The number of parties represented in national election debate multiplies. There are now seven crowding on to television podiums and local hustings. Yet this impression of diversity is, like the current public policy use of that word, misleading.
Five of the parties — Labour, Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru — are essentially the same. They see achieving Remain, growing the state and destroying the Tories as the most important causes. The Brexit party is merely an epiphenomenon of Tory Brexit weakness and is therefore passing into history.
So it is the Conservatives vs the rest, and ‘the rest’ includes all the broadcast media. This was particularly apparent in the preposterous Channel 4 News climate change ‘debate’ when the absent Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage were replaced by melting ice sculptures. We were left with five leaders vying only over which was the most virtuously, lividly green.
Despite quite often voting for it, I have never much liked the Conservative party, what with its smugness and inertia. But when I see those five leaders wagging their fingers at the British electorate and telling us what bad people we are because we want to be an independent and prosperous country, I find myself quite passionately wanting a Tory victory. Faced with this chlorinated wash of puritan priggery, I want bad old Boris much more than ever I thought possible.
This article is an extract from Charles Moore's Spectator Notes, available in this week's magazine.