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
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.