THERE’S a rather tired metaphor that’s done the rounds for years about the destructive powers of the Tory Party.

The cliché that’s reached for is The Great Gatsby, specifically this line about two of its pampered characters: “They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness … and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

I confess to deploying it myself a few times. I’m a fan of the novel and way back in the mists of time once taught F Scott Fitzgerald to the children of the wealthy. Rich parents needed a tutor to get their privileged but academically challenged children into good universities. I was broke, but delighted in this perfectly satirical approach to teaching a text about money and power.

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However, it’s not just that the quote is now clichéd. The problem is that when applied to the Tories, it’s simply wrong. The Tories aren’t careless. When they smash things up, they do so very deliberately. There’s nothing accidental about Tory malevolence.

If you want a better metaphor from 20th-century culture to explain the Tory Party, then the 1950s creature feature The Blob is where to look. It’s a shame this Steve McQueen classic has drifted from memory. The schlocky gem tells the story of a rapacious gelatinous monster, rolling across the land consuming everything in its way; cross paths with the Blob and you become one with the Blob. That’s the horror: the Blob takes good people and makes them part of its monstrous enterprise.

HeraldScotland: The Tory Party is much like The Blob – rolling across the land and consuming everything in its way, making them part of the monsterThe Tory Party is much like The Blob – rolling across the land and consuming everything in its way, making them part of the monster (Image: Paramount Pictures)

Perhaps the BBC should have dug into its old movie archive and shown The Blob to its executives. It might have prepared them for what’s happened to the national broadcaster under their watch. The BBC has become a mere extension of the Conservative Government. It’s been consumed, it’s part of the Blob. It does the work of the Blob.

As a neat little ironic twist, it’s also rather fun to be able to call the Tory Party "The Blob", given that’s the very insult they hurl at civil servants who work for them. Public officials are just part of a mindless "blob", they squawk, restraining Conservatives from whatever holy crusade they want to embark on next.

Throwing the Tories’ own insult back in their faces is wonderfully just, if truth to be told, as they’re the masters of gaslighting. Whenever you hear them criticise somebody, be