Having spent rather too much of the night in pain with an abscess under a tooth, for which my dentist prescribed an antibiotic yesterday that only seems to be taking effect right now, I am not full of my usual enthusiasm for early morning writing. I hope you will, then, excuse some brevity.
I did, however, think that there was something to note from my situation. The tooth in question has been a recurring pain in an otherwise relatively easy dental history. Just about everything bar removing it, which I remain reluctant to do, has been tried and I just live with the knowledge that every now and again a flare up of this sort is going to happen, as it has, once more. Am I being a wimp for not facing the inevitable fact that one say it and I will probably have to part company after an occasionally fraught relationship lasting decades? Or is it just the unknown of what happens thereafter that uncharacteristically leaves me prevaricating and living with occasional pain?
My thought is that isn’t the countries relationship with the Tories much the same? Decades of experience shows that they are annoying, an occasional profound pain, and in need of being cleansed by a dose of resignations, expulsions and reformations every now and again. And yet they survive largely because those of a certain age - and this is now, undoubtedly, an age thing - just can’t face getting rid of what they know to be basically rotten within them.
The fear is, what else is there? We know of Farage’s ability to fill a void, and rightly despise it.
At the same time we know that there is that terribly safe, older, personal wealth orientated (and sod the consequences for the children, even if they are their own) group in society who need political representation. As do those who see their interests as aligned with those of business ownership also want to be represented. But what we now know is that neither is having their voice heard.
The current Tory party is in no way helping business.
Brexit has profoundly failed in the promise it made to many older people who voted for it, and again age was an issue here.
And these people are not extremists. I don’t share their small c conservatism, but that is what they are and nothing about the modern Conservative Party is remotely like that. The behaviour of Johnson would appear to appall many of them, as it does those who were never enamoured with him.
In this case the rottenness appears to have reached the stage where removal is required. The Conservative Party as it now is would appear to be beyond redemption, being populated now by people who challenge each other in their stupidity and brazen support for unforgivable lawlessness that borders on depravity.
The left often thinks it needs a new party, whether to the left or right of Labour, to whose carcass both sides still cling, which is why change will not happen. But there is a need for renewal on the right as well if our democracy is to be meaningful. A party for those who supported Rory Stewart, Dominic Grieve and David Gauke, if you like. I don’t, but at least I can respect them, which I struggle to say about almost any current Tory MP.
But this requires those of that wing to embrace democracy, PR, genuine reform and the need to cooperate to deliver it.
I am a democrat. That requires that the right wing be present in debate. I desire their presence, if only to have the pleasure of seeing them beaten. What I do not want any longer is the rotten neo-fascist party the Tories have become.
The problem for the Tories is getting rid of Johnson now changes little or nothing. My antibiotic may well save my tooth for a while longer. A new Tory leader cannot, I suspect, do the sane trick for the Conservatives. The Party is now rotten to its core. It needs to be removed from the body politic because it is no longer democratic, law abiding, or willing to partake in our unwritten constitutional arrangements, which it perpetually abuses.
However, it can’t go until enough people on the right think they have an alternative, which for many the LibDems and Labour are not, maybe one election apart.
So are there people of courage to rid us of the Tory rottenness? It is one of the many questions needing answers now within politics if the malign influence of populism is to be curtailed. The stakes are high. The survival of our democracy might well depend on this happening.