An Open Letter to Conservatives
The Conservative and Unionist Party is the most formidable electoral force in the West. For centuries it has dominated British politics, dispatching the principal opponents of each era with merciless efficiency.
Though progressives may rail against it from generation to generation, the Conservative party has endured; bastion of monarchy, nation, traditional morality and fiscal restraint. Indeed, the man I admire most in the world, my own father, once stood as a Conservative candidate in local elections. His vision then, as it remains now, was of government that conducts itself with the highest standards of probity, executing its duties in faithful service of the people.
These are the standards by which Conservatives should judge themselves. In the wake of Barnard Castle, Hancock’s infidelity – both marital and legal – and the Paterson debacle, Conservatives at every level should reflect on whether Johnson’s Tories are worthy of their support.
The Conservative party over the years has seen itself as the righteous steward of the nation, the guardian of its institutions. Now, by all apparent evidence, it seems to view that stewardship as less important than the PM’s thirst for impunity. At a certain point, continued support of this behaviour ceases to be loyalty and becomes enabling. What will the Conservative party stand for, once each of its principles has been publicly incinerated on the altar of Johnson’s impropriety?
If you are a Conservative, whether it be cabinet minister, backbencher, activist or lifelong voter, you are entitled to a conscience. You are not obligated to cheer as the nation’s probity and integrity are discarded. You don’t have to applaud a leader who routinely acts in a manner for which you’d scold your own children. You shouldn’t be obliged to, and you should never have been asked to do so.
Yes, Johnson has proven himself “a winner,” but this is the Tory party we’re talking about. For hundreds of years the Conservative party has been capable of winning without pinning its blue rosette on the lapel of a cartoon charlatan. Has it lost that winning way? Does this ancient party now need to be kept on life support by a licentious, nest-feathering buffoon?
It’s not for me, a Puritanical leftie, to tell Conservatives what to feel or how to vote. I would ask, however, that you consider your own ethics, your own framework of personal morality. Is your preferred policy platform worth sacrificing our national credibility? Is the death of our democratic norms a small price to pay for the trappings of power? Is the Conservative party still worthy of your support?
I would humbly suggest, based on events of this week, last week, and the unwritten Johnsonian weeks yet to come, that the answer to all three is “no.” If a search of your own moral fabric reveals the same, then cut up your membership card until you’re no longer forced to ask.