These were Tory stalwarts, always willing to leaflet, canvass, buy raffle tickets and support events. When I resigned from the Council and quit the Conservatives they were still there, plugging away, doing their bit to further what they believed to be conservatism. I lost touch with them when I withdrew from party politics, but hadn’t forgotten them.
With the county council elections coming up, I asked them how the campaigning was going. I admit to being shocked to find that they had all left the Conservatives two years ago. There are people in every party that one can look at and think, ‘their heart’s not in it, they’ll pack it in before long’. But these three were not people one could ever have imagined as capable of being so disaffected as to walk away. Enough, it turns out, was enough. Everyone has different motives for their actions, so naturally an enquiry was made about why they had all quit (they are all unrelated but long standing friends of each other). The answer in each case was… David Cameron.
It transpires true blue, ‘instinctive eurosceptic’ Dave has managed to alienate members so much that these hardcore, grassroots supporters who are the engine room of election campaigns, had turned their back on the party. They cited Cameron’s hypocrisy over EU membership, his refusal to cut spending so only the essentials are funded, and his indecent haste to jettison conservative principles in favour of Lib Dem and consensus fudges that suit no one but the establishment. And, they were adamant, they are not going back. They have come around to sharing my view that Cameron isn’t conservative and what is on offer is materially no different from that advanced by the Lib Dems and Labour.
If this is indicative of the sentiments of conservatives who have left the Conservative party in their droves in recent years, it is hard to see the party continuing to function as an electoral force within a few years. Nominal members who don’t campaign are nowhere near as important as those who gave their time and money to support candidates – and it is these who appear to be walking away.
Thanks to Cameron’s arrogance and the existance of a vacuum where his conviction and principle is supposed reside, the Tories are in serious decline. The party is swiftly becoming representative only of the muddled views of its small cabal of power brokers and it is losing the very people who it relies upon at election time to secure support and get out the vote.
The problem the Conservatives have is that there are too few conservatives left in the parliamentary party. So fixing a problem like Dave looks to be an impossible task. If he is replaced in an effort to rejuvinate the party’s electoral fortunes, it will only be another stuffed suit taking the helm with the same immunity to the notion of representative politics, the same craven complicity to the global governance agenda, the same anti democratic pro-EU position, and the same reluctance to tackle the admittedly herculean task of reforming the economy and reducing the size and scope of government.
Voters have increasingly seen this and stay away from the ballot box in increasing numbers. But now Dave and the other rent seekers are finding their legitimacy is being questioned by their own party members. The foundations are crumbling. But until there is a fundamental reform of the way government is controlled and run in this country – as per the demands promoted by the carefully developing Harrogate Agenda campaign – the elite will continue to pass power between themselves and become ever more distant from the real world outside the establishment bubble centred on Westminster.
The Only Way is Harrogate.