The Scottish Mail on Sunday

Theresa’s Tories... as use­ful as a zom­bie on a bro­ken bike

WE are shocked by Vladimir Putin’s ma­cho re­marks about how he never has a bad day ‘be­cause he is not a woman’ and so does not go through ‘nat­u­ral cy­cles’ that make the fe­male sex more emo­tional. No Rus­sian would be even slightly dis­com­bob­u­lated by this s

- Peter Hitchens Read Peter’s blog at hitchens­blog.mailon­sun­day.co.uk and fol­low him on Twit­ter @clarkem­icah

THE laugh­able fail­ure of Mrs Theresa May’s empty, tremu­lous cam­paign was in fact pre­dictable. I sus­pected it would hap­pen. But I mostly kept quiet about it here for the past few weeks. This was not be­cause I have any time for Mrs May and her fee­ble, po­lit­i­cally cor­rect govern­ment, but be­cause I did not much want to help Jeremy Cor­byn ei­ther. And at elec­tion time, there’s no room for neu­tral­ity.

There’s one good out­come. This far­ci­cal un­wanted Elec­tion must surely have shown ev­ery­one a key fact – we now live in a coun­try where the sup­posed nat­u­ral party of govern­ment can no longer re­ally com­mand a ma­jor­ity.

That’s like hav­ing a fridge that doesn’t keep your food fresh, or a bi­cy­cle with no wheels. If we had any sense (do we?) we’d dump this dead, rot­ting fac­tion in the near­est skip or land­fill, and find a new one to re­place it. The Tories failed on Thurs­day be­cause they have long be­lieved in noth­ing and are in­ter­ested only in be­ing in of­fice.

They won in 2015 only be­cause of a grotesque splurge of mil­lion­aire do­na­tions, and ul­tra-ex­pen­sive black magic tech­niques, which partly made up for the col­lapse of their once-ma­jes­tic mem­ber­ship and the ma­chine it sup­ported.

They are, in ef­fect, a zom­bie party, lurch­ing and shuf­fling along in a pro­ces­sion of the un­dead, thanks to trans­fu­sions of money and the BBC’s an­cient broad­cast­ing rules, which guar­an­tee them air time.

What hap­pened next must be one of the strangest chap­ters in our his­tory. Labour (which had it­self be­come a zom­bie party un­der Blairite con­trol) changed its lead­er­ship elec­tion rules, and ac­ci­den­tally made it pos­si­ble for a real so­cial­ist to win. You’d never get a real con­ser­va­tive com­ing to the top of the Tory Party, which has elab­o­rate mech­a­nisms in place to stop that hap­pen­ing.

Od­der still, the man who won, Jeremy Cor­byn, was as­ton­ish­ingly old­fash­ioned, a coun­try-bred gram­mar school boy brought up by par­ents who had taken part in the great po­lit­i­cal strug­gles of the 1930s.

He is out of his time, which is no bad thing. To see him ad­dress a rally in mod­ern Bri­tain (as I have done) is a bit like go­ing to the sta­tion to catch your reg­u­lar com­muter ser­vice, and find­ing a steam train wait­ing at the plat­form – sur­pris­ing, nos­tal­gic, wheezy and an­cient, more or less cer­tain to break down, but won­der­fully pic­turesque.

It struck me as I watched him that he was far more dan­ger­ous than the Tories thought he was. His ab­so­lute courtesy and re­fusal to make per­sonal at­tacks ap­pealed to many in my gen­er­a­tion who re­mem­ber a dif­fer­ent and in some ways bet­ter Bri­tain.

HIS re­al­i­sa­tion that Ge­orge Os­borne’s sup­posed eco­nomic mir­a­cle was a sham, and that many have lost hope of get­ting steady, well-paid jobs or se­cure homes, ap­pealed to the young. He may not have any ac­tual an­swers to th­ese ques­tions, but he at least knew they were be­ing asked. His ab­so­lute op­po­si­tion to the re­peated stupid wars of re­cent years also has a wide ap­peal, in many cases to con­ser­va­tive-minded peo­ple and Ser­vice fam­i­lies sick of the waste of good lives.

A gen­uinely pa­tri­otic, so­cially con­ser­va­tive party might have had a proper re­sponse to th­ese things. But the Tory Party is not that. It is just a cold ma­chine which runs on gal­lons of ex­pen­sive snake oil. So it de­cided to at­tack Mr Cor­byn per­son­ally.

This bounced off him. In fact, the long Tory as­sault on Mr Cor­byn was his great­est as­set. When the cam­paign be­gan, and peo­ple had a chance to see what he was re­ally like, es­pe­cially his dogged po­lite­ness un­der fire, they did that rather mov­ing thing that Bri­tish peo­ple do when they see a lone in­di­vid­ual be­sieged by foes. They sided with him against his tor­men­tors.

It was no good rav­ing about Mr Cor­byn’s Sinn Fein con­nec­tions, when the Tories have them­selves com­pelled the Queen to have the grisly IRA gang­ster Martin McGuin­ness to din­ner at Wind­sor.

It’s not much good at­tack­ing his de­fence pol­icy when the Tories have cut the Army to rib­bons and the de­crepit rem­nants of the Navy sit mo­tion­less by the dock­side, thanks to Tory cheesepar­ing.

And now there’s an even big­ger prob­lem.

The young, who used not to bother, have be­gun to vote in large num­bers, and Jeremy Cor­byn has per­suaded them to do it. Labour’s 40 per cent of the vote, al­most 13 mil­lion bal­lots, re­flects this.

The Tories can­not rely for­ever on the fact that older vot­ers turn out more re­li­ably.

This is the last warn­ing con­ser­va­tive-minded peo­ple in this coun­try are likely to get.

Un­less they can find their own Cor­byn, a prin­ci­pled and gen­uinely pa­tri­otic lead­er­ship, no amount of money, and no amount of slick tech­nique can save them from a re­vived and newly con­fi­dent Left.

They failed to win this Elec­tion. There’s a strong chance they will ac­tu­ally lose the next one.

 ??  ?? ma­cho: Putin pos­ing for self­ies with a group of brides in Moscow
ma­cho: Putin pos­ing for self­ies with a group of brides in Moscow
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