The Daily Toast: Douglas Murray On Putting Country Before Party

Tim Montgomerie - 2

The exodus begins…

Douglas Murray lends an eloquent voice of support to Tim Montgomerie and his brave decision to quit the Conservative Party as an act of protest against Cameronism:

In the wasteland of principles that is Westminster, Tim Montgomerie has always been an exception.  The area is filled with ambitious, bland careerists whose idea of taking a stand (as with most of the commentariat) consists of trying to locate two ‘extremes’ before comfortably wedging themselves equidistant between them.  But in resigning from a lifetime’s membership of the Conservative party, Tim Montgomerie has demonstrated that there is still room for principles in politics.

[..] But here is the bigger problem for [Montgomerie’s critics]. It may well be that they shouldn’t care about the founder of Conservative Home, and one of their party’s most loyal and thoughtful members, choosing to leave the party.  Just as they may for the time-being not mind taking all those leaflet-deliverers for granted while riding against their core wishes.  But one day they may wake up to discover that amid all the high-handed dismissals and principle-free careerism, there is nobody around left to watch their political backs.  What a day that will be.  And perhaps it will come sooner rather than later.

If anything is going to hasten this day of reckoning, it will be the coming EU referendum. The party grassroots are overwhelmingly at odds with the leadership on the key question of Brexit. The parliamentary Conservative Party is on course to split just as dramatically as Labour split over the vote for military action in Iraq back in 2003.

Then throw in a rancorous, ill-tempered EU referendum campaign – our country is debating an existential issue, and tempers will inevitably fray and then snap. Things will be said that are far worse than David Cameron’s prissy, coded jibes at the expense of Boris Johnson in Parliament today.

And in the midst of this intra-party warfare, Conservative MPs may come to realise – or recall – that there is far more that divides them than just the question of Brexit. Other ideological differences, suppressed in the name of the “greater good” of general election victory, will come bubbling back to the surface.

Some Tory MPs might even make the mistake of asking themselves what the Cameron/Osborne legacy will be – and then recoil in horror when they realise that they fought their way back to power only to blindly implement Tony Blair’s fourth term New Labour agenda.

And then will come the desperate casting around for a more authentic conservative vision, and a more credible leader to bring it about. And vindication for Tim Montgomerie.


Read my take on Tim Montgomerie’s resignation from the Conservative Party here, as part of the “What Conservative Government?” series.


Tim Montgomerie

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