We are entering a new age for the Tories
Column by Callum Sutton, King's School Sixth Form student
Politics is unmistakably in a state of what you could call a mess.
Parliamentary convention seems to be re-written on an almost daily basis and with so many confusing and complicated words being strung out by news outlets, it’s no wonder people are having a hard time following each new parliamentary advancement.
As a current A-Level politics student, I have to say that it’s an exciting time to be studying politics; being able to follow such interesting and ever-developing political affairs whilst gaining knowledge to fully understand the goings-on is a valuable experience.As a politics student, we learn about topics within the political spectrum, political parties being one of them. We’re taught beliefs and ideologies parties follow which form the basis of what they stand for.
The following is an excerpt from my A-Level politics text book on the subject of the Conservative party: “Conservatives take a pragmatic and paternalistic approach to politics, while seeking to preserve the status quo. Some argue Conservatism is not an ideology at all, it looks to work with and improve upon what exists already, instead of building from the ground up.”
I learnt this definition of the of conservatism around a year ago. And recently I have been wondering if the writers know how outdated and comically inaccurate this definition has now become.
The word ‘pragmatic’ isn’t the first that comes to mind when describing the current Tory government. Sensible, realistic and practical are the Oxford dictionaries synonyms for pragmatic - proroguing parliament and leaving 17 days for negotiation with the EU isn’t a move I would call ‘pragmatic’.
‘Paternalistic’ – leave voters would have a more lenient opinion of this description with the current government, with the governments clear drive to deliver a Brexit (albeit one that sends us crashing into an economic crisis). However, with the chancellor’s new budget figures being analysed to show education budgets being cut by 11% from 2009/10 to 2020/21 and the hardest area hit being local governments, which have been cut by 77 per cent along the same time period. ‘Paternalistic’ is again, not a word that springs to mind.
As for ‘looks to work with and improve upon what exists already’ – I tried to find exemplars of current government activities which support this to keep my argument balanced. I couldn’t. Expelling 21 longstanding Tory MPs from the party for rebelling against them, when the current PM rebelled countless times under the last Tory government, is hardly ‘working with and improving upon what exists already’.
With this description of the Tory party clearly redundant, I would like to offer a new one for the textbooks editors: “The Tory Party takes a contradictory, deceitful and chaotic approach to politics, preferring to work against whatever minor majority they have in favour of a plan not even they know the details of.”
Indeed, it does look like we are entering a new age for the Tory Party. That age being approximately 12 to 18 months.