Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Not Proper, Tories

A well-run political party would have withdrawn the whip from Anna Soubry last night. But she does not speak solely for herself. Even with the DUP, this Government does not in fact have a signed and sealed majority in the House of Commons. At least two categories of Conservative MPs are effectively functioning as separate parties, with which no deal has so much as been attempted, and Soubry is the voice of one of them, which is the larger.

Of course, neither Boris Johnson nor Jacob Rees-Mogg would ever receive enough nominations to contest a Leadership Election. Jeremy Corbyn managed to do so because the Labour Party has a sentimental streak a mile wide, because Labour MPs do often have some regard for the views of party members in their constituencies, and because many of those members have heard of Facebook and Twitter. None of those three allegations has ever been made against the Conservative Party, nor ever will be.

Johnson has already tried and failed once to make it onto the ballot. When it looked as if the party's rank and file might elect Andrea Leadsom, and she is no Jacob Rees-Mogg, then the Leadership Election was simply cancelled, and that was that. Those members duly doffed their caps and went about their business.

The Labour Party has always thought of its left wing as its potty old auntie. Most people like their potty old aunties, or wish that they had one. But the Conservative Party has always thought of its right wing as its stroppy teenage stepchild. Few, if any, people like their stroppy teenage stepchildren, or wish that they had one.

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