Monday, May 16, 2005

Boris backs modernisers. Not.

I realise you shouldn't just crib vast swathes of other people's stuff, but this bit of Boris from last week's Spectator is simply too good to pass over:

'At this point in articles of this kind, the authors (invariably Tory MPs, often leadership candidates) start talking about what we must do to reunite, rebuild, renew, rejuvenate and reconstitute the Conservative party. They tend to say things like ‘it is time to reconnect with real people and talk the language they understand’, as though we’d all been speaking Serbo-Croat. They then whiffle about root and branch reform, and the need to modernise, and reach out to the young, and to women, and to the Welsh, and to bemoan the appalling fact that so many Tory constituencies continue to select corpulent young men in suits, many of them avowedly heterosexual and blah blah fishcakes.

There will be much of that in the coming months, some of it, who knows, in these pages. Many of these pieces are marked by a certain hysteria, and have headlines like, ‘Why we must change or die!’ or ‘We just don’t begin to understand how much they hate us! I mean HATE us’ or ‘Bring back Portillo!’ Well, I accept that we are in trouble, but some incorrigible optimism persuades me that it is very far from fatal. The government is all over the place, with Blair about to hand over to a Scottish MP, at a time when the Tories won more votes in England than did Labour.

There is certainly no case (or market) for some spastic lurch to the Right, or some hilarious attempt to ‘modernise’ and become less ‘weird’. All politicians are basically weird; the electorate accepts that, and they find few things more embarrassing than watching us pretend to be normal by wearing face ornaments or open-neck shirts or coming out as gay.

What we need is a bit more sensible, generous One-Nation Conservatism, with heaps of uplift, that is instinctively in favour of small government and makes a thorough-going attempt to re-establish the link — so universally broken by Labour — between effort and reward. On the whole, we want to be the party of aspiration, achievement, energy, enterprise and hope, not fear. How about that, just for starters? Get that right, and we’ll win next time, and win big.'

Sounds like DD.


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