, 11 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
Many SW1 Conservatives seem trapped in the cognitive trauma of the Hague/Howard years, when the instincts of the ‘Tory base’ were seen as an electoral liability.
Cameron’s geniality and ’modernisation’ on social issues successfully stitched together a broader electoral coalition, while keeping the base on-side.
They seem to see Brexit through this lens, whereby concessions to the ‘centre’ (metropolitan values) are key to a broad Conservative appeal.

They have a strong sense that offering the referendum was an ‘unforced error’ by Cameron, and that it was lost by an unlucky fluke.
‘Conservatism’ straddles two concepts: ‘technocratic competence’, and ’dignity of the nation’. Technocratic competence implies steadiness with direction of the state in the face of flukes and ‘diversions’, and they see ‘diluting’ Brexit as part of their technocratic ’job’.
But ‘dignity of the nation’ implies respecting democratic propriety, plus robustness in international diplomacy. The May/Robbins Brexit ‘negotiation’ of an easy-to-reverse provisional BRINO, fails dramatically on both of these counts, and is clearly seen as such by the public.
This failure to respect national dignity explains the dramatic cratering of support for the SW1 leadership amongst very many Conservative supporters, allied of course to deep doubts about the supposed technocratic competence.
In this case, many ‘Conservatives’ believe that this historic opportunity to leave the failing EU is the technocratically correct action to take, and frustrating it shows lack of political acuity as well as legitimacy.
The ‘legitimacy’ and ‘authority’ of politicians and bureaucrats is always nebulous and hard to pin down, but rests on a web of institutional and social conventions, which needs to stay carefully attuned to tides of public sentiment.
When people like ’Sir’ Alan Duncan, ‘Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur’ Dominic Grieve & ’General’ Nicolas Boles seek to frustrate Party manifesto commitments, a referendum result, and their ‘base’ supporters, the question does seem pertinent where their authority comes from.
The anger felt by supporters at the breach of trust by so many SW1 Conservatives, who assume for themselves a legitimacy & technocratic prerogative they barely seem to merit, makes possible a dramatic collapse in support for the current Conservative party.
Whether a replacement right-wing alignment can engage sufficient voters to defeat both Corbynism and 'metropolitanism', as per this excellent piece by @Sherelle_E_J, is the big question.

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