Flippant image, serious message.
‘When a person shows you who they are, believe them the first time.’ (Maya Angelou)
On the one hand, it’s quite a relief to have some of the far right shed the final scraps of respectability and reveal their true, ugly selves. But, on the other, the abandon – even relish – with which the attendees of the National Conservativism(or Nat Cs as they are now popularly known) conference express views that once would have warranted party discipline and even expulsion is truly alarming.
What is it that makes them feel so confident that their views will not be censured? Is it because they know that the Overton Window has shifted so far to the right that it is barely any stretch at all to take it even further? Is it because they know they face being wiped out in the next general election and feel they have nothing to lose? Are they demonstrating their credentials to their fan clubs, donors and allies across the globe – America’s Trump and DeSantis, Italy’s Georgia Meloni, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán, to name but a few. Are they cornered rats or emboldened wolves?
Whatever the reason, there is a very real danger that their views begin to be normalised, to be acceptable within the national dialogue on the most important issues of our time – climate emergency, human rights, inequality, democracy and immigration. We can be disgusted or amused by this Daily Mail’s cover , but I am actually frightened and angered by it, dismayed to live in a time when a powerful paper feels licensed to suggest to its readers that dissatisfaction with the political scene makes consideration of a dictatorship not just acceptable, but even desirable.
I am disturbed that Jacob Rees-Mogg abandons any filter to state, bluntly and unashamedly, that voter ID was, as we all said at the time, an act of gerrymandering.
The very same Jacob Rees-Mogg who backed the introduction of voter ID.
The Nat C’s antennae are sufficiently attuned to the potential for damage to realise that the likes of David Starkey take the revelation of their true colours too far, but the vigilant are keeping the receipts:
None of this is normal and cannot, must not be normalised.
In the next election, we must work together to remove power from these dangerous ideologues. And then we MUST secure electoral reform.
I leave you with this from major Tory donor and far-right advocate, ‘Lord’ Cruddas, (rammed into the House of Lords by Johnson against the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Committee):
This, coupled with Rees-Mogg’s jaw-dropping admission, makes it very clear where this group stand on democracy. We have seen with the Public Order Act and the Elections Act that this is a government perfectly prepared to use the law to suppress free speech, protest and voting. Cornered rats or emboldened wolves, they are hell-bent on prosecuting their far-right agenda which will erode our rights and freedoms yet further and take us to a very dark place indeed.
Unless we stop them.
Which we can.