By Andrew Hunt.

No more toothless Tories. It’s time to unleash the great Dame Priti Patel, says Andrew Hunt.

Picture this. It’s January 2025, Dame Priti Patel is on the dance-floor flanked by a jubilant Farage and Johnson. The Conservative Party has just romped home with a 200 seat majority.

From Liverpool to Llandudno, the country is a sea of blue. Outside you can hear the cheering crowds. A new generation of engaged voters has emerged: inspired by pro-British, democratic, true blue politics.

The camera cuts to a tired Keir Starmer, his face nearly as grey as his hair. There really is not much to say.

Last week’s Tory Party conference gave us a glimpse of two alternative futures and this is one of them.

Anyone who so much as opened a newspaper during CPC23 will know that Patel and Farage stole the show. They had great rapport: dancing together, taking selfies with the grass-roots, and even throwing napkins at the CDO gala dinner! For just a moment Conservative politics looked fun!

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Nigel Farage and Dame Priti Patel at the CDO Gala Dinner on 1st October 2023. Photo: Conservative Post Copyright 2023

As I walked around Manchester last week, I couldn’t help thinking of Star Wars. The colossal Manchester Central Convention Centre (aka the secure zone) hung over the city like the Death Star. But all the fun was to be had with the rebels outside the secure zone, at the so-called fringe events.

It kicked off on Sunday night with a packed CDO Gala dinner, complete with barnstorming speeches from Lord Cruddas and Dame Patel. Next day, crowds swamped the Midland Hotel for the Great British Growth rally, followed by the New Conservatives’ manifesto launch. All three offered common-sense policies for the grass-roots. They were absolutely packed out. They were absolutely buzzing with excitement and pent-up energy. And wherever true conservative ideas were being presented, Priti Patel was front and centre.  

The success of these fringe events shows the grass roots are still with us: True conservatives and passionate patriots who know what we need to do and are not ready to give up.

The success of these fringe events shows the grass roots are still with us: True conservatives and passionate patriots who know what we need to do and are not ready to give up.

All we need is a leader to step up. And Priti Patel is the obvious choice. She has star quality. This is something that Starmer and Sunak both lack. Moreover, the grass-roots love her. Just like Ronnie Reagan, her supporters flock to her and she loves being around them. Contrast this with Sunak, who actively shuns voters in favour of billionaires and foreign dignitaries.

And Priti Patel has another secret weapon. She is great buddies with Farage and Boris. As polls by John Curtice show, a Farage-Johnson combo is electoral gold-dust. The pair of them could take 25% overnight – that’s roughly what the entire Conservative Party is currently polling! But as Curtice points out, a Johnson-Farage combo could not win a general election on their own. Nor can the conservative party. But together they can.

Moreover, in Patel, Farage and Johnson, you have the three greatest election campaigners of their generation. Imagine the fun and excitement of the trio touring the country. They would be unstoppable. Keir Starmer’s own supporters admit he has all the charisma of wet cardboard. The Tories would wipe the floor.

Priti Patel and her great friend Former PM Boris Johnson is a winning combination says Andrew Hunt. Picture by Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street.

But there’s more to a Tory turnaround than great leadership. We are at a unique point in history, where true conservative policies are also the most popular policies. The great conservative leaders of the past like Lady Thatcher and Winston Churchill had to fight to persuade the public to be conservative. This time we are swimming with the tide.

We are at a unique point in history, where true conservative policies are also the most popular policies. The great conservative leaders of the past like Lady Thatcher and Winston Churchill had to fight to persuade the public to be conservative. This time we are swimming with the tide.

And the public want simple and bold conservatism. We can all see that sticking plaster politics has not worked. It’s time for plaster-off politics! Sunak and Starmer do not get this. Their policies are just fiddling around the edges.  A new leader could go for big simple ideas: scrap HS2, scrap IHT, Net zero immigration and zero inflation. A war on public waste and wokery to fund tax cuts is an absolutely no-brainer.

When you run polling or comments from conservative and potential conservative voters, immigration is THE top issue by a country mile. And if you had to win an election on a single issue, this would be the one. People are really feeling the effects on the ground with housing shortages, sewage overflows, lack of services and integration problems. We have taken too many too quickly, and need to bed them down.

