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In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes


In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes

Nov 20, 2023 | 7:00 am ET
By Diane Roberts
In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes
Rishi Sunak shown on Oct. 24, 2022, before his elevation to British P.M. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON — The British government now has a Minister for Common Sense.

Esther McVey, a former talking head on GB News (a kind of low-rent Fox), has been installed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to “tackle the scourge of wokery.”

She wants to stop diversity training, keep combustion engines around forever (to hell with the stupid planet), and never apologize (or even acknowledge) atrocities committed by the British Empire.

Ron DeSantis would love her.

According to the Tories, that wokey crap has crept into every corner of British society, from schools teaching the history of colonialism to descendants of Caribbean plantation owners paying reparations to descendants of former slaves to Church of England vicars using gender-neutral references to God.

How dare these lefty lunatics trouble the judicious, enlightened, and sober Conservative government with their nonsensical attempts at equity and inclusion?


You could, of course, argue it’s common sense to put someone in charge of imposing common sense on the nation, although unkind people have pointed out the Tories could use a jolt of the stuff themselves.

In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes
Boris Johnson. Credit: Office of U.S. National Security Adviser

An official inquiry into the government’s handling of the pandemic revealed that then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he of the inartfully tousled mop, had the bright idea of being injected with the virus live on television.

So people would know it was no big deal.

Then in a total Trump move, he also suggested you could drive COVID out of your body by blowing” a special hair dryer” up your nose.

This man was in charge of the world’s sixth largest economy.

Kidney punch

Not that America has much to brag about. Voters may have shoveled Trump out of the White House, but his minions remain in charge of the House of Representatives, where they are now engaged in various slap fights, mostly with former speaker Kevin McCarthy.

The always-ladylike Marjorie Taylor Greene accused him of being a (insert feline slang word for female genitalia here) and lacking, er, testicles.

Tim Burchett, R-Tenn, has accused McCarthy of elbowing him in the back: “a clean shot to the kidneys,” he said.

McCarthy says nuh-uh, no he did not neither, adding if he’d really kidney-punched Burchett, the guy’d “be on the ground.”

All this happened in front of reporters.

It’s no better in the upper chamber, where an Oklahoma senator challenged a union president to bare-knuckle fisticuffs in the middle of a hearing.

In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes
Sen. Markwayne Mullin, an Oklahoma Republican, is shown holding a printout of the social media post that led him to challenge the head of the Teamsters union to a physical fight at a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023. (U.S. House webcast screenshot)

Sen. Markwayne Mullin, a former MMA fighter, barked at Sean O’Brien, “Sir, this is a time, this is a place. You want to run your mouth, we can be two consenting adults, we can finish it here.”

“OK, that’s fine. Perfect,” said O’Brien.

“Stand your butt up, then,” said Mullin.

Such elevated discourse, such rhetorical finesse. Abraham Lincoln would be proud.

Meanwhile, back in the Land of Hope and Glory, Suella Braverman, former Home Secretary and racist monster, sent Sunak a blistering half-Mean Girl, half-dumped lover letter right after he fired her.

She tried to make the relationship work but felt “betrayed;” he was “weak;” he ignored her; she is so, so hurt.

Tory revolt

Adding insult to a punch in the amour propre, the U.K. Supreme Court has just ruled against the Tories’ clever plan to ship asylum seekers coming to the U.K. off to that bastion of human rights, Rwanda — a plan Suella really, truly cared for.

Ron DeSantis would love her, too.

She is evidently now planning a right-wing Tory revolt, perhaps becoming leader after Sunak crashes and burns in the next election.

If that doesn’t work out for her, she could always move to America, where our government-wrecking whack-jobs would welcome her with open arms and open carry.

Congress appears to have avoided a shut down, at least until next year. Gives the janitors time to sit the chairs upright and scrub the blood off the floor before these alleged legislators return to start trashing the place anew.

In the U.K. and U.S. alike, the conservative movement is falling apart before our eyes
U.S. Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“We have broken the fever,” said new House Speaker Mike Johnson, a man so anti-science he probably doesn’t own a thermometer.

In the U.K., Sunak is trying to keep his circus confined to a supposedly manageable three rings, looking to some mythic rosy future.

Presumably not the 2024 general election shellacking the pollsters predict.

Last week’s Cabinet reshuffle was intended to show he’s focused on the future, moving ahead, forging the Britain of Tomorrow.

Or something.

He seems, however, to be walking backwards.

Reverse course

Sunak once appeared to take climate change seriously, wanting to phase out Britain’s North Sea drilling and replace dirty energy with clean. But when he noticed some Tory voters freaking out about gas prices and “woke” electric cars, he reversed course on Net Zero emissions and will now allow more North Sea leases.

Shopping for a replacement foreign secretary — a critical post considering there’s one war in the Middle East and another on the borders of Europe — he didn’t go for something new but opted for a re-tread, the widely disliked Tory toff, David Cameron.

Cameron is the political genius who got bullied into putting on the Brexit referendum and then lost.

The obvious choice!

Tiny point: Members of the Cabinet normally hold elected positions, but Cameron’s been out of Parliament since 2016.

Not to worry; he’s been elevated to the democratically unaccountable House of Lords, so that’s OK: After all, nothing screams modern democracy like a peerage.

In all seriousness, people, the U.K. and the U.S. used to be admired for their free and fair elections, their adherence to the rule of law, and the freedoms enshrined in their constitutions.

The world is watching and asking, what the hell happened?