What’s the Plan?

As Tory MPs vent their anger and put their letters into Graham Brady, it is clear that if a week is a long time in politics, 3 months is like an epoch. Nevertheless, as Tory MPs reflect on their electoral futures and Labour’s 10 point lead in the polls, it is worth bearing in mind that only 3 months ago the party was jubilant and 10 points ahead of Labour. The electorate is livid to the point of hurting at the thought that, whilst they were locked down, the people making the rules were partying behind closed doors. That wound is about to be cauterised by Sue Gray.

Boris is the most successful campaigner in a generation; he won the Tories their biggest majority in decades. Given post-pandemic politics is particularly volatile, perhaps a sense of perspective is necessary. Mid-term blues are not a new phenomenon. In 1981 inflation had risen to 10%, and a Gallup poll for the Daily Telegraph had 70% disapproval of Margaret Thatcher – the lowest point reached by any Prime Minister since modern polling methods had begun. The poll also said 50.5% of voters intended to support the Social Democrats and Liberals. She went on to win two more elections…

If Tory MPs get rid of Boris during a mid-term lull, when they are 10 points behind, what is the plan? None of the front runners for the leadership even wants the job right now. Polling shows that none of the leading rival candidates for PM would save some 100 plus seats that would be lost if a general election were held tomorrow. If the Tories switch Prime Ministers without a general election, the calls for a general election mandate will mount. Be careful what you wish for… 

Cheered on by the BBC, the Mirror and Guardian, Tory MPs are venting their anger and the genuine anger of their constituents with Downing Street via Graham Brady. Turfing out a Prime Minister over twentysomethings in Downing Street guzzling cheese and wine is not really on a level with Suez, are they sure this is a well judged course of action? Politics is volatile, that 10 point lead Labour has today could switch back in 3 months again. Boris could turn it around like Thatcher. Who of the other current contenders has the strength of personality and ability to connect with voters?

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