No-one expected intelligence, fresh ideas or cohesive strategies from this year’s Tory conference in Manchester and, so, no-one was disappointed.
The farce has had three main facets to its pointlessness: Clownish infighting, blatant lies about effects of destructive Tory policy and, most notably, fear.
Reluctant leadership contenders
The Tory party has a procedure whereby a leadership challenge can occur at any time if there is sufficient support for a named challenger. Therefore, any Tory MP who thinks May is inept and wants to change the leader is able to start the process of her removal. None of them have declared their intention to challenge. All are too weak, too fearful and too cowardly to present themselves openly as a challenger to her. Instead, they snipe, both publicly and privately, at May, at her decisions and at the performances and merits of other likely challengers. Fox, Hammond, Johnson, Davis, Rudd, Gove, Morgan, Fallon, Greening, Collins, Green, Davidson, etc. are all spreading gossip, making barely disguised jibes and contradicting their colleagues recklessly. It is an unedifying clown fight and has featured throughout the Tory conference.
Right-wing think-tank keep the lies flowing
As always, right-wing think-tanks have sponsored, organised and infested many of the fringe meetings at the Tory conference. The relationship between Tories and these think-tanks is symbiotic: The latter informs the former but components of the former populate the latter. The dual purpose of all the right-wing think-tanks is 1) to devise and present new methods of stealing from the public to feed the wealthiest elite and 2) to devise new confidence tricks to dupe the public into believing that the aforesaid theft is not happening and that everything is in their interests.
At this week’s conference the think-tank con artists have been working hard to try to present the most recent destructive Tory policies as positive, including universal credit, further savage cuts to the NHS, huge rises to the cost of university education for students, consequences of devastating cuts to fire service (Grenfell) and police (terrorism), abject lack of affordable housing and, of course, the shambolic or non-existent Brexit negotiations. However, nothing is too much of a challenge for the fraudsters at the ever-growing steaming pile of right-wing think-tanks.
Links to brief descriptions of some right-wing think-tanks:
Institute of Economic Affairs
Centre For Social Justice
Centre for Policy Studies
The Bow Group
Institute For Free Trade
Adam Smith Institute
Despite the possibility of four and half years before the next general election the Tories are scared. This fear is not just fear of losing an election, it is the fear of a fundamental change in how the country is governed. The Tories’ fear is for the future of extremely exploitative capitalism. They fear that the means for an elite few to thoroughly and relentlessly exploit the majority will be greatly reduced by a change in government. The Tories’ fear is for the financial gangsters for whom they work. It is the same fear an employee of Al Capone or of the Kray Twins would have if the protection racket was being challenged.
This stench of fear has filled every orifice of the Tory conference, every speech and every conversation, candid or otherwise. The fear can be heard when the Tories make wild easily refuted claims about the impact of their policies, it can be heard when they make tired old comments about Labour or about socialism, comments whose solidity dissipated long ago, and it can be heard in the unnatural cadence and fake enthusiasm of every speech. Philip Hammond demonstrated this fear when he apologised to a room full of wealth terrorists for his party’s inability to stem the re-emergence of a genuine opposition; he sounded like a cheap hood apologising to the Dons.
For everyone else, the Tories’ fear is nectar. We should enjoy it.