The Coming Conservative Wipeout
Everything we are seeing from the Conservative party and its media supporters is about avoiding responsibility for a likely catastrophic generational defeat
A new YouGov poll today puts the Conservative Party on just 20%, with Labour commanding a huge 27-point lead.
If repeated at the general election, Rishi Sunak’s party would be estimated to lose all but 41 of their seats, with those facing the axe including Liz Truss, Suella Braverman and the Prime Minister himself.
As I write in the upcoming edition of Byline Times, the reasons for this collapse are clear. Over the past decade the Conservative Party has presided over an era of low growth, rising prices and failing public services, while being seen to repeatedly break the core bond of trust they struck with the electorate.
Whether it’s Brexit, Partygate, or ‘Levelling Up’, there has not been a single significant pledge made by the party over the past decade which it has met. The result is that voters have simply stopped listening to it.
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Yet if you’ve spent any time watching events in Westminster in recent weeks you might imagine that the real cause of their problems is quite different. Instead of being a result of their own dishonesty and failure, the impression given by both the leadership and its backbenches is that it has been as a result of failing to be unpleasant enough to migrants and refugees.
The lengths at which Downing Street has gone to confirm this impression, to the point of attempting to force civil servants to break international law in order to allow even harsher treatment, has been extraordinary to watch.
This morning the Prime Minister held yet another press conference in Downing Street on the issue, suggesting that the biggest priority facing the country was about not just “stopping the boats” but “starting the flights”.
Even the attacks against his opponents have been based on this same premise. Over recent weeks the Conservatives and their media outriders have pushed various dog whistle stories suggesting that the big problem with Keir Starmer is not his policies or plans for the country, but the suggestion that as a human rights lawyer he somehow wasn’t hard enough on foreign people.
At yesterday’s Prime Minister’s Questions Sunak even went to the lengths of waving around a textbook written by Starmer about European Human Rights, as if the very suggestion of him being expert on such matters should rule him out of public office.
When I pushed Sunak’s Press Secretary yesterday on what the point of this stunt was, she replied that it “showed what side his bread is buttered on”.
Yet what it really shows is the lengths at which the Conservative Party is now going to, to avoid any real responsibility for what now looks set to be a truly catastrophic defeat at the next general election.