Earlier this year I wrote that the Tories were coming close to the flipping (or tripping) point, the point at which their voters switch on masse to another party once they realise that that other party is the main chance. I think the Tories came perilously close to that point, and I think that had Theresa May continued on as leader for much longer, pursuing her doomed Brexit strategy, then the Tory vote would have switched to the Brexit Party, and the Conservative Party would have been wiped out.
The change in Conservative leadership and direction changed all that, literally saving the party from extinction. If I had any drawing skills I’d draw a cartoon of Boris jumping onto a seesaw and flinging the Brexit Party off the other end.
Not that I’m that convinced that the Conservatives really have changed that much. Their Brexit deal seems pretty bad, and in general they’re still blue Labour. They’re untrustworthy, and will continue to push unconservative policies. But, while I support Farage continuing to hold their feet to the fire for now, we don’t have much choice other than to vote for them in most seats, as part of a Leave Alliance (in other words, vote for them except for those seats where they have no hope but the BP candidate does have a chance, or where the Tory who is standing is a Remainer).
What is needed is a whole new conservative Party to replace the Conservatives (assuming the Conservative Party doesn’t genuinely change). The Brexit Party, being a single-issue party made up of a ragbag assortment of people with very different political views, was never going to be a long-term replacement. But as smaller grass-roots conservative parties have discovered, it’s very hard to get anywhere in UK politics without big money and media support.
Which is one reason the Tories won’t be too desperate to change the media landscape. Sure the current media is mostly against them, but they’re against real conservatism even more, which actually keeps the Tories afloat. A less leftist media might be less hostile to the Tories, but it might also be friendlier to more conservative rivals to the Tories. And as I said in that earlier post, the support for the Tories is fragile. It depends a lot on the threat of Corbyn’s Labour, and the lack of credible alternatives. It could still vanish quickly if an attractive, red-meat alternative comes along.