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Frost was right about Northern Ireland but wrong about Britain’s Brexit future - by Nick Timothy

Post-Brexit a new fissure within the Conservative party is beginning to emerge between economic nationalists on the one hand and the neo-liberals on the other, between a build-back better model with government at is heart, and an uber-global Singapore-on-Thames prototype with minimal interference from the State.

According to some including Lord Frost, disputes with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol provide a catalyst for the latter, but, argues Nick Timothy in today's Telegraph, no such consent has been granted by the electorate.

While supply-side reform on tax and planning are to be welcomed,

these are specific changes, to be made within a mixed approach that uses a stronger, more strategic state to rebalance the economy – attracting private investment, funding infrastructure projects, stimulating nascent industries and backing those in which we already excel, providing more technical education and retraining for those who need it.

With the Tories in the doldrums, MPs grumpy about tax rises and a sense of drift in government rather than vision and drive, many Conservatives are starting to look towards simple and comforting ideological templates to rediscover a sense of energy. That is understandable, but it is also a mistake.”

By contrast, Henry Hill argues that it's precisely the lack of any kind of ideological template which lies at the root cause of Boris Johnson's present difficulties. Lord Frost's departure is merely a symptom of far wider and deeper failings at the heart of the present administration.

"How often things which look like strengths in good times can suddenly appear to be weaknesses when the going gets tough. Two years ago, Boris Johnson’s lack of ideological rigour was a key part of his appeal. It allowed him to step outside modern Tory orthodoxies and appeal directly to parts of the country which hadn’t voted for the party in generations.

But here and now, on the backswing, the fact that there is scant meat on the bones of ‘Johnsonism’ means that would-be loyalists have little to be loyal to except the man himself.

There is no Praetorian Guard of ideological bedfellows who will close ranks around him for the sake of the project, nor Cabinet ‘big beasts’ who might dislike him personally but are prepared to serve for the sake of a common vision. Instead, backbench groups with their own agendas fight to define his slogans to their own advantage.

Perhaps the Prime Minister will manage to stabilise the situation over the holidays. But his political capital is gone, and with it the chances of delivering meaningful reform on pretty much any front in the remainder of this Parliament. His capacity for personally putting his foot in it, by contrast, will remain. Conservative MPs, anticipating a general election in 2023, may well come to feel their best bet is a change of leadership next year."

Both articles can be read here with links to the original beneath them:

Article by Nick Timothy for the Telegraph - Frost was right about Northern Ireland but wro
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Article by Henry Hill for the Telegraph - David Frost's resignation makes a 2022 leadershi
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