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Welcome to a new era in the Conservative party: The post-Bullingdon period

July 13th, 2016

Theresa May to become Britain s prime minister   YouTube

May’s cabinet should give us a pointer to the direction the party will go

One of my favourite quotes from the former CON leader, William Hague, is that the Tories are an absolute monarchy, moderated by regicide”. For there’s no doubt about the level of power and influence the leader has over policy, preferment, and the whole direction of the party. Unlike Labour there is no powerful NEC to get in the way. The leader is everything as we’ve seen decade after decade.

So today marks a massive change the full extent of which will take weeks or months to become apparent.

What strikes me is that for the past eleven and a half years the blue team has been in the hands of men mostly from the same social backgrounds who went to the same elite schools and then onto Oxford. Several, Cameron and Osborne, were members of the infamous dining group known as the Bullingdon Club. Boris Johnson, who was never part of the Cameron ruling clique, was also a past member.

Inevitably their social attitudes had a huge impact on policy development, reaction to events and who got which jobs. Cameron is said to have outsourced most of the ministerial appointments to Osborne which put him in a very powerful position and was known to be the preferred successor.

That all changed in the early hours of June 24th. There is little doubt that the new leader is going to be very much in charge of who gets which jobs and although she went to Oxford University is from a very different social background. Her school became a comprehensive while she was there and it was great to see the current head being interviewed the other day.

Judging by what she has said so far the Tories could be pitching for working class votes in a way that was difficult under the outgoing team. This could have implications for both Labour and UKIP whoever those parties choose as next leaders.

Mike Smithson