The Spectator's Notes

How Cameron and Osborne lost so much of their party

Also in The Spectator’s Notes: the last of Operation Midland, Labour anti-Semitism, Obama in Cuba, and hot-cross buns

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

26 March 2016

9:00 AM

Why have David Cameron and George Osborne overreached? Why are so many in their own party no longer disposed to obey them? Obviously the great issue of Europe has something to do with it. But there is another factor. Victory at the last election, followed by the choice of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, has convinced too many Tories, including Mr Osborne himself, that they will be in power for ten more years at least. So they get careless and cocky. Then they make mistakes. Then they come up against the most admirable fact about parliamentary democracy, which is that you can never guarantee being in power for ten years. (You can’t even guarantee it for the prescribed five, though the iniquitous Fixed-term Parliament Act of the coalition has made this easier than before.) Once this is recognised, the patronage power of Mr Osborne starts to trickle away. Our first Prime Minister, Walpole, is supposed to have defined gratitude as ‘a lively sense of future favours’. Mr Osborne understands this sense well, and has worked hard to awaken it to advance his leadership bid. But what if people start believing that these favours may never be conferred on them? There isn’t much left.

Mr Duncan Smith’s resignation is a marvellous opportunity to reopen old European enmities. It is the small things that hurt. On Sunday, Sir John Major, just wheeled on by the ‘remain’ campaign for a major intervention, was to go on the Andrew Marr Show to talk about his article in that morning’s Sunday Telegraph. Imagine the fury of the former prime minister when he was bumped off by the former backbench rebel against him, IDS.

Operation Midland has at last closed down, in Holy Week. It has added an extraordinary chapter to the history of malice, mob-frenzy and credulity, which stretches back to Titus Oates, to the blood libel — indeed, to Golgotha. Some people will believe literally anything against others if whipped up to do so. Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, should be carved into one of those grotesques depicting human vices which often appear on medieval misericords, his tongue protruding from his fat cheeks, representing Rumour. Part of the appeal of the story about the imagined paedophile ring in Dolphin Square was that it seemed to reveal an establishment conspiracy. But in fact, if only the establishment had been working properly, the police could have learnt almost at once that the story could not be true. The second most unbelievable allegation by the fantasist ‘Nick’ was that one Tory MP at some depraved party had sought to cut off the genitals of an abused boy until prevented by another Tory MP who was content with merely sodomising him. Even more incredible, however, was Nick’s claim that the man with the knife was Harvey Proctor and the man who stopped him was Sir Edward Heath. Anyone with any knowledge of the Tory tribe could have told the police that Mr Proctor, an out-and-out Powellite, could not stand Sir Edward, and that Sir Edward, assuming that he even recognised the existence of Mr Proctor, would never have deigned to speak to him, much less accompany him to an orgy. In the old days, the Chief Whip could have tipped off the head of the Met about this key improbability, saving millions of pounds and several unfairly ruined reputations.

Harvey Proctor, by the way, deserves particular praise. He had fewer friends in high places than the other accused because he is homosexual, lower-middle-class and right-wing. But he had the courage to announce publicly exactly what it was that the police were accusing him of. The blatant madness of the accusations — and the unfairness of Mr Proctor’s treatment — did much to turn the tide of opinion.

I have read a good many pieces by Labour supporters wringing their hands about Labour’s growing anti-semitism. Not one of them has contained the one word which is the key to this matter — Muslims.

In Cuba. , they are shouting: ‘¡Viva Obama! Viva Fidel!’ What a slogan. The FT headline ignorantly described this as a ‘Nixon in China’ moment: implying that Obama had previously been opposed to Castro’s Cuba. The US President is expected to come to Britain next month to order us to stay in the EU. Let us strew his way with palms. Let all of us — workers, peasants and soldiers — shout with one voice ‘¡Viva Obama! Viva Jean-Claude Juncker!’

