Tories cannot find enough candidates for local elections in May 2018
By Chris Bovey
The news the Conservative Party has not been able to find enough candidates to fight in next May’s elections has been greeted by some as the beginning of the end of the Conservative Party.
In reality, the demise of the Conservative Party started in the early 90s. The quick abolishment of the Poll Tax and change in the leader to John Major gave them an unexpected fourth general election victory, but only with a small majority, which was whittled away by successive by-election defeats, his government held to ransom by the loons on the right who now control the party.
It was all downhill from there, they lost so many Councillors in the 1990s, often coming third in the national vote behind the Liberal Democrats. Major’s government plagued with new sleaze allegations on an almost daily basis, not helped by his “Back to Basics” speech that called for family values, when it turned out many of his MPs (including Sir John) had been having extra-marital affairs. I don’t judge people who play around a bit, but don’t moralise to me about family values if you’re cheating on your wife.
As Major stumbled from disaster to disaster, the Prime Ministerial and popular Labour Leader, John Smith, unexpectedly died, he was replaced by the young charismatic Blair who modernised the Labour Party even more than Smith. The Tories had been in power for 18 years, the Tory scare tactics that worked so well for them in the previous four general elections didn’t work in 1997. The Lib Dems made their first breakthrough under FPTP, as people’s response to the Tory slogan “vote Lib Dem, get Labour” was now “so what?”
Labour managed to stay in power for 13 years, had they not reneged on their promise for electoral reform, we wouldn’t be in any of this mess now. The Iraq War made them unpopular, the banking crisis, broken promises, disenfranchising the left of the party by introducing right-wing policies, left Labour a far cry from the seemingly invisible New Labour of Tony Blair that won three elections, two by landslides. Yet despite this, the Tories couldn’t get an overall majority in 2010 and needed the help of the Lib Dems to form a government, who watered down their right-wing agenda.
Finally, after 18 years the Tories won a majority in the Commons in 2015, but not a very big one, which was always going to make life difficult for them.
That didn’t last long, they needlessly threw away their majority thanks to the General Election called last year by Theresa May and now have to rely on the votes of ten DUP religious bigot MPs to get through legislation, paid for with a £1 billion-pound bribe from the magic money tree they told us during the election campaign did not exist.
We have an embarrassing bumbling fool as Foreign Secretary, the grinning Brexit Minister, David Davis, is equally inept. We have Jeremy Hunt who is systematically trying to destroy the NHS, privatising it by stealth, so his mates can make a quick buck. They have a Remainer Chancellor who while appears to be vaguely competent is dull as dishwater and is trying to push through something he doesn’t believe in, because he knows full well Brexit cannot work, but is held to ransom by the Tory right.
The Brits are not as stupid as the Tories take them for. They don’t want a two-tier underfunded health service for profit, they want their teachers to teach, not to be bogged down in reams of bureaucracy, they don’t want their kids to be marred in debt should they go to university, they don’t want the economy to be stagnant, they don’t want to see a decline in living standards and the average Brit does not earn enough to give a hoot if measures are introduced to make it more difficult for multimillionaires or big corporations to avoid paying tax. We are a nation of animal lovers and care about the environment, so fox hunting and fracking are never going to be massive vote winners.
The Conservative Party’s average membership age is purportedly 70 and they have only seventy thousand members, whereas Labour has over half a million and the Lib Dems have over one hundred thousand. The Tories are a party in decline, they have a leader who is out of her depth, devoid of charisma, they’re winging it day by day, but this charade cannot last forever and the cracks are already starting to show.
Meanwhile, as Parliament is bogged down with Brexit, very little else is getting done, although given the propensity of the Tory Party to make bad laws, maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Then we have the bandwagon effect. The Tories are demoralised, whereas Labour and Lib Dems are enthused. I expect the opposition political parties will be targeting a large number of Tory council seats, they have the foot troops on the ground to knock and doors or deliver leaflets, the Tories do not. Additionally, due to their increased membership, the opposition parties are in good finances, so there’s a more level playing field there and no amount of money can buy the volunteers on the ground that Labour and Lib Dems have, but the Tories do not.
The decline in newspaper readership is also not good news for the Tories. People are starting to see through the propaganda, or not reading it at all, preferring to get their news from more left-leaning online e-zines.
All governments tend to get a bloody nose in mid-term local elections, I would not be surprised if the Tories don’t just get a bloody nose in May’s elections, but a knockout blow. There is literally no enthusiasm in the country for the Tory party, the smears on Corbyn have been so relentless they’ve become tedious and people take not much notice of them. Yes, there are some centre right people who might have voted for Blair, but will never vote for Corbyn, yet on the other hand, as we saw last year, there are a lot of covert Corbyn voters who put their cross against Labour at the last election, because they secretly backed the underdog and thought nothing could be worse than the Tories.
The UK has always voted by a majority for parties on the left, yet due to the unfair FPTP voting system, it allows Tory governments with a minority share of the vote to get in, however, 1987 was the last time the Conservatives won an election with a substantial majority, that’s over 30 years ago.
George Osborne was right when he described May as a ‘dead woman walking’ … ordinarily, if a Tory leader needlessly threw away a parliamentary majority, they’d be toast, but nobody wants the job, so she’s hopelessly clinging on without a clue what to do. She’s toast, it’s just a very slow toaster.
It’s not a question of if, but when will they lose power. A Labour majority government is not an easy task with the SNP holding most seats in Scotland, so another Hung Parliament is more likely. Even if the Lib Dems’ national vote remains where it is, as they did before, with strategic targeting they could snatch a few seats from the Tories and there are a number of Tory seats with very precarious majorities over Labour. There are also Labour MPs with small majorities, but historically it’s the governing party that has difficulty holding onto seats with small majorities, not Opposition MPs.
The fact the Tories cannot enough find candidates to field in these elections is living proof they are in demise and in serious trouble. Truth is the Tory brand has always been toxic, but they’ve never had to convince a majority of the electorate to form a government. The dinosaur blue rinse brigade is dying off the electoral register being replaced by younger non-Tory voters; this has been happening for some time and it’s irreversible. No doubt when they take a hammering in the local elections, they’ll say the usual spin about mid-term blues, yet that will not stop the Tory party being a wounded dog hopelessly limping from one catastrophe to another. The sooner they are put out of their misery, the better for all in this country, I only hope when the Tory / DUP alliance is gone we change the voting system to never allow these vile creatures in government again on a minority share of the vote.