If only the Tories were in the last death throes of their long and distinguished existence. At least that would suggest a desperate desire to endure in the face of near certain expiration. Instead, they’re more like a farting corpse. What seems like the odd flicker of life, even hope, turns out to be nothing more than hot air burping from the backside of a dead political party.
Let’s take their leader’s response to last week’s local election results as a case in point. They were a calamity. The Tories lost more than 1,300 seats. But Theresa May - in her unique and now fabled ability to deny reality - responded by pointing the finger of blame at the House of Commons. The public had punished the two main parties for failing to deliver Brexit, she opined. In other words, they don’t blame her; they blame those pesky politicians for voting against her Withdrawal Agreement.
Unsurprisingly, there was neither an ounce of contrition born of a sense of personal responsibility for the disaster, nor an indication of, having listened to the people, a change in her government's approach. Indeed, in her mind, the results were not a demonstration of the unpopularity of her agreement; they were a protest against the two main parties and, in particular, the stubborn ERG, for failing to get it through the House of Commons. Her uncanny predilection for self-deception is truly mind-blowing. She now seems to believe that the public’s anger will be pacified by a deal with Jeremy Corbyn that ties us to a ‘customs arrangement’. As I said, truly mind-blowing.
It’s not just about Theresa May, though. It’s about the entire Tory Party, both anti-democrat Remainers and craven Brexiteers, most of whom, like Boris, have sat back and raised the odd objection but, in reality, done nothing to stop May’s betrayal. I realise that this sounds counter-intuitive, but in order to save at least a semblance of something that could claim to be the heir to the Conservative tradition, they should have forced a split and taken many of the grassroots activists with them, calling themselves something like the Real Conservatives. Fortune favours the brave. It’s too late now, though. Farage’s party has beaten them to it.
If they want to save their seats - putting the survival of the Tory Party to one side for a moment - their only hope is to defect to the Brexit Party now. Even this, though, may not work. Tory Brexiteers are tainted by their inaction, and that includes – and I say this with a heavy heart – Jacob Rees-Mogg. As a result, the Brexit Party may not accept them anyway, justifiably seeing them as an electoral liability. I certainly won’t vote for them, and I’ve always considered myself to be a natural Conservative. Furthermore, the party has proven itself to be so incompetent, so craven, so dishonest and so full of charlatans, that I don’t think I can ever vote for its representatives again.
At first glance, it is obvious that the Conservative Party faces an existential crisis. However, when one witnesses the Prime Minister’s woeful, purblind response to last week’s electoral disaster, her wilful refusal to accept reality and change course, and the prevarication and procrastination of the party’s Brexit wing which impotently looks on, one realises that it’s already dead. The party’s various leadership contenders vying for the top spot are a bunch of zombies talking to themselves.