Although acres of newsprint cover the race for the Republican nomination, strangely little explains the actual process. Yet in all contested leadership bids, the rules are what count. A useful piece by W. James Antle III of the Washington Examiner sheds light. Both the Republican establishment and the conservative movement do not want Donald Trump, though the wider grass roots do. When the Convention happens, the grass roots are in a weaker position, because the delegates tend to owe their positions to those above them. Under the rules, those mandated to vote for Trump because he won in their state are forced to do so only in the first round. If Trump does not achieve 50 per cent plus one in the first ballot (he is by no means there yet), it becomes a contested convention, with a second ballot. For that ballot, delegates can switch, and, if necessary, a completely new candidate could be drafted in. In that case, says Trump, his supporters would ‘riot’; but it could still happen.

When is one supposed to eat hot cross buns? They are for Good Friday not Easter, but Good Friday is a fast day. I find it very difficult to observe the fast in any case because Friday is the day I write my Daily Telegraph column and for that you need the energy that comes from eating. As I absolutely love hot cross buns — indeed, they are the only bun I ever eat — I am in a quandary. I suppose Holy Saturday is the one day of the year when I am allowed them.

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  • commenteer

    The crucial thing, surely, is not to eat hot cross buns before Good Friday. When I was a child in London, local bakers were open at breakfast time with freshly baked buns on Good Friday, when all other shops except fishmongers stayed closed. We never had them at any other time.
    I was disconcerted to learn that Mary Berry, surely of an age to know better, eats them throughout Lent; victim, presumably, of the relentless desire of the supermarkets to subvert every English tradition in pursuit of marketing opportunities.

    • Frank

      I am sure the good lord will forgive anyone who eats hot cross buns! Brought up as a non-Catholic, I am happy to eat them whenever offered!!

      • Doctor Crackles

        Britain is not a Catholic country Frank. The tradition described above applies to Anglicans.

        • Frank

          I know it is not a Catholic country! I am surprised that Anglicans go in for fasts, although it may explain why the C of E appears confused about so much.

          • davidofkent

            You would have difficulty finding a High Anglican Church these days.

          • anonuk

            Aren’t the Anglican churches mostly evangelical Yoof churches these days? I know of just one Catholic church in my area which is still fairly high these days, Holy Name in Manchester. The highest Anglican churches would have been regarded as middle of the road parish churches decades ago- and they are mostly interchangeable with the Catholic parish churches.

          • Father Todd Unctious

            Of course if the Daesh thugs were Catholics you would be beheaded or eviscerated for eating said current bun on any other day. But medieval Catholic traditions are too progressive for those viscious criminals.

          • Frank

            All too true, but at least we could have burned them!!

    • Pip

      The problems lies more with those who would listen to those who have sold their soul to the BBC and NWO.

  • rationality

    I’ve been watching the psyops against the VIP Westminster paedophile scandal in the Sunday Times and I am horrified how this has not been picked up or seen for what it is. The Sunday Times has done their utmost to discredit the allegations. They have talked about ‘false memory syndrome’ and how people are prone to hysteria on such subjects (funny how this made up condition doesn’t affect other subjects quite so much). They have discredited Nick (name usually in quotes) as a fantasist. The police have colluded with this by deliberately bungling the arrest of Lord Bramall to create a deceitful story on how the police cant be trusted on this matter. Endless articles by Dominic Lawson on hysteria and ancient history. They have dragged this out using so many tricks to manipulate us into thinking there is no story.

    There is so much going on right now and this is yet another example of how we have a government not for our benefit but for theirs and only theirs. I would like this scandal re-opened and know exactly what has gone on as I bet its seriously disturbing.

    • davidofkent

      Interesting pseudonym you use, when compared with what you write.

      • rationality

        There is a certain irony admittedly. However my avatar is pretty good and I would argue its one of the most succinct, recognisable and appropriate ones in use. Even if I say so myself Dave.

        Regarding the comment. Its a really big deal that is being missed.

      • Ooh!MePurse!

        Indeed. UnsubstantiatedConspiracy would be more suitable. Or just plain Irrationality.

