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Monday 25 November 2019

Boris Johnson released the Conservative Party’s manifesto yesterday. The resounding feedback is it’s bland and offers nothing new. That’s no bad thing. The Telegraph’s Camilla Tominey compares the 60-page document with the commonly used metaphor used in 1997 when “Tony Blair was famously likened to a butler tiptoeing across a polished floor with a Ming vase, terrified of any false step”. Absolutely correct, the Tories gave a ten-point lead in the polls. This m is no time to be proposing deeply unpopular policies like Theresa May’s social care abomination in 2017.

“Nothing has changed” the former PM repeated again and again upon the subsequent repeal of her massively ill-judged proposal at the last general election, she then saw her superior lead in the polls to Boris’s begin to plummet. Now everything has changed. The Tories no longer mess up the way they did under Mrs May’s watch.

Indeed, as Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks has argued  the Tories under Boris are increasingly shaping themselves in Nigel Farage’s image (see tweet below), again not a move May ever made with conviction, the exception being a free vote on fox hunting that also cost her support. The transition will fail to convince many – as Mayor of London, Boris was no Conservative, many of his entourage of liberal free thinkers from City Hall days have followed him to Downing Street – but the Tories aren’t beating about the bush in reasserting Conservative principles, there’s only so far they can row back at the next election without haemorrhaging votes. At the end of the day, real conservatism is popular in this country, which just so happens to be a democratic one. 

The complaints of uninspiring policy pledges from the media shows how biased they are. Standing front and centre of the Tories’ manifesto is a commitment to “get Brexit done”. EU membership is by far our country’s greatest dysfunction, once that’s dealt with the changes required amount to little more than fixing potholes and eliminating car parking charges at hospitals, two headline features of this manifesto. At the end of the day, Britain is a prosperous forward looking nation with opportunities available to all willing to get stuck in.

There is one family of exceptions of course, political reform, which the Brexit Party’s “contract with the people” is fixed upon, and rightly so: the House of Lords, the Supreme Court, Postal Voting, first past the post, they all need strenuous re-examination.

There had been fears the Tories would try and challenge Labour in a spending race, as it turns out, government expenditure under a Conservative government would be 3.5% – just £2.9bn – of Labour’s extravagant outlay. Another commendable move by Boris’s policy team.  

Elsewhere, the Lib Dems have told Buzzfeed, they are re-launching their campaign now that they’ve come to the long overdue realisation Jo Swinson is unelectable following Friday evening’s Question Time pummeling. The party’s focus is now on Tory seats Labour don’t have a hope of stealing. The trouble for them is – by their own admission – voters are too frightened of a socialist government under Labour. Even Remain voters will vote Tory in the full knowledge that a vote for the Lib Dems will only lead to a Labour government, and we don’t want that of course. No one should.