In 2002, Theresa May told the Conservative Party conference that many voters saw them as the “nasty party”. Almost 20 years on, the Tories have tried to shed this image and broaden its base. But now, with the recent behaviour of some of its MPs, there is cause to believe that the Nasty Party is back in full force. Here’s why:
Kicking out moderates
The Conservative Party represents a spectrum of views. But when a group of 21 MPs voted against Boris Johnson to block a no-deal Brexit, he ousted them from the party, removing their whips. Former Tory MP Heidi Allen has said that Johnson and his adviser Dominic Cummings have made moderates in the party “not welcome”.
The hostile environment
The Conservative Party’s official immigration policy is to make the environment so difficult for illegal immigrants that they opt to leave.
The party also wants to end freedom of movement as soon as possible, and severely restrict the number of foreigners coming to the UK. Not exactly a policy of tolerance.
The role of Cummings
He hasn’t been elected and he’s reviled by many in the party, but Dominic Cummings has managed to hold a firm grip on the government – intimidating his colleagues and trying every trick possible to force through a no-deal Brexit.
On an LBC broadcast earlier this week, Jacob Rees-Mogg callously questioned the intelligence of victims in the Grenfell fire, claiming that they should have had the “common sense” to leave the building.
After a public outcry, Rees-Mogg apologised for his comments, before Andrew Bridgen then launched an even more offensive defence of his colleague. Bridgen claimed that Rees-Mogg “would have made a better decision,” than those caught in the fire, due to his natural intelligence.
This sort of smug superiority plagues the modern Tory party, which is still dominated by an Eton-educated elite.
In August last year, Johnson wrote a column for The Telegraph comparing Muslim women who wear the burka to “letterboxes” and “bank robbers”.
At the time, the Muslim Council of Britain accused Johnson of “pandering to the far-right” and the SNP’s Ian Blackford has said that the PM is “racist”.
Meanwhile a bank boss said that the PM’s language would render him unemployable in the world of finance.
This is the person who’s currently running the Conservative Party, and the country.