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The only thing shocking about a 1997-style wipeout is that Sunak might keep 169 seats

Rishi Sunak
Rishi Sunak delivers his keynote speech on the closing day of the UK Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in October - Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

A YouGov poll splashed across Monday’s front page foresees a shocking electoral wipeout for the Conservatives on the scale of their 1997 defeat by Labour.

But were you shocked when you saw it? Is anyone really shocked? The only shocking thing about the shock poll, I think, is that it reckons the shockingly bad Tories will manage to hang on to 169 seats.

Wishful thinking, to my mind. A far superior and more reliable opinion poll – the comments under articles like this one in The Telegraph no less – has seen this asteroid coming for over 18 months. It is one thing to alienate the floating voter, but the Conservatives have been governing as if they were their natural supporters’ own worst enemy.

It is hard to overstate the sense of betrayal and anger. Back in October, I said that the Tories would be lucky to retain 150 seats and that was before we heard the Oh-dear-God legal immigration figures.

To wilfully welcome a population the size of Birmingham when your own people are struggling to access healthcare, housing and safe maternity services, which they have paid for out of their taxes, goes beyond mere incompetence. It is plain rude.

A “kick in the teeth”, as Suella Braverman said. Oh, and massively disrespectful of your loyal supporters. Immigration at those levels undermines social cohesion and it stops social mobility in its tracks because too many of our young people, who know they will never own a home and must live in extortionate rented accommodation while they pay off their student loan (like my two, in fact), get despondent and give up.

The UK now has a higher proportion of foreign-born residents than the United States – more than 10 million people, which is 15 per cent of our population and roughly twice as many as it was 10 years ago.

Did any Conservative vote for that? Did they heck. But the people in whom we first placed our trust back in 2010, whose manifesto commitments we stupidly believed, went ahead and did it anyway. How did Tory MPs come to believe they were better judges of what the country needs than the British voter?

While many who came to this country as immigrants, and the children of those immigrants, are making a fantastic contribution and are every bit as British as any of us, we all know there are a horrifying number of idle ratbags sponging off the efforts of hardworking families, getting priority for social housing, university places and even hospital appointments.

A poisonous minority hates the West while living in the, er, West and enjoying its comforts and freedoms. We don’t want them here.

Record mass immigration “and under a Conservative government”. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read or heard that incredulous rider. People say it all the time: The highest taxes for 70 years “and under a Conservative government”.

Over 40,000 migrants arriving illegally on our southern coast “and under a Conservative government”.

Blackmailing the motorist into buying EVs they can’t afford and struggle to resell “and under a Conservative government”.

Failing to exploit our own bountiful energy resources by banning fracking and shutting perfectly good coal-fired power stations “and under a Conservative government”.

Pursuing the economic suicide that is net zero, which gives comfort to our enemies and won’t make a gnat’s breath of difference to global carbon emissions, “and under a Conservative government”.

Allowing trans ideology and batshit crazy Marxist identity politics to take root in our schools and institutions “and under a Conservative government”.Hospitals asking male patients if they could be pregnant “and under a Conservative government”.

Ditto “people with cervixes”. Woman. The word you are looking for is WOMAN! “And under a Conservative government.”  Putting up thousands of illegal migrants in hotels while our homeless veterans sleep on the streets “and under a Conservative government”.

The British Army no longer regarded by our allies as a top-level fighting force “and under a Conservative government”. The RAF found guilty of discriminating against white men “and under a Conservative government”. Businesses still reeling from lockdown hit with a brutal rise in corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25 per cent “and under a Conservative government”.

It’s hardly an exhaustive list of the unTory abominations we have witnessed over 14 years of Conservative government. Do feel free to add your own.

So, when people shake their heads sorrowfully, marvelling that such and such a thing has taken place under – of all people – a Conservative government there is clearly a residual sense, a powerful nostalgia if you like, that Conservatives would never have allowed it to happen, not on their watch.

Sadly, the party no longer merits the benefit of the doubt. Why should we trust Rishi Sunak? Whenever the Tories appear to be tacking back in the right direction, it turns out to be a minor adjustment; the bare minimum they can get away with without causing a fit of the vapours in Ursula von der Leyen. Or upsetting all those Blue Wall voters they presume are on the Left of the party. (They’re not.)

Things the Conservatives used to be good at, which was often not doing too much, they are now really bad at. People calling themselves Conservative MPs have allowed all of the above list to happen, which tells us that they are imposters.

Because they don’t like or believe in Conservative things; they are liberal globalists who have no particular allegiance to this blessed plot so the dilution of its culture is irrelevant, the comfort and safety of our people unimportant. In fact, many Conservative MPs appear to despise Conservative values, and they loathe those of us who love them. The feeling is mutual, I can assure you.

The Rwanda plan in particular, and immigration in general, are now routinely scorned by so-called One Nation Conservatives as a concern of the “Right of the party” or even the “far-Right” when, in fact, the majority of Tory voters are very concerned indeed. (This is why only 38 per cent of the 13.9 million people who backed Boris in 2019 will definitely vote for the Tories again this year. If they’re lucky.)

On Radio 4’s Today programme, Miriam Cates explained why she, Robert Jenrick and other “rebel” Tory MPs are demanding the Rwanda Bill be tightened up to prevent the farcical merry-go-round of appeals and the disappearance of potential criminals and terrorists.

In November, the Home Office admitted that they do not know the whereabouts of 17,000 asylum seekers whose claims have been discontinued. In a functioning country, that scandalous admission would have seen public apologies and resignations. In Broken Britain, it was par for the course.

As Cates pointed out to a disapproving Mishal Husain (you can practically hear her shuddering fastidiously into the microphone, can’t you?): “The British people have had enough of it.”

A poll in The Telegraph, the Sheffield MP said, showed that “in almost all constituencies in the country the preferred option is for quick detention and deportation (to Rwanda)”. If Cates, an eminently sensible, down-to-earth Northerner is now considered a far-Right trouble-maker, it is hardly surprising that Reform UK is hoovering up Tory votes.

Analysis of that shocking yet not-at-all shocking opinion poll warned that 96 Conservative seats will be lost because Reform will be standing a candidate in every constituency. As if it were Reform’s fault!

Nigel Farage and Richard Tice are not to blame for the fact that former Conservatives cannot bear to vote for a party which has let them down in almost every single regard, even if the alternative is Starmergeddon.

Last week, I interviewed Ben Habib, the co-deputy leader of Reform, for the Planet Normal podcast and was taken aback. Who was this excellent fellow talking with such passion about putting the interests of British people first? Ben sounded, well, he sounded like a Conservative actually.

A sound nearly as extinct as the call of the hooded grebe or the kakapo. If I lived in Wellingborough, where Ben is standing in the forthcoming by-election, I would vote for him like a shot.

Many just like me will feel the same. The Conservatives pocketed our votes and used them to create a country we barely recognise. The UK needs and wants a Right-wing party. If Tory MPs find our views distasteful, other parties are available.

The democratic process, when it swings round every five years, has a neat way of showing an arrogant and imposter government who is boss. The ballot does not lie.

I’m sure the Labour landslide will be every bit as awful as we fear, but true Conservatives will emerge from the rubble and, with our help, they will build again. (Even the Canadian Conservatives managed to recover after losing 167 seats and retaining only two in 1993.)

At least there’s one thing to look forward to. It’s going to be a lot more fun hating a government you didn’t vote for.

You can hear Allison’s interview with Ben Habib here

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