Politics professor and polling guru Tim Bale’s second book on the Conservative Party lays bare the chaos and incompetence of our government in the post-Brexit era.
Bale’s first book examined how the party evolved from the leadership of Margaret Thatcher to that of David Cameron. That book covered a timeframe of more than 20 years and encompassed five Conservative leaders (Thatcher, John Major, William Hague, Ian Duncan Smith, Michael Howard and Cameron) while this one examines the fortunes of four party leaders (Theresa May, Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak) in just seven years, a handy demonstrator of the scale of turmoil at the top.
The book is both an entertaining and depressing read, chronicling how the Conservatives shot themselves in the foot in the 2017 election before wrestling back control of Parliament two years later only to shit the bed on an industrial scale, an 80-seat majority thrown away with electoral oblivion appearing inevitable.
Bale examines how the Conservatives have changed beyond recognition since the pre-Brexit days and Cameron’s attempts to rebrand the party as ‘compassionate Conservatives.’ Cameron’s modus operandi in the run up to the 2010 election was to detoxify the party, arguably succeeding by winning an election with an ostensibly more liberal agenda – albeit with their hand forced by an unholy alliance with the Liberal Democrats.
Post-Brexit, Cameron resigned to spend more time with his
pigs offshore investments family, and May was left stuck in debt to the delirious Democratic Unionist Party and the self-proclaimed ‘Brexit Spartans’ on the Tory backbenches.
Johnson’s solution to a divided Conservative Party was to purge it, expelling any remainers and those on the party’s centre right to create the most right wing government since the height of Thatcherism.
The final chapters of the book accelerate the story of decline with Johnson’s eventual ousting for one scandal too many and the ill-fated premiership of delusional pork market fetishist Liz Truss crashing the pound and any hope of a Conservative majority in 2024.
Bale looks to the future, including Sunak’s mission impossible of salvaging a decent return when Britain goes to the polls next autumn. He paints a picture of a party that is deeply divided and could probably do with a spell of soul-searching in opposition.
The Conservatives recently celebrated overtaking New Labour’s 13-year spell in power. This book lays bare how much of that time and power they have wasted.
The Conservative Party after Brexit: Turmoil and transformation’ is available to purchase now on Amazon and all good booksellers.