July 19, 2024
Reform, a party with no infrastructure and unhealthily dependent on one man, might wither away in the meantime, leaving the Conservative Party to pick up its remnants, but what if that does not happen?

The Tory Catastrophe

When (then) British prime minister Rishi Sunak called a snap election for July 4, five months or so before the last possible date, there was surprise that he had decided to lead the Tories, trailing badly in the polls, so quickly to the slaughterhouse. Channeling Mr. Micawber, “something” might have turned up to help the Conservatives between July and December: The economy was improving, Nigel Farage might have become preoccupied with the U.S. election campaign, and so on.

As it was, Sunak’s decision, taken by a small cabal and opposed by his campaign manager, took a bad position and made it worse. The party was not prepared — many seats did not yet have candidates, and fundraising had a long way to go. Adding to the Conservatives’ misery, Sunak proved to be a remarkably inept campaigner. And then, heaping more coals on Tory heads, Nigel Farage, who, however polarizing he may be, is the most effective political campaigner in Britain, took the helm of the populist-Right Reform U.K. Party, a party well placed to take advantage of a revolt against the Merkelism that has characterized the Tories for years. The Right would thus be badly split, which under Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system, meant catastrophe.

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