I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Conservative Party
I work for the Conservative Party, but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of Theresa May’s agenda and her worst inclinations.
JOE.co.uk today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior member of the Conservative Party whose identity is known to us and whose reputation would be jeopardised by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.
Theresa May is facing a test to her leadership unlike any faced by a modern British leader, except perhaps Jeremy Corbyn.
It’s not just that she lost her parliamentary majority. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Brexit. Or even that her party are behind Labour in the polls.
The dilemma — which she does not fully grasp — is that there are people within her party would want to be the Prime Minister, and she is currently stopping me, I mean them, from achieving their own political ambitions.
To be clear, ours is not the popular 'resistance' of the left. We want conservatism to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made Britain safer and more prosperous.
But we believe our first duty is to this party, and the Prime Minister continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the realisation of someone else having her top job.
That is why many members (or ex-members) of the Cabinet have vowed to do what we can to maintain the appearance of a coherent Government whilst thwarting Mrs May at any opportunity until she is out of office.
The root of the problem is that she is clearly unable to deliver a Brexit that works for Britain, because not only is it an impossible task but also I don’t really want Brexit anyway, I just pretended to, not thinking we’d actually win.
In addition, her 'robotic' nature in TV interviews is putting off voters. What the party needs is someone with a bit of flair, a florid lexicon, and tousled flaxen hair, for example.
From 10 Downing Street, to government departments, to the person staring back at me in the bathroom mirror, many senior officials will privately admit to me their daily disbelief that it is her and not me running the country. Meetings with her tend to be her telling me to stop going off script on foreign visits, or undermining her leadership in my latest newspaper column. Very little governing is done in the meetings I have attended.
This behaviour would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in the Foreign Office until recently. Some of her former ministers have been cast as villains by the media. But in private we, I mean they, have gone to great lengths to mask the calamity of Brexit whilst also maintaining a distance from it. For me, Brexit is like a game of wiff-waff. You must understand your opponent in order to defeat them.
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Brits should know that there are adults in the room, I am led to believe. We fully recognise what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right, even if we don’t know what that is, or how to do it.
Take Brexit negotiations: In public and in private, the Prime Minister shows a preference for “a deal that is in the best interests for Britain”. Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration doesn’t know its arse from its elbow.
This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of a party who elected the wrong leader.
Given the instability within the party, there were early whispers of a leadership challenge. But no one wanted to risk an early election. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction – i.e. allow May’s leadership to forever be synonymous with the mess of Brexit, and then allow me to become Prime Minister without having to get my hands dirty.
The bigger concern is not what Mrs May has done for Britain’s post-Brexit prospects, but what she has done for my own leadership ambitions.