Tories face disaster

THE CONSERVATIVE Party’s long-term decline in Scotland from around 50% support in the 1955 general election to the 11% obtained last week will almost certainly be reflected even more dramatically in England and Wales next month.

Under Margaret Thatcher the Tories had their programme - painful and divisive though it was - for ‘making Britain great again’. Curbing union power and unleashing the full power of the market were the tools, yet the decline of British capitalism has not been halted. Thatcherism failed in its central aim, and now the Tories are deprived of their previously unifying force, when they believed they were striding forward towards their goal.

Today they no longer even believe in themselves, nor in the possibility of winning a further term in office. With careers and influence looking increasingly threatened, it is no wonder that individuals are looking to secure more lucrative business positions, and so become more open to allegations of corruption.

No wonder either that they have perhaps become less careful in concealing other outside interests - particularly of a sexual nature - and that the divisions in the Conservative Party have become more and more open.

These divisions go to the very heart of what the party is supposed to be about - the defence of nation and enterprise. Now the issue of Europe has driven a wedge between these two elements. Big business is almost unanimous in its conviction that ever deeper integration within Europe provides the only possible basis for British-based capital to compete in the world.

But the Conservative Party is not only the party of big business. Particularly in the countryside it is the party of small business, and thousands of Tory activists, remote from the reality of the global economy, place British sovereignty alongside small-scale enterprise at the top of their agenda.

While the prospects of a federal Europe - although central to the Treaty of Rome - remained a distant possibility, these divisions were less important. Now, however, the principle of monetary union has been unanimously agreed by all EU member-states, and its inevitable corollary of political union can no longer be dismissed. The Eurosceptics are right when they say that their position is much more in tune with the grass roots Tory membership, but ludicrously wrong when they claim that it represents the way forward for British capitalism.

That is why the bourgeoisie is looking to switch its support away from the discredited Tories. For the short term at least, Tony Blair’s New Labour Party looks a safer bet.

Jim Blackstock