There is no one else the public trust more on immigration than Nigel Farage. Rolling out a Farage Plan to Fix Immigration Now would be a masterstroke. It could include a net zero immigration pledge, a withdrawal from the ECHR and a complete solution to the small boats crisis. That would instantly bring back all those red wall voters who feel utterly betrayed on this issue.

“As polls by John Curtice show, a Farage-Johnson combo is electoral gold-dust.” Photo credit: Conservative Post Copyright 2023.

And if we really wanted to kick-start a Tory revival, we could throw in a couple of Brexit-style popular referendums. A Fix Immigration Now referendum would be an obvious choice to win back the red wall and throw Labour into chaos; while local referendums on community planning autonomy would win the hearts of the blue wall. Just like Brexit, that would give the party a fresh purpose and a mandate for government after the election. 

All the pieces of the puzzle are now in place. With her star in the ascendant, Dame Priti Patel should go for it. All she need do is call up Boris and Nigel, hand in her vote of no confidence, put out a grass-roots manifesto and encourage others to throw in their no-confidence votes as well. The next election could be as late as 28th January 2025.

With her star in the ascendant, Dame Priti Patel should go for it. All she need do is call up Boris and Nigel, hand in her vote of no confidence, put out a grass-roots manifesto and encourage others to throw in their no-confidence votes as well.

Priti could have more than a year to make the case for conservatism and to start delivering. An early election looks like giving up. Setting the last day and going full bore till then sends an unequivocal signal of intent – we will never throw the game! 

That is one vision of the future. The alternative is an exact repeat of the John Major catastrophe. That is, limping on into the general election with an unpopular leader, suffering a landslide defeat and a decade of infighting in the wilderness, with no members and no donors.  Moreover, a generation of 2019 Conservative voters will be left feeling so betrayed they will never vote Conservative again.

Worse still, if the Conservatives ever win another election, there will be no opportunity for a bold new conservatism. They will be too busy cleaning up the mess Labour will inevitably leave behind: national bankruptcy, EU-re-entry in all but name, rampant crime and immigration, a country rent apart by culture wars and an even more woke-ified civil service.

To everyone’s credit, we have given Rishi Sunak a fair crack at the whip. He set himself five targets, has done nothing to achieve them, and is on target to miss all five. CPC23 was his big chance to come out fighting. Instead he offered us one of the last inspiring speeches ever. Having criticised all his predecessors, and said things must change he offered almost no change whatsoever – a slight tweak to A-levels, lopping the end off a rail project and making it harder for young people to smoke (they don’t smoke anyway). To top it off Jeremy Hunt went down like a lead balloon.

The alternative is an exact repeat of the John Major catastrophe. That is, limping on into the general election with an unpopular leader, suffering a landslide defeat and a decade of infighting in the wilderness, with no members and no donors. 

What is most vexing about Rishi Sunak is that he never tackles the issues voters want him to tackle; like mass immigration, sky-high taxes, the cost-of-living crisis, and the bureaucracy and waste that stops the NHS and other public services from doing their duties. How can anyone be so out of touch? Whenever I hear him speak I feel like screaming Read the Room Rishi!!

Even when he turns up, he is no better in Parliament either. Watching Sunak and Starmer at the dispatch box, it’s hard to stay awake, and even harder to tell them apart. They’re like a pair of branch managers from one of those woke building societies. These guys are never going to fix the country.

Party members and grass-roots voters do not have the patience for an election catastrophe and another lost generation.  There is not much time to turn it around; but there is enough. By Christmas we could have a new true conservative PM and a miracle fight-back on our hands.

No more toothless Tories. It’s time to unleash the great Dame!  


Author Andrew Hunt graduated from Cambridge with a Law degree in 2003. He worked in TV production before moving into finance. It was here that he became fascinated by how personal investors and small companies could turn negligible resources into enormous fortunes. Applying the same mindset and principles, Hunt was able to retire in his thirties. He now invests in interesting projects which aim to make the world a better place and runs a radical centre-right environmental think tank. He is also the author of Better Value Investing.

1 COMMENT

  1. Go for it Priti (et al)! Common sense politics will win over boring vacuous slogans and anti-Semitism from the other side; especially after this week’s world events. Not all of us have given up. We just want Sunk to be Soonout. Nobody voted for him.

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