Stalemate, impasse, deadlock, limbo...
They were elected as New Labour, and they promised to govern as New Labour.
They did exactly what Old Labour have always done: bankrupted the country and brought us to the brink of a national crisis.
And the man responsible for a decade of economic inefficiency and fiscal incompetence as Chancellor of the Exchequer became Her Majesty’s First Lord of the Treasury.
He was never elected as Prime Minister: he was distrusted by the majority of the nation, criticised by his own Chancellor, loathed by his own ministers and despised by many of his backbenchers.
Labour took us to war on a false premise; they replaced Cabinet government with a politburo; diminished democracy; marginalised Parliament; admitted three million immigrants; saddled us with recession and soaring unemployment; given us the highest youth unemployment in history; eroded our liberties; abolished the right to trial by jury; raped the Constitution; politicised the civil service; sold off our gold reserves at the bottom of the market; raided our pensions; subjected us to the Lisbon Treaty; relegated us from 7th to 24th in international maths and literacy rankings; increased pensioner poverty; increased inequality; caused fascists to be elected to Brussels; massively increased our tax burden; imposed an incredible 5000 new laws; created an authoritarian state and thoroughly debased our politics.
After 13 long years of extravagant spending, sinister social engineering, welfare expansion, uncontrolled immigration, endless fiddling with the electoral system, unparalleled electoral fraud, grotesque state encroachment into private lives and personal affairs and now a devalued currency, Labour proved to be the most stunningly incompetent government in the history of the United Kingdom (and God knows there are quite a few to choose from), and the most ideologically illiberal, oppressive and anti-Christian in centuries.
Against this backdrop, you would have thought that the Conservative Party might have been on course for an electoral landslide.
A year ago, they were on course for a resounding victory. Polls were consistently showing a 10-point lead over Labour, and did so for a convincing period of time.
And yet we ended up with a hung parliament, a dead heat, a score draw.
David Cameron won exactly the same proportion of the vote as Ted Heath won in 1974.
How can this be?
What is there worth sustaining in this Labour Government? What is remotely attractive about voting for another 5 years (FIVE YEARS) of Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Ed Balls and Harpy Hormone?
New Labour abandoned their Christian foundations long ago; they cast aside all that may ever have been true, noble and good and supplanted it with duplicity, avarice and the stench of sleaze. Their principles were shredded, and their sense of righteous morality pulped and recycled as an idol to every god in the firmament but the One who is known. Labour became the party of war, the party of torture, the party of exploitation and the party of deception. They rewarded the thieves and fraudsters with ‘rights’ while penalising the law-abiding and responsible. Their achievements have been molehills, judged against the towering peaks scaled by New Labour in its rejection not only of Labour, but of any decent and civilised values.
New Labour long ceased to be civilised, for they lost their vision of the meaning of this civility. They are no longer good, for it has lost sight of the common good by inflicting us with a plethora of uncommon relativist goods. The recession may be global, but it is New Labour’s fault that the United Kingdom is the worst-placed nation in the western world to cope with its effects. They became the embodiment of that for which they always despised the Conservatives: Labour became the party of unemployment, recession, inflation, and poverty.
Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.
Cranmer had faith in David Cameron.
And he achieved some quite remarkable swings - some vastly more impressive than any achieved by the Party over the past 80 years.
But he did not deliver a victory.
It was always going to be a mountain to climb, but perhaps this moment calls for a moment of reflection and a little humility.
Some 'A-list' candidates have behaved appallingly to their local associations and on occasion displayed an alarming degree of arrogance. And they did so with the indulgence of CCHQ and the Party leadership. Some evidently took victory for granted and failed to put in the necessary hours, if ever they knew how. Others decided to talk endlessly about their very good friends Dave and Sam, but never bothered to earn their spurs in the mind-numbing tedium of local politics.
It is not only local Conservative associations which resent having candidates foisted upon them: the electorate evidently objects also. Margaret Thatcher once observed that you can't buck the market: David Cameron needs to realise that you can't buck the people.
Perhaps the Conservative Party needs to mend some fences with their ‘Turnip Taliban’, the ‘dinosaurs’ and their ‘backwoodsmen’.
It is one thing to reach out to the ‘middle ground’, but quite another to do it at the expense of one’s core vote. The Party leadership might just consider that these turnips, dinosaurs and backwoodsmen are not all out-of-touch, anachronistic eccentrics, but often intelligent and discerning individuals possessing of more conservative philosophy in their little fingers than some of the Party’s key strategists appear to manifest in their entire beings.
Those who have consistently and unwaveringly voted for the Conservative Party have done so because they are conservatives. They have the innate intelligence to see beyond the superficial, anodyne and banal. Their notion of diversity is more than skin deep: it is not dependent on gender, ethnicity, sexuality or disability, but on profession, achievement, religion, philosophy and worldview. The shifting sands of a nebulous and platitudinous ecumenical ‘broad appeal’ are no substitute for the rock of the ‘broad church’ laity.
Not least because all attempts by a centralist cabal of Notting Hill clerics to re-build the great Conservative broad church upon a foundation of shifting sand have had the inevitable consequences.