The Tories: bankrolled by bankers, hedge funds and legal loan sharks

I am reproducing two articles here dealing with why the modern Tory party no longer has any hope in the North of England or Scotland whatsoever. Firstly, Ken Bell describes the parties terminal decline:

“There is a lot of Tory angst at the moment about the party’s decline in Northern England. Following on the heels of their death in Scotland they have good reason to be worried. There is nothing strange about the death of the Tory Party in Northern England and they have only themselves to blame for the death rattle that began a generation ago.

The first time that either of my parents voted Labour was 1983. I used to tease my dad that he was the only man in the 8th Army who voted for Churchill in 1945, so why did both of them choose Labour in ’83?

Partly it was because I was in the party and had introduced them to Michael Meacher, the local MP for Oldham West, and they liked him. However the main reason is that they regarded Thatcher, Tebbit and the like as scum.My dad was a labourer at the Mather & Platts engineering factory in Manchester. He was a strong union man and if the Transport and General Workers’ Union went on strike he was the first one out the gates. Funnily enough, he always told me that Sir William Mather was a “proper gentleman” and it was obvious that he had a great respect for Sir William as well as Mr Platt. He also had an atavistic loathing for the “jumped up little Hitlers” who were the foremen and charge hands at the factory. Funnily enough, he also had the same respect for his officers in the army that he held for Sir William Mather and the same loathing for the NCOs that he had for the factory foremen.

A lot of this may have been due to the fact that dad won a scholarship to the Manchester Art School in the 1920s and the fee-paying middle class types who were his classmates made his life a misery owing to the fact that he was from Hulme, which was an even bigger slum then than it is today. I once asked him why he did not just stick the nut on one of them as the middle class are essentially nothing more than gob on legs, but that wasn’t the way he was wired up. Anyway, he left after a few months and returned to his old school and then did an apprenticeship only to be caught up in the Great Depression. He spent that on the dole interspersed with spells as a barman until the war broke out. Many years later his brother told me that there were two scholarship boys a year at that art school and the other one went on to help design the Festival of Britain in 1951. However, he was a type, not a working class lad from Hulme.

In the army my dad was treated with respect by his officers and the same respect was accorded him by the senior management at work after the war. All the earache he got came from the same type of people who had made his life a misery at the art school. It makes perfect sense that my parents voted Tory because the Tory Party under Churchill, Eden, MacMillan and Hulme were the type of men who genuinely respected working men.

The Tories that my parents voted for believed that every man had his place and that the place should be respected by all other men. My parents felt that way also. Thus It also makes perfect sense for Mr and Mrs Bell to have voted Labour for the first time ever in 1983. Thatcher did not respect the working class. That creature hated us and wanted to reduce us to penury and servitude.

Until the Tories relearn the way to appeal to working class people as working class people, and not putative middle class rabble, then they will continue to decline in Northern England.” (

Similarly Owen Jones rebuffs the boorish Bernard Ingham who ignorantly claims Northerners who loathe the Tories are ‘demented.’ From The Independent (the line “No wonder so many of Cameron’s colleagues secretly hope Scotland will cut the Union cords next year” is particularly poignant:

“Whatever happened to Tory Glasgow? It now seems absurd to the point of unthinkable, but in the 1920s the constituency of Glasgow Central was represented by a Tory Prime Minister, Bonar Law. When Winston Churchill’s party was drowned by the Labour tide that swept Britain in the aftermath of the Second World War, stubborn old Glasgow Central opted for the Tories’ sister party, the Unionists. Even a third of the impoverished residents of Glasgow’s Gorbals were voting blue in the mid-1950s. Arch-Thatcherite Teddy Taylor – who once declared that Nelson Mandela “should be shot” – represented Glasgow Carthcart as late as 1979. In the mid-1950s, most Scots were voting for candidates with blue rosettes – an even higher proportion than the English. Scotland was once a Tory heartland, and within living memory too.

Any Tory with a trace of survival instinct should listen to Nick Boles’ warning that his tribe are seen as “the party of the rich” and face being driven to a southern English hinterland. It is hardly prophetic: it just describes a long-standing process. In their old Glasgow Central stronghold, the Tories only just avoided losing their deposit at the last election. They are all but a fringe party north of the border, winning just over 16 per cent in 2010 in what was once one nation under Toryism. No wonder so many of Cameron’s colleagues secretly hope Scotland will cut the Union cords next year.

They better start hoping that the North declares unilateral independence, too. When a poll revealed that nearly four out of 10 Northerners would never consider voting Tory, Thatcher’s former press supremo Bernard Ingham slammed them as “demented” and conveying “an image of bovine stupidity”. How he must mourn what now seems a distant age. Liverpool, to take one example, was once a hotbed of Conservatism. The constituency of Liverpool West Derby may now weigh the Labour vote, but it did not even return a candidate with a red rosette until the 1960s. In Liverpool Walton, Tory candidates used to win over half the vote; today they scrape just 6.5 per cent. Liverpool is perhaps a unique example, because working-class Toryism was fuelled by rampant religious sectarianism. But it is a similar tale across the North. Until 1987, Manchester Withington almost always voted Tory: it can now count on the support of about one in 10 local voters. Not one Tory sits in the council chambers of Sheffield, Manchester or Liverpool.

Nick Boles is an optimistic man: the implication seems to be that it is an image problem, a superficial consequence of the pampered and the privileged sitting on the Tory frontbenches. Uncomfortable to remember, then, that the post-war heyday of Toryism was under those patrician Old Etonians, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan. But back then, the Tory leaders were staunch defenders of the post-war social democratic consensus, rather than ruthless slashers of taxes on the wealthy and hammers of the welfare state, so their background was less of an issue. Since then, it has been a story of long, protracted decline. Without exception, every time the Tory party has triumphed at the polls since 1955 it has had a lower share of the vote than the time before.

It is not because Northerners have become “demented” or been infected with “bovine stupidity”. As the old industrial communities disintegrated at an unprecedented rate under Tory rule, the anger and bitterness was passed from generation to generation. The recession of the 1990s reinforced the ugly memories of a decade earlier; today’s unprecedented fall in living standards conjures up what is – in large swathes of the country – almost an anti-Tory folklore. No wonder they haven’t won a general election for more than two decades.

The Tories obsessively bait Labour over its links with trade unions, the biggest democratic movement in the country. It is alarming how little scrutiny the Tories’ own funders get. They are, after all, bankrolled by bankers, hedge funds and legal loan sharks. Wonga investor and Tory donor Adrian Beecroft was commissioned by the party to draw up a report eliminating some of our remaining workers’ rights. Andrew Lansley, who set in motion the wholesale privatisation of the NHS, once received £20,000 for his personal office from the former chairman of private health care firm Care UK. Two private health companies who donated to the Tories have been handed lucrative NHS contracts. Forget which schools the Tory frontbench attended: it is their donors’ list that reveal the Tories’ historic mission as the political wing of wealth and power, or Boles “party of the rich”.

To escape their desperate plight, the Tories hired Lynton Crosby and an election formula that can be summed up as: “Skivers! Immigrants! Union barons! Marxists!” Unable to win the support of working-class people on the basis of hope, the Tories resort to the politics of envy: that struggling voters should resent the luxurious conditions supposedly enjoyed by their unemployed or immigrant neighbours.

It is an age-old Tory strategy: at the start of the last century, the party assiduously courted fear of Jewish and Irish immigrants. There is always a rich vein of prejudice to tap. But whether or not the Tories heed Boles’s warning, what was once the most successful political force on the earth faces looming disaster, and neither inflaming resentment or another rebrand are likely to avert it.” (

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