Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. The Staggers
19 January 2018

The Conservatives can’t afford to look this ridiculous

The Tories can't have too many more days like this one.

By Stephen Bush

Imagine for a moment the entry on Downing Street’s media grid for 19 January: our Foreign Secretary will kick things off by suggesting that we build a large and expensive bridge to France, while one of our CCHQ vice-chairs will say that young people are “puritanical” in their responses to sexual harassment and the jokes in Friends. Then another one of the vice-chairs will be revealed to have made further inflammatory posts online, their third in three days.

It isn’t quite fair to suggest that Downing Street put all that together: instead, these stories are crowding out their re-announcement of a series of dull-but-important cross-border initiatives with the French government. The good news for the government is that at least the row is crowding out stories into two damning reports into the condition of the public realm – the NHS and prisons respectively. 

It is true to say that there is a sizable constituency in the country that agrees with Ben Bradley’s blogposts or Kemi Badenoch’s feelings for snowflakes. It’s just that many of the voters who agree don’t like hearing those sentiments spring from the mouth of a still-distrusted Conservative Party and the ones that do already voted for them in the past.  Johnson’s bridge is probably the most dangerous as it’s yet another retreat from the principle of “sound money”, an idea that while it may be economically rickety has served the Tories well in elections past.

The government needs to get much better at filling the airwaves with stories that dispel rather than reinforce the negative perceptions and to actually tackle the growing crises in the housing market and the public realm. Instead, they just look ridiculous.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
The truth about employability
Why we need a Minister for Citizen Experience
Look at the person, not the CV

Topics in this article :