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The lost world of small-c conservatives

Morecambe and Wise: broadly “on the right”. Getty

I don’t really understand the “hoo-ha” about Sue Gray being offered a job by Keir Starmer, says Rod Liddle in The Spectator. Many Tories think this implies the civil servant’s investigation into Partygate “may not have been wholly neutral”. To which I would ask: where have they been for the past three decades? “Of course it wasn’t wholly neutral.” Almost the entire civil service, especially the “hip and interminably liberal” cohort in Westminster, loathes the Conservative Party. Only occasionally does their “rancour and disaffection” spill out, like when some “sobbing public-school woo-woos” claim they are being bullied by tiny Priti Patel or moan that Dominic Raab can be “a little brusque”.

Back in the 1970s, the civil service was small-c conservative – as was the judiciary, the BBC and the Church of England. Popular entertainers from Morecambe and Wise to Cilla Black were broadly “on the right”. All these middle-class institutions have since gone the way, politically, of the middle classes in general – “stampeding towards the far left”. Britain now has fewer Tory-supporting “light-entertainment slebs” than Tory-supporting civil servants. But there’s no evidence the rest of the population has moved in the same direction. The “lower-middle and working classes” – the bulk of our citizens – remain socially conservative. And, as you’d expect, they don’t enjoy having their lives controlled by this “relentlessly griping, hand-wringing elite”.