Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 October 2003

After the Tory conference

Can The Nasty Party Win Again?

MICHAEL PORTILLO described this year's Tory Party conference as "horrible, dejected, miserable, talking about the leadership all the time - the worst conference anyone could remember".

Hannah Sell

After the conference, the Tories appeared to overtake New Labour in one poll commissioned for the Mail on Sunday. But virtually no one, including the Tories themselves, believed that this would be a continuing trend. Hence the bitter infighting that has erupted since the conference.

The problems the Tory Party face are enormous. The government is deeply unpopular; Tony Blair is seen as untrustworthy, public services are getting worse.

By all logic the opposition party, the Tories, ought to lead in every opinion poll. Instead the Tories face the possibility of being pushed into third place by the Liberal Democrats. As Portillo said in The Guardian: "How much must they [the public] hate us if they hate us more than this lot [New Labour]?"

The Tories still bear the mark of Cain for the crimes they committed in their 18 years in power. At the same time New Labour has largely stolen their policies, leaving them thrashing around to find a way of differentiating themselves. And they have one of the least charismatic leaders in the history of politics.

So whether or not IDS is found guilty of allegations about his wife/secretary, his survival as Tory Party leader is in question. However, removing him would not solve the problem, as many Tory grandees realise.

There is no single 'unifying' candidate and it is far from certain that more 'electable' figures such as Ken Clarke would want to lead the Tory Party given the likely prospect of defeat at the next election.

Nightmare policies

OF COURSE, socialists can only rejoice at the Tory Party's suffering. A glimpse of the nightmare that would be a new Tory government was shown by the policies showcased at this year's conference.

On one or two issues they have announced populist measures, such as the abolition of tuition fees and the restoration of the link between earnings and pension levels, to try and capture those disillusioned with New Labour.

But the main thrust of their policies is to try to outdo New Labour in cutting and privatising public services. On asylum Oliver Letwin, Shadow Home Secretary, is proposing to send all asylum seekers to an island "far, far away" although he had no idea which island was going to agree.

Hard to imagine as it is, it can't be precluded that the Tories will overtake New Labour at some point in the future. None of the major political parties today are popular, as turnout in elections clearly demonstrates.

But, given the lack of an alternative to the big three, all of which are pro-capitalist parties pursuing policies of cuts and privatisation, disillusionment with New Labour could lead to the Tories one day being re-elected.

Distant prospect as this seems, no doubt New Labour will use it to try and keep working-class people voting for them rather than moving to found a new party, a party which actually stands up for working-class interests.

The same argument was used by the Liberals against the Labour Party when it was formed a century ago. And as socialists, while we have no desire to see a return of the Tories, nor can we countenance a future of choosing between two different brands of big business politics.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 18 October 2003:

United Action To End Low Pay

Save Our Health Service

London Workers Lead Fight For A Living Wage

Stand Together To Scrap The SATS

Socialist Party news and analysis

Can The Nasty Party Win Again?

Fighting Women's Oppression

Socialist Alliance Trade Union Convention


Apparently it's all my fault...

Socialist Party feature

More Jailings But Deeper Anger

Greater Dublin City Bin service shut down!

Anti Bin Tax Campaigns Thank Bin Workers; Call for End to Non-Collection and Jailings

War and occupation

Iraq's 'Liberation' Nightmare

Protest Against Warmonger Bush

Democracy And The Stop The War Coalition

Socialist Party Marxist analysis

World economy: Will There Be A Recovery?


ISR conference:

Stop Fees Now!

International socialist news and analysis

Bolivia: A Movement Of Insurrectionary Scale

California: Last Action Hero Will Let Down Voters

Nigeria: General Strike Suspended After Government Backs Down

Poland: An Explosion Of Class Struggle


Home   |   The Socialist 18 October 2003   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Tory party:

triangleCabinet chaos as shambolic reshuffle underlines Theresa May's impotence

triangleBrexit deal no solution to Tory rifts

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleThe end of the Tories?

triangleNasty party out the Tories


triangleSave Salford nurseries!

triangleLabour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

triangleBlairite mayor faces open election after democratic 'irregularities' - fight for a no-cuts mayor

triangleBuilding the campaign against clearances of the working class


triangleTories raid 1bn from NHS facilities budget - unions must act

triangleNorth London Socialist Party: When Liverpool council defied the Tories

triangleDarkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

Hannah Sell:

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleCorbyn and Brexit: Why a socialist approach to the EU is needed

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns



Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions



German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more



Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success



Nottingham hospital black alert


East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference


West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference



Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead



Bradford protests against kids' service cuts


May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!



Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget



Save Salford nurseries!



Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved



Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation



Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!



Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018