Wednesday 4 October 2017

After the Worst Speech Ever

The worst speech by a serving party leader in British political history? A fitting end then to the most downbeat and dreadful Tory Party conference in recent memory. Worse, I would wager, than even 1997. Then, reeling from a deserved drubbing, crumbs of comfort could be found in knowing New Labour did not offer a programme qualitatively different from theirs. Business was safe, the trade unions were cowed and Blair appeared to have won the election partly because he had stolen Tory policies. This year's gathering differed because they know in their bones the tide of history is going out for them. Socialism and, horror of horrors, communism are back and they do not understand why (clue: it's not rocket science), let alone have the means of taking them on.

Theresa May's dreadful conference speech was a perfect summation of her party. But in between the sputters and the cracking of her voice, was anything of substance said? Not really. While Brexit dominates all, rightly cursing the party and turning them all mad, May knows her Corbyn-shaped vulnerabilities are thanks to her weak domestic agenda which, as we saw last year, was considered her strongest suit. Indeed, at the height of her pomp part of her appeal derived from offering something that differed from the usual Tory dog-eat-dog. How times change. She needs to desperately get back on to this ground if she's to stop Labour's tanks from rolling in, and so her big announcements were the energy price freeze (Marxism gets everywhere these days), an extra £2bn for "affordable homes" and build more council houses. There was guff too about "the British dream", May's attempt at grabbing some of the hope gloss for her punch drunk premiership. And that was it. Never has a Prime Minister been exposed to this an excruciating humiliation in service of so little.

The question then is now what? As much as May wants to be remembered for something other than throwing away an election and buggering up Brexit, her domestic efforts are going to get overshadowed by enemies within and without. Even trying to get the talks back on track finds herself overshadowed by the latest round of Boris Johnson's treachery. As his window of opportunity closes further with every passing day, he's almost daring the Prime Minister to sack him.

Quite apart from the wider political and structural problems the Tories face, surely something has to give before long. A government this incompetent and this disloyal ordinarily would not be able to hold together. Alas, these are not ordinary times. They will cling on because the Tories fear Labour more than any government led by one of our unedifying wannabes, regardless of the damage done to themselves and the country. We can then expect this farce to drag on and on and on.


Dialectician1 said...

Watching Newsnight last night, you'd think May had had the equivalence of an oratorical orgasm. Evan Davis, surrounded by pundits, hacks from The Times and a Tory minister reconstructed the debacle and attempted to repackage the speech as: a resilient and stoical PM, against a cynical world, capable of using self-deprecating humour to deal with her head cold and some mischievous high-spirited antics from her own party. Then, in post-coital embrace with hubby, she whispers to him, 'how was it for you darling?'

Boffy said...

Actually, its a good job that there were so many other entertaining distractions from May's Speech, for the Tories, because without them, the total vacuousness and lack of anything of substance the Tories have to say would have been exposed even more.

In part its because they have no idea what to do next, in part its because May cannot make any clear policies for fear of setting off one wing of her party as against the other. Even the idea of building an insignificant 5,000 council houses a year, upset some of the diehards, because they see it as a measure that might cause house prices to fall, and upset all of their elderly constituents who have deluded themselves that they have become wealthier as a result, as well as all of the Tories base amongst the landed and financial oligarchy whose fictitious wealth is based upon a continuation of the bubbles in property and financial assets.

Labour should hope the Tories don't give May her P45, for a while, because not only is she clearly useless, but for as long as she stays there, they will continue ripping themselves apart.

sandra bowes-rennox said...

Well I had a good laugh...They crash of a speech reflects the Tories stumbling from one disaster to another..there a liability and a danger.