Make no mistake the conservative party conference was a disaster. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending “everything is ok” is not going to get us out of this mess.
It is hard not to watch Theresa May and feel a sense of sympathy. I cannot think of many who have the mental strength to cope with everything she has had to deal with over the last few months. She clearly is not up to the job and being propped up by a conservative party terrified of the consequences of a leadership election. In my lifetime I am yet to see a leader’s speech delivered at a party conference as bad as the one we saw last week.
It was not just the pathetic prankster, the coughing and the set falling apart that made this awful. The content of the speech itself showed a complete lack of ideas. Theresa’s speech painted a depressing vision of a country falling apart. Despite all the rhetoric from the left wing media the truth is the country is doing quite well. Amongst other things unemployment is at record lows, inequality is falling, more people from disadvantaged backgrounds are going to university and the deficit is very close to being eliminated. Yet listening to Theresa you would think it was all doom and gloom.
Earlier in the conference we listened to the business secretary Greg Clarke talk about defending the free market, yet the key policies to come out of the week were a cap on energy prices, government intervention in the housing market and a freezing of tuition fees. A capitulation of the argument to Jeremy Corbyn’s labour. Competitive free markets are the best way to deliver “for the many not the few”. The conservative party is supposed to be about defending the free market. Before doing anything else we must return to doing so. This is now a matter of national importance. The millennial generation who voted in their droves for Labour at the last election need to hear this.
The other issue looming over the conference was the seemingly divergent positions of the foreign secretary and the prime minister over Brexit. Personally I am a fan of Boris. His politics are much closer to the libertarian wing of the party than Theresa’s. Along with Ruth Davidson he is one of the few top Tories who speaks with energy and charisma. A proven leader and winner. From the prime minister’s perspective however the inability to remove him from his post is a sign of her weakness.
It is no surprise that the week ended with a plot to remove the prime minister from her post. This time it was Grant Shapps, next time it will be someone else. It is now only a matter of time before the PM falls. Fall she must, both for her sake and for the sake of the party.