick Timothy, his colleagues and his boss had most of the Fourth Estate cheerleading for them, and here he is blubbering about not communicating the Tory message.
That is utter bullshit. The communication was all too effective: dementia tax, fox hunting, grammar schools, all were either needless diversions or downright toxic. And rather than doing the decent thing - slinking off and keeping quiet - back comes the architect of the whole disaster, now celebrated as a great Tory Thinker.
Nick Timothy’s reward for failure tells you all you need to know about how out of touch the right-wing press has become, and how the Tory Party has totally lost the plot.