When, aged 15, I joined the Conservative Party in the library of my school, I was aware of the reputation that would gather to me. I was boring, toryboy, I would be forever alone, my politics was more important than human interaction and, after all, I was joining the most boring of all political parties.
The Conservative Party was, for me, growing up in Northern Ireland, the respectable but dull, respectful but slightly stupid party which was at least not the moribund UUP or the stale theocracy of the DUP. And because I can read and have all my toes, I was never going to join the Alliance Party. It was the party of John Major, who played with a straight bat, a family man from two rooms in Brixton. It had been the party of Thatcher (God Bless Her) and of Churchill and of SuperMac. British Fair Play and none of this pinko nonsense.
The Conservatives were never very popular in Northern Ireland, because politics in Northern Ireland is grubby and aloof from economic reality because the Barnett Formula just keeps English tax pounds flowing, and who wants to take actual responsibility for anything?
Toryism fit me like a nicely worn pair of brown brogues (never black – officers wear brown). I understood the arguments, I respected the concept of limited, smaller government and the idea that people know best and the state knows the square root of fuck all. I thought personal responsibility was a good thing and I thought the concept of a state subtended by the rule of law was broadly better than anything I had ever read about elsewhere. We respected other nations, we loved our Commonwealth and its people and we were just fucking better and more decent than the other shower.
Broadly, whilst becoming a bit more worldly aware and recognising that perhaps that nice Mr Major ought not have been raw-dogging Edwina Currie whilst running a morality drive called ‘back to basics’ and that perhaps there were elements of the party which were rather more into cocaine and grand larceny than I had been comfortable with, I was still a tory of the old school. I was a nice Tory. And then David Cameron came along and I was in the majority and everybody agreed with me. David Cameron was brilliant. I met him. He was an absolute gentleman and I loved every second I spent with him over those few days.
And then he became PM.
And then the EU didn’t listen when he warned them we might leave.
And then we had a referendum he warned them we might have.
And then we lost the referendum he warned them we might lose.
And then Theresa May (whom I respect more after her premiership than before or during, because she tried to rescue things).
And then Boris.
Boris is a liar. A cheat and a cad and a scoundrel and a liar. Did I mention that?
Suddenly, to be a Tory wasn’t to be a boring young fart, a fuddy duddy. To be a Tory was to be gauche, craven, duplicitous, a column of calumny. And to defend one’s leader was harder and harder every day.
He got some things right – he saved us from the antisemitic pro-Iran fifth columnist Jeremy ‘Magic Grandpa’ Corbyn, channelled Churchill when Putin started his barbaric and squalid murderous invasion of Ukraine. He threw money at the vaccine and in so doing he has saved millions of lives. But when it came to be basic requirement of the British Prime Minister, he fell short because he MISLED.
I am not in the slightest sad to see Johnson go. I’m delighted that the appalling harridan Nadine Dorries is finished and I can’t wait to see decent boring conservative values once again return to government in the UK.
The next few months will be rocky; there will be Khruschev-esque denunciations of Boris, but not of Borisism, because Borisism always had a name, and we don’t need to spend any more time denouncing Wrong’un-ism. The job now is to remember how useless Starmer is and to remind the British people why they like the boring brown brogues. We’ll get it done.