The most right-wing government in history?
Has the Tory party been 'hijacked' by its extremes?
There’s an old joke, which has many variations, but goes something along the following lines: a king called, let’s say Boris, is complaining to a visitor about his nickname.
‘Look at that city down there,’ he says. ‘You see the bridge crossing the river that leads into our city? I built that bridge. But do they call me “Boris the bridge builder”? No.’
‘And you see the great church in the middle of our city, overlooking the square? Well, I built that church. And do they call me “Boris the church-builder”? No.’
King Boris pauses, then looks over at his visitor and laments: ‘But shag ONE sheep…’
It’s an old joke, and one that could apply to the Conservative Party as it approaches its fifteenth and final year in office.
According to a recent YouGov poll, the Tory party is now perceived as being as right-wing as Nigel Farage-era Ukip, and this is certainly a perception shared by the commentariat. I regularly see people claiming that we have the most Right-wing administration in living memory, that the government is enthralled to populists, that the Tory party has been hijacked by the Right; and if it isn’t already, it soon will be.
Yet how right-wing are the Tories? How these things are measured is obviously subjective, but it is certainly not that difficult to weave an alternative narrative.