        • The_Missing_Think

          So…. explain this then:

          “Allegations of child sexual abuse that have emerged so far are only the “tip of the iceberg”, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.” – 23 Nov 2014.

    • Brian Jones

      Even the police who started off with a biased opinion that the fantasy was true couldn’t find any evidence. If you have real evidence why did you not inform the police. Your post is so typical of so many who are willing to believe the worst of anyone but to believe that people living in the public eye as those accused do or did commit these acts makes me wonder if you actually think before you type.

      • rationality

        It was handy that Brittain and Janner died at exactly the right time wasnt it? The police are so going to listen to my evidence as this goes back to before I was even born.

        I wouldnt have written it if I didnt believe there was any truth in it. Dont you think that the prosecuted BBC DJ’s were sacrificial lambs to avoid the other VIP’s that Savile (who is at the centre of this) procured children for? That the only paedophiles were these entertainers and no politicians whatsoever? Are you that naive? This goes to the heart of the establishment and there is much more I could write but dont fancy libelling myself due to a misinformed troll who thinks everythings all sunny and rosy when its very much not.

        Did you actually think about that before you typed?

      • The_Missing_Think

        “If you have real evidence why did you not inform the police.”

        “Allegations of child sexual abuse that have emerged so far are only the “tip of the iceberg”, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.” – 23 Nov 2014.

        Strange how you charge rationality with other peoples’ job responsibilities.

        Do you work in Rotherham, or Westminster, by any chance?

  • Tellytubby

    What’s surprising is that people ate surprised! Cameron’s never truly been a conservative. He’s a centrist Europhile blairite (internationalist, pro big business anti individualism) in sheeps clothing. He was selected because although most conservatives knew this, they pretended not to because they saw the appeal he had with the public so thought he appeared “presidential”. As ever, many sins are forgiven with victory, so there they sat, hoping they were wrong about him. But of course his action and policy has proved him otherwise. Now, with the biggest moment in recent years a few months away they’ve started to get twitchy bums. Not only that – but now is an easier time to be able to show cracks because the opposition is basically non existent – there is no threat election-wise from Corbyn’s labour and with Cameron stepping down they’ll want to either continue with the status quo in Osborne, or go in a new (old) direction.

    • Ozzy Guy

      Known elsewhere as a “cuckservative”…a portmanteau of cuck (or cuckold) and conservative.

      • anonuk

        Isn’t he more of a selfservative?

    • rationality

      Cameron was selected as prime minister simply because of his PR background. Thats all you need to be the leader of a western supposedly democratic country nowadays. Ideology not important.

  • Ozzy Guy

    I am more interested why the PPE poofart did so much to intentionally lose British cultural identity…

    • rationality

      Check out Leo Strauss and that will help you find your answer.

      • Joey Edgecombe

        Very true…”perpetual deception of the citizens by those in power is critical”

  • Lady Magdalene

    Cameron and Osborne lost so much of the Conservative Party because they, themselves are not Conservatives.

    Cameron is basically a Liberal – which is why he got on so well with fellow Liberal, Nick Clegg.
    Osborne seems to be a blue-tinged version of Gordon Brown.

    They have insulted, smeared and alienated traditional Conservatives (as well as the former Conservatives who decamped to UKIP) and now they’re reaping what they sowed.

    • JohnnyNorfolk

      So many people only voted Tory so we could have the referendum.

  • davidofkent

    David Cameron is definitely not a Conservative. George Osborne was a Conservative until he realised that being a flip-floppy sort of Liberal made him more popular. Hopefully, both of them will be removed from positions they do not deserve in the not-too-distant future.

    • anonuk

      Osborne wouldn’t be popular even if he taxed the wealthy at 99%, forced them to pay every penny of it, paid off the debt and deficit in full in a year as a result and rained the remaining trillions on the poor and disabled, schools and hospitals like manna. This is because, unfortunately, he has what the Germans call a “Backpfeifengesicht” (a face for slapping) and there’s nothing he can do about it.
      The fact that he tries to grab money from the poor and from various government departments to give to the middle class and his uber-rich banker friends (in preference to paying off the deficit, even) compounds his problem on the Left. The fact that he often fails to do so and has to backtrack on his omnishambles Budgets makes the Right want to join in on the party.
      If Osborne ever becomes PM, then he will be even worse than Gordon “abolish boom and bust” Brown, who bears much of the responsibility for the demise of the Scottish Labour party.

    • JohnnyNorfolk

      Cameron and Osbourne are socialists. Corbyn is a communist. God help us.

  • The VIP child abuse rings operated most at Kincora and Jersey which have been kept out of the inquiry.

    • rationality

      The BBC entertainers offered as sacrificial lambs to divert attention from Savile’s activities. Absolute stitch up.

  • paul

    Arrogant pair of Tossers !!!

  • Jingleballix

    God bless Charles Moore.

    • Pip

      Moore is a lying propagandist just like the rest who write here,

  • Pip

    They are losing because they are compromised and controlled agents of a foreign power (NWO Globalist Elite) and people are waking up to this fact, just like they are waking up to the deceit and biased of the Mainstream Media, all of which is controlled by just 5 men worldwide.

  • Itinerant

    “I have read a good many pieces by Labour supporters wringing their hands about Labour’s growing anti-semitism. Not one of them has contained the one word which is the key to this matter — Muslims.”
    How they will manage to avoid that herd of elephants in the room, would otherwise be amusing if it didn’t have such deadly attachments.
    The SNP have reportedly “impressed” HAMAS reps, “by the warm and welcoming attitude”.
    The Hamas Charter contains the world-wide genocide of the Jews, how a self-declared progressive ignores that, who knows.
    But it’s far from just the SNP who engage with Jew-hating Islamists or think political Islam will engage with democracy- that malaise is EU-wide.

    I wait with bated breath for the Government’s proposed “major clampdown on organisations linked to the terror group Hamas after the long-awaited publication of its review into the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    Especially since our Philosopher Kings in the EU and their US counterparts, have decided they can do business with the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood”
    This paper “examines the Obama administration’s policies toward Egypt. It discloses the surprising finding that the only consistent aspect of the administration’s policy toward Egypt has been outreach to and engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood.”
    When it is Sisi who is pleading with Al-Azhar to change their supremacist doctrine.
    It’s a mess and the implications for Europe, in the context of mass immigration from Muslim countries and an EU elite who think they can contain political Islam, are sobering to say the least.

  • Terence Hale

    Max and Moritz was also an illustrated story in verse from Wilhelm Busch.

  • MC

    “key to this matter — Muslims”
    still waiting for to suspends anti-Semite muslim, even though 70% of muslims are anti-Semites. I could be waiting a rather long time. Reality is, Corbyn hates Jews too, but he’s too afraid to say so.

  • Jacobi

    This raises such an important issue. The balanced between on the one hand the cover up of abuse and on the other hand the false accusation of public or even obscure persons on uncorroborated or uncorroberateable evidence.

    Professional investigators should not find it difficult to get a few basic rules right, such as assess your witness and do not release into the public domain any suggestion that cannot be irrefutably established. Difficult I know but then that is their job.

    Those professional investigators who do so should be charged with a criminal offence under law whether they be police or otherwise, and and false witnesses subsequently shown to have deliberately given false evidence, should also be charged with a criminal offence – both also being subject to financial damage actions!

  • Lawrence James.

    Conservatism has survived because it has been a pragmatic and flexible party. Intelligent and imaginative leaders such as Disraeli have always understood this, adapted and won elections as a consequence. In doing so they had the wit to ignore reactionaries like Moore, forever yearning after a happier past that is largely their own invention. Recent stick-in-the-muds of the UKIP inclination are Poujadistes disgruntled about the way the world and fearful that might be left behind.

  • JohnnyNorfolk

    They are socialists, its as simple as that.