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Stay-at-home North Shropshire Tories call time on succession of self-inflicted train wrecks

We all congratulate Lib Dem Helen Morgan on her victory in the North Shropshire by-election on Thursday. At the same time, let’s acknowledge that Neil Shastri-Hurst was an excellent Conservative candidate with a proud record of public service in the military and NHS, the very opposite of a career politician. Just as I did after failing to win the Chesham and Amersham by-elections in June, Neil will now dig deep into a study of self-reflection to see what else he personally could have done. He shouldn’t linger in this room for too long as this thumping defeat for the Conservatives was clearly not his fault.

The total collapse of the Labor vote in North Shropshire went largely unreported. All the excited talk about swings and share of votes ignores the reality of turnout differentials. Surely those who previously wanted Comrade Corbyn to be our Prime Minister are highly motivated to “land on Boris” if given the chance! So I propose that the nine thousand Labor votes lost went straight to the Lib Dem corner without going (which accounts for three quarters of the increase in their votes!). So the Lib Dem’s intoxicating claim that it was the successful recruitment of Brexit-voting Tory voters into the open arms of EU fanatic Ed Davey “didn’t win it” is somewhat fallacious. As in Chesham and Amersham, the Tories staying at home were again the real story of the evening.

Conservative voters who want to express their displeasure with a Conservative government do so effectively in a by-election by simply staying at home; For lifelong Tory voters, this is a big step! With an 80-seat majority and no chance of changing government, they can vent that anger without risk. In Chesham and Amersham, the stay-at-home Tories expressed deep resentment against HS2, opposition to feared planning reforms and anger at the state of local roads. All of this could be heard loud and clear. In North Shropshire, the stay-at-home Tories are certainly demanding time for the endless string of self-inflicted train crashes and for an urgent resumption of sound government.

Contrary to the dizzying rhetoric of some, the government’s fuel tank is still full. The £36billion NHS and social care reform package tackles problems successive governments have dodged for decades. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act gives the eleven thousand additional police officers who have already been recruited the powers and tools they need to keep us all safe. The Nationality and Borders Bill was intended to place serious restrictions on dangerous small boat crossings of the Channel. The Chancellor’s well-thought-out cut in the Universal Credit taper rate and hike in wages and salaries give the lowest-paid workers a £2.2 billion tax cut just in time for Christmas.

And just last week the government announced a formal consultation on a UK Bill of Rights to reaffirm the primacy of UK law, signed a historic deal with Australia worth over £10bn

All of this at the same time as making immensely difficult decisions to navigate our country through a global pandemic while maintaining record levels of employment, delivering a world-leading rollout of vaccines and now the fastest booster program in Europe.

But very few voters in North Shropshire heard about it, despite the deafening noise of crashing carriages and tangled railway tracks. The Prime Minister knows what he has to do. To be the best leader we know he can be, he must surround himself with the very best talents; Step forward Jeremy Hunt and Tom Tugendhat to join the top chart. He must restore discipline in the ranks; Start firing anyone who publicly criticizes outstanding officials like Chris Whitty. And like any successful CEO, he should set and publish time-bound “must have” delivery targets for each member of his cabinet; the outcomes of which need to be aligned so that the chancellor can return to the best known means of alignment: tax cuts for hard-working families as soon as possible, and certainly before the next general election.

In my thirty years of doing business around the world, the best trading turnarounds I’ve seen have been accomplished by strong and charismatic CEOs standing with their backs to the wall, with hostile inbound issues, shareholders and competitors on all fronts. These are the testing conditions that bring out the best in leaders. Now it’s time for our Prime Minister to rediscover his best.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2021/12/19/stay-at-home-north-shropshire-tories-call-time-succession-self/ Stay-at-home North Shropshire Tories call time on succession of self-inflicted train wrecks

Linh

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