The path back to power

Jun 03, 2024By Pete North


Not only is the corpse of the Conservative Party still warm and twitching, the death certificate has yet to be signed, but the rush to redesign its replacement is well under way. 
Is there any possibility that the parrot is merely resting, and not properly de-perched and dead? Not according to Pete...

a big protest in liestal against the corona pandemic mesurments

In a world of uncertainty, there is at least one certainty. In five weeks time, the Conservative Party will no longer be the party of government. That leaves conservatives with a very big mountain to climb - and it’s not going to be easy.

The first obstacle will be the Conservative Party itself. A party that no longer has a functioning definition of conservatism. A party whose most influential figures will fight tooth and nail to prevent it from becoming a conservative party. The people who believe the Tories are losing because they’re too right wing. 

Retaking the party is not going to be easy, and there’s going to be considerable competition. Even in its badly degraded state, the Tory brand is still valuable political property. From what I gather, Sunak has been busy stuffing key posts with wets from the Tory aristocracy, and they’re absolutely anticipating an entryist takeover attempt.

My feeling is that the right of the parliamentary party will be the minority faction after the election, and is likely to favour Penny Mordaunt or one of the other “wets” as leader. Some believe this will be catastrophic for the cause. I don’t think so. I don’t think it matters in the interim. The Tory party will be defined by what it has to oppose from the Labour government, and even the wettest Tory will understand there is no path back to power without acknowledging the demand for dramatically lower immigration. 

Moreover, we are stepping into a new political zeitgeist. That “multipolar world” beckons and the delusions of pre-2016 era liberal internationalists will not withstand first contact with reality. External influences are more likely to shape the tone of British politics, and the Tory party in particular. There is backlash coming over Net Zero for starters, and mad Ed Miliband’s green energy plans will hit the rocks in no time at all. Furthermore, there is still no popular enthusiasm for the EV transition. This is all low hanging fruit for any opposition. 

We also have an asset in the struggle to revive conservative social values. The Labour Party. The party is not coming to power because there is any real enthusiasm for left wing ideas. It is set to inherit power because Tory voters are going to stay at home. There has been no swing to the left and Starmer’s approval ratings (which aren’t riding high to begin with) will soon plummet. His own party will be a fractious coalition of woksters and race-agitators, who will do a great deal to revive social conservatism in the voting public. 

As much as anything, the market has spoken. The penny has dropped for the business world that going woke means going broke, and they’re getting the message that the public doesn’t like having political messages rammed down their throats. The tide has turned. The last people to catch on, of course, will be woke Labour politicians, who will end up looking like Hiroo Onoda

The point here, is that a Tory loss enables a recalibration of politics as a whole, where Labour will find that doubling down on the policies of the status quo does not revive the nation’s fortunes. It then gives the Tory party permission to break from its present day dogmas. As such, the party will be fertile ground for a conservative takeover.

Supposing Labour wins by a large majority, my feeling is that any new Tory leader will have a Herculean task to overturn it, and will fail. It’s actually better for us if the liberal wets lose in 2029, because that precipitates a fresh leadership contest. We have five years to popularise real conservatism, and five further years to make it electable.

To that end, we have work to do. Entryism alone is not going to work, and deselecting Tory wets may prove difficult with the institutional backing they have. But all the same, they are still answerable and can be influenced if the local membership is all singing from the same hymn sheet. That’s where we have to put in the work. 

As I’ve mentioned a lot lately, all the alternative parties exist because there is no genuine conservative party. It’s displacement activity. Frustrated activists have been led up the garden path by populists who simply aren’t going to achieve anything. Much the same can be said about street level protests. What we need to do is build a conservative activist network.

I recently joined an organisation called New Culture Forum. I’m meeting with them and others in a couple of weeks, and I’m having further discussions around the fringes. My message to them is that the right has a definition problem, and must seek to create the intellectual foundation for the new conservative movement. I believe National Conservatism is the basis for this.

Though everyone is agreed that the liberal wing of the Tory party must be dumped, we’re just as likely to hit the rocks if all we have to stand on is reheated Thatcherism melded with intellectually barren MAGA populism. Free market radicalism is not conservatism. Thatcher was a timely antidote to the sclerosis of post-war socialism, but the modern predicament demands fresh thinking. 

As such, I’m talking about “modernisation”. That’s a pretty loaded word when it comes to conservative politics because it’s usually the weasel word of liberals who intend to ditch conservatism. But we do need a modern conservatism that speaks to nationalism, strategic protectionism and self-reliance, renewed social conservatism, and one that addresses the spiritual crisis of the modern age. One that puts national sovereignty and the sovereignty of the people first.

That, though, is a topic of a much longer essay in the near future, along the lines of “What does modern conservatism look like?”. One thing’s for sure, Cameron’s “scribble tree” logo, and everything it embodies, has got to go. But returning to the point, this is about popularising a renewed conservative message. So how do we do that?

Though I will always prefer the written word (because a thousand well crafted words says far more than an hour of podcasting in a fraction of the time), there is massive demand for high quality online video content. This is how people like to engage. Politics, like it or not, is a form of entertainment. YouTube lectures and debates are popular content. New Culture Forum is good at this. We need to see more of that. 

But politics is also a social pursuit. There is no movement without real human interaction. But there is also no national movement if the bulk of the social activity is in London. If we’re going relight the fires of conservatism throughout the land, then conservatism has to hit the road. We need high profile events in Huddersfield, Hull, Liverpool and Middlesbrough. We have to go where we are not traditionally wanted and remind people that true conservatism is innate to the national psyche. Lecture halls of the former polytechnics are where the new movement comes to life. 

People keep talking about setting up a new party, but in truth, that’s the last thing we need. We already have a morass of competing organisations, each of them lacking a coherent intellectual framework. We should not waste our energies advancing one over the other. We simply need to elevate the winning ideas and let them find their own path to power through critical mass. As such, we need to build the flanking organisations that will give entryists the contacts, ideas and motivation to take us back to power. 

Ultimately, the new conservatism will find its own way into the party by being the obvious remedy, providing answers where populism doesn’t. It’s all the things that could and should have been done with an eighty seat conservative majority. Provide the intellectual template, and trust the people will do the rest. 

Subscribe to Pete's substack a aims to provide efficient and common sense government without the millstone of dogmatic politics