The Tribes are just Vibes
The absurdity of the Tory start ups and the press that humours them
This week saw the launch of the latest splinter group within the Tory Party. In front of collected journalists, Liz Truss, Lee Anderson and Jacob Rees-Mogg launched the Popular Conservatives ( cringingly dubbed the “PopCons”). It’s the newest faction to emerge from a party that is gradually disintegrating, but like many of the others, it seems both confused and confusing, with a host of uneasy allies struggling to navigate between what they want and what they think the electorate might.
The PopCon launch offered no real policy suggestions. Instead, it became a series of rants about the way of the world. Liz Truss attacked the “Woke Left”, JRM aimed at “Davos Man”, while Lee Anderson discussed “sustainable coal”. Their answer to everything was little different to what the party is already offering, passed through a filter of weird online talking points. It seemed to ignore much of what was going on in people’s lives and lacked any sort of intellectual rigour. Like the wave of new centrist parties of 2019, it was just some people, in a room, talking to journalists to fill a bit of copy and be forgotten.[i]
The reaction from the press was to present this as another ride of the “hard right” of the Tory Party. This again seemed bizarre, a description that has been pushed beyond all real meaning. Liz Truss, if anything, is closer to being a libertarian, JRM a combination of often affected social conservatism and Thatcherism, while Lee Anderson was in the Labour Party seven years ago. It all demonstrates the fogginess that now surrounds the Tories’ internal disputes.