The sequence of events at the Tory conference have not shored up support for the Prime Minister, neither the grassroots, the faithful or industry are convinced that Theresa May has the imagination and decisiveness to deliver the policies that resolve the housing demand, engage the young and exit the European Union. The conference was a tepid occasion with Theresa May demonstrating she is offering more of the same. The ovation she got for coughing was out of compassion, not support. May was wearing a bracelet of mini portraits of Frida Kahlo, the communist Mexican artist inspired by Marxist ideology that offered her credentials as a red Tory and suggesting she is a social justice warrior, without the talent to be Prime Minister. The most positive headlines coming out of the conference were about how organ-donation would now be opt-out, as opposed to opt-in, not the radical reforms to housing policy and the Brexit no-deal details activists were anticipating. Even the Conference theme tune “You’ve got the Love” by Florence and the Machine caused controversy, with Florence Welch disassociating her band’s approval of the song’s use.
Boris Johnson delivered a storming speech affirming One Nation Conservatism and a Global Britain to a packed and appreciative house. His parting punch was for the British Tory to start roaring. Nearly everyone wanted a selfie with free marketeer Jacob Rees-Mogg, who many believe is keeping the door open for Boris.
This week Tory grandees Michael Heseltine and Michael Portillo called for time-up for May. Then Grant Schapps, former party Chairman, called for the PM to resign on Sky News, backed up by a brutal editorial in George Osborne’s Evening Standard. Before the Conference all the backstabbing was behind closed doors, now it is full on in public. Schapps is said to have at least 40 MPs on his rebel list; only 48 are needed for a vote of no confidence.
The speculation is that this “coup” is designed to look like it has fallen flat on its face, but in reality, it has started the ball a giant snowball rolling. The MPs tweeting support are possibly a smokescreen for the revolution Cameron and Osborne friends are stirring up and not just amongst bitter Remainers. One Tory source says “the snowball will continue to grow and engulf all the Tory snowflakes by Christmas”; referring to the speculation that pre the Christmas recess and after the EU Transition Deal has been signed in December there will be a leadership challenge.
Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, is worried about her slim majority in Hastings. Lord Feldman, previously Party Chairman has engaged Lynton Crosby to work on Rudd’s campaign strategy and increase her popularity; a centrally organised campaign action day in Hastings is planned in late October with all 300 Party candidates whipped in to campaign. It is known that Boris Johnson is holding informal Conservative association wooing events this autumn in Orpington and Bexley. All this indicates a huge dissatisfaction with the current leadership.
The Tories have already been shown up as inept at social media during the election but the incompetence continued this week with Number 10 putting out Instagram posts that showed an out-dated mindset; the photographs were scaled wrong (rectangular not square) and the grandfatherly Conservatives featured without captions made them look foolish.
It is time that the young and rising intakes of 2015-2017 made a move to modernise the party. The names to watch are James Cleverly, MP for Braintree also just appointed Chairman of Conservative Way Forward, an influential pressure group, and Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth, former military Captain and member of the Defence and Health Select-Committees.