MAIL ON SUNDAY: Voters will not forgive a Tory Party riven by division
8th October 2022

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: The voters will not forgive a Tory Party riven by division

How many times are we going to have to offer this advice to Conservative MPs and Ministers? If you fight among yourselves, the voters will believe that you are not fit for government. 

The hard workers who keep your party in being will lose heart and strive less to get out the vote and to raise funds. 

Some voters will desert you, deciding on polling day that if you cannot agree on where you are going and who leads you there, they cannot be expected to put you back into office. Others will switch to other parties which seem surer of themselves.

It is also worth recalling the clever phrase so often used by Sir Lynton Crosby, that great winner of elections for the conservative cause in this country and in Australia, that ‘you can’t fatten a pig on market day’. 

Elections are won and lost in the battles which take place months and even years before the campaign. Polling day may seem far off now, but the time will come when it rushes upon us – and by then there will be no chance left to undo the damage done by division and squabbling.

Of course there are major issues dividing conservatives and of course they need to be debated. Of course the world of politics attracts big egos who find it hard to play second fiddle to any rival. 

But in recent days many Tories have been unimpressed by the behaviour of Michael Gove, a notably talented politician, thinker and journalist who really ought to be placing his abilities at the service of the new Prime Minister and so at the service of the country. 

MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Elections are won and lost in the battles which take place months and even years before the campaign. Polling day may seem far off now, but the time will come when it rushes upon us – and by then there will be no chance left to undo the damage done by division and squabbling. (Pictured: PM Liz Truss) 

Instead, he is accused by colleagues of behaving in a ‘sadistic’ fashion towards Liz Truss, and of brushing aside an olive branch from her, in the form of a job offer. What a pity this is.

Of course there is some pleasure to be had in asserting yourself by disrespecting others. These are human failings from the dawn of time. But such behaviour breeds more of the same, so that the faction defeated in the last skirmish may be tempted to make trouble for the victors, and so on for ever. 

Mature adults are capable of resisting the temptation to behave like this. And the only circumstance when there is time and space to indulge feuds and rivalries (and then only briefly) is when you are in opposition facing a long road back.

Well, that is where the Tory Party will be if it does not mend its ways very soon. If this were just a game, then that would be one thing. 

But if – as at present – the country faces numerous weighty crises at home and abroad, from the Ukraine war to the energy crisis and the explosion of inflation, those who aspire to lead the country need to be especially restrained and responsible.

The Mail on Sunday today publishes a plea by Nadhim Zahawi, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, for his fellow Tories to grasp this danger and get a grip on themselves. 

As he correctly says: ‘Now is the time for our party to get behind Liz Truss in this vital mission. The alternative is beyond concerning. It’s Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, propped up by the SNP. They will ramp up taxes and be in thrall to woke warriors and militant unions…

‘Those plotting against the Prime Minister are helping to usher in a Labour Government. I do wonder what they think they are achieving by trying to undermine a Conservative government.’

So do we. Heed these wise words while there is still time.

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