Boris changed the Tories forever - by Professor Matthew Goodwin for Unherd - 08.07.22

A lack of intellectual coherence at the heart of the Johnson regime must be addressed if the Conservative Party is to retain its coalition of support in any forthcoming election, says Professor Matthew Goodwin in his analysis for Unherd.


“Cake-ism became the inevitable consequence of a premiership that had no serious intellectual roots or overarching philosophical framework. The glaring absence of serious thinkers among his entourage found its expression in a long list of thin, short-term, and at times openly contradictory policies that never came close to reflecting the wishes of his party’s new voters.


While they wanted less immigration, he gave them more. While they prized aspiration and economic freedom, he gave them the highest tax burden since the Fifties. While they were instinctively suspicious of the state; he put it on steroids. While they expected a serious strategy for Levelling Up, he consistently failed to provide one.


While they wanted a strong pushback against the illiberalism of radical “woke” progressivism, he appeared reluctant to get involved. While they thought they had elected a political fighter, he too often worried about how he was perceived by cosmopolitan liberals.

While they thought he was on their side, he appeared to treat them with contempt. And while they wanted an economy and a system that did more for ordinary working people, he often appeared more interested in building Singapore-on-Thames.”


Resolving these tensions within the newly constituted Conservative Party will be one of the urgent priorities facing any prospective leader. Whether they are up to the task will define their Premiership.


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Article for Unherd by Professor Matthew Goodwin - Boris changed the Tories for ever - 08
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