Saturday, 22 April 2017
"They Have Nowhere Else To Go"
Conservative manifestos at General Elections used to promise to cut taxes. Yes, really. Now, though, that party will not even promise not to increase income tax, National Insurance or VAT. It is well to the left of where Tony Blair was on all three occasions.
Meanwhile, the 0.7 per cent overseas aid target remains. The immigration target is the same one as last time and the time before, and which they have already spectacularly failed to meet, mostly while Theresa May was Home Secretary. The only nod to the Right is the electorally toxic failure to guarantee the Triple Lock that they themselves brought in.
UKIP is over. Nigel Farage has withdrawn from active politics. Paul Nuttall has yet to announce in which, if any, seat he will be standing. If May were to win, then she could sack whoever she liked, restoring the old Foreign Secretaryship and giving it to one of her own supporters.
With George Osborne out of Parliament, even the other, newer Left of her own party has at least gone into exile. Along with the odd Blairite mate, it now does the commentary, but not the playing of the game itself.
But, whereas the Labour Left and the allies to its left are leading, the Conservative Right and the forces to its right are no longer even following. Politically, they have ceased to exist. And that definition of the Right is not a particularly exacting one. It means anyone who wants a General Election manifesto commitment not to increase income tax, National Insurance or VAT.
Merely to hold that view is now to be as confined to the Loony Corner as it was when the young Theresa Brasier first joined the Conservative Party, which was before Margaret Thatcher became its Leader. Now, as then, "They have nowhere else to go." And this time, it is perfectly possible that they never will have.