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By the way, it goes without saying that the lacklustre and ineffectual Sir Patrick McLoughlin should be replaced as chairman of the party, as he has reportedly accepted he will be. A Tory revival is only possible if the constituency foot soldiers — neglected by David Cameron, and since the election out of love with Theresa May — rally to the cause. The Cabinet, which seems to have more than its fair share of mediocre ministers, could also do with some new blood. Moreover, there are lots of talented junior ministers and MPs without office whom the Prime Minister should be bringing forward, though I shan’t embarrass them by mentioning their names now.

As for Corbyn, he is still not treated by the Tories as the lethal menace he unquestionably is. It’s no good simply hoping he will shoot himself in the foot. The RMT and Unite unions are seemingly contemplating a series of political strikes. (Since Corbyn became leader the unions have poured £27 million into Labour’s coffers.) If these strikes materialise, it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of the Conservative Party to represent them for what they will be — an attempt by the far Left to unseat the democratically elected Prime Minister of Great Britain.

It’s hard to believe that millions of young voters really want the economic misery Jeremy Corbyn would undoubtedly usher in. The trouble is that no Tory has succeeded in convincing them this would be the inescapable outcome. Nor has Mrs May started to set out an alternative vision which might persuade even some of them that they would have a better future under a Conservative government.

Some pundits suggest that a kind of sea-change has taken place in British society born of long years of austerity, and fostered by the explosion of social media, which has been brilliantly exploited by Labour campaigners and is still not properly understood by the Tories. They argue that much of the country has grown irrevocably tired of the Conservatives, and Corbyn’s day is bound to come. It is a grim prognosis which no Tory — no patriot, I would say — should accept without a fight.

Brexit is, of course, going to be by far the greatest challenge. Hitherto — understandably, given that she voted Remain — Mrs May has given the impression of honourably carrying out the democratic verdict of the British people like a lawyer sticking to a tricky brief. The best thing she can do for herself, and the country, is to display some infectious enthusiasm. Is this too much to ask? Can she do it?

Barring accidents Mrs May is going to be Prime Minister for the next 18 months, and very possibly longer. Can she really deliver a successful Brexit while saving the country from Jeremy Corbyn? Over recent weeks she has sometimes looked dispirited and careworn, as though struggling to cope with the monumental tasks that lie before her. People forget that she suffers from Type 1 diabetes, a serious condition which means that she has to watch what she eats extremely carefully, and inject herself with insulin at least four times a day. The burdens on her must be very great. Yet her friends say she has a sense of Christian duty, and will battle on.

What a battle it is going to be. Looking at Theresa May, with her limitations and her strengths, I can’t honestly say that I am brimming with confidence about the short-term future of this country or the Conservative Party. But there is still good reason to hope. There is, as it happens, no one else.
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Lawrence James
October 18th, 2017
11:10 AM
How would Churchill managed the present crisis ? Surely the question should be whether he would have allowed himself to be bulldozed into reckless policy whose most likely outcome would be and in all likelihood will be economic collapse.

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