Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. UK Politics
3 October 2017

The Tories are already acting as if the 2022 election is lost

Conservative party conference feels more like a funeral than a festival.

By Stephen Bush

Is this death? Labour party conference felt like the gathering of a party that had just experienced a kind of victory, but the Conservatives’ big do feels more like a funeral than a festival.

Yesterday’s big speech, such as it was, came from Philip Hammond, who had a lot to say about how bad the 1970s were and rather less to say about what the 2020s will be like under the Conservatives.

For all it’s easy to laugh at Labour for celebrating their third successive defeat, they did at least take a significant step forward at the last election.

It’s a lot stranger that despite the fact they’re at worst three points behind, the Conservatives are already talking as if the 2022 election is lost. At almost every fringe I’ve been to, activists are asking questions about what happens “when we’re back in opposition”.

The strange thing is that all the Tories have to do to win is stop talking as if affluent ethnic minorities are the enemy and as if everyone who voted Remain should be sent to camp, and to turn their energies towards house-building. The future could yet be blue.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. 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 weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
I consent to New Statesman Media Group collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy

But Labour’s great joy is that the Tories are already acting as if the last election has been fought and lost.