One of the greatest misconceptions put out by liberal (and in some cases conservative) media was that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson was Britain’s version of Donald Trump. If this comparison had any merit, then the country may not be in the precarious state it currently finds itself in.
In reality, both Boris Johnson and his eventual successor Rishi Sunak are so far removed from Donald Trump it is almost laughable. While Trump’s agenda was broadly conservative with a strong populist and nationalist bent, the program put out by Britain’s Tory Party is anything but. As the celebrated conservative thinker Peter Hitchens points out, the party is far closer to a Socialist Worker’s Party than anything resembling conservatism.
Johnson, who was deposed in July following a slew of scandals pertaining to his lack of adherence to his own COVID policies, won a landslide victory in December 2019 on a mandate to finally take Britain out of the European Union and challenge the institutional left that ultimately governs the country.
Since then, Johnson and Sunak have pursued the exact opposite agenda, leaving their voters demoralized and the country on the precipice. Human Events takes a look at what has gone wrong.
Despite Margaret Thatcher’s immense legacy on both her party and society, the current Conservative leadership has zero interest in replicating her ideas. Britain is a high-tax and high-spend state with a deficit higher than 100 percent of total GDP.
Although Prime Minister Liz Truss attempted to reduce taxes in her short-lived time in Downing Street, her refusal to cut spending led to a negative market reaction that ended up destroying her premiership.
Under Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, the government has unveiled a series of tax rises that will inevitably make the economy less competitive. The budget included some spending cuts, but still well short of what is required to restore the country’s finances back to a reasonable shape, with the deficit currently standing at a whopping £177 billion ($200 million USD).
Illegal (and legal) immigration
One of the main factors behind Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was a desire to see a radical reduction in immigration, both legal and illegal. The Conservative Party made repeated promises to tackle the issue, but has sadly done anything but.
Legal migration continues to reach record highs, with gross legal migration topping out at 1.2 million in 2021 alone. With illegal migration included, this figure could be closer to two million. In cities such as Birmingham and Leicester, left-wing media are gleefully reporting that native British people are now in the minority. What they fail to mention is the growing animosity between Muslim and Hindu communities that has recently led to violent altercations.
Meanwhile, the country’s southern border faces almost daily invasion by large groups of Albanian men arriving on small boats, many of whom have links to organized crime. While public opinion overwhelmingly wants the government to send the people back, they are instead accommodated in fancy hotels that are said to be costing the taxpayer £2.5 billion ($3 billion USD) a year.
COVID and lockdowns
When the COVID outbreak began, Johnson imposed one of the world’s longest and most draconian lockdowns, devastating the economy, trampling on civil liberties, and torpedoing the lives of tens of millions of people. In order to protect those unable to work, the government launched a furlough scheme costing £70 billion ($80 million USD) over an 18-month period. Now that era appears to be behind us, the question now being asked is how they intend to pay for it.
Although they are regularly labeled right-wing by the liberal media, the Conservative Party’s top brass is fully signed up to all aspects of the woke agenda. The party is known to aggressively fly the LGBT flag, while most MPs are supportive of Marxist groups such as Black Lives Matter. Just last month, officials at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) warned civil servants that phrases such as “protecting women and girls” are “transphobic coded” and should be avoided ahead of Transgender Awareness Week.
As Europe faces its worst energy crisis in decades, the British government remains fully committed to net zero targets while its environmental policy remains largely dictated by the climate activist Greta Thunberg. Should the government follow through, it would be the most expensive policy in British history, although there is no evidence it would have any discernable impact on the climate.
This commitment to environmentalist dogma is reflected by the soaring cost of energy, which has pushed many people into poverty and analysts predict will kill tens of thousands of people over the course of this winter.
Britain has had three Prime Ministers this year alone, raising questions about the continued democratic mandate of the government. Having won a poll of Tory members, Liz Truss was removed from office just six weeks into her tenure and replaced with Rishi Sunak, the man she resoundingly defeated.
Unlike in America, neither Tory members nor the public at large gets a genuine say over who becomes leader and consequently Prime Minister. As a result, the country is repeatedly presented with leaders they never wanted or asked for. This lack of legitimacy is starting to cut through in polling, undermining trust in British democracy.
Reform and Nigel Farage
While the leftist Labour Party polls at record highs, the Tories face another major problem. The right-wing populist Reform Party, backed by the unrelenting Brexit champion Nigel Farage, is also starting to eat away at their vote share and plans on running a full slate of candidates in the 2024 general election. If Reform can win 10 percent of the overall vote, the party is likely heading toward electoral oblivion.
The party’s predicament was effectively summarised by Ben Harris-Quinney, Chairman of the UK-based conservative think tank the Bow Group, an organization with historic ties to the Conservative Party but no formal affiliation.
"In 2010 after 13 years of Labour government the Conservatives were elected to definitively end the Blair years, end mass immigration, fiscal irresponsibility, & stamp out the fledgling woke cancer that threatened to place Britain into terminal decline,” Harris-Quinney told Human Events.
“What they've actually done since 2010 is doubled down on Blair's policies. They have tripled the national debt, allowed all-time record levels of immigration, & allowed woke to become endemic,” he continued. “They've run out of excuses and now face oblivion, one can only conclude they deserve it. Conservatism as an ideology will endure, whether via a restructured Conservative Party or a new force, but the Conservative Party may not."
The Conservative Party is, to all intents and purposes, a center-left, globalist political party with a vague commitment to market economics. Their wipeout will pave the way for a Labour government in coalition with the far-left Scottish National Party, a reality that could result in the breakup of the United Kingdom through the holding of another independence referendum.
Although this is in and of itself a dire outcome, there is an increasing consensus on the right that it is time to rip off the plaster. Only through the wholesale destruction of the Conservative Party can a genuinely conservative movement rise from its ashes.
Ben Kew is Editor-at-Large at Human Events. Follow him on Twitter at @ben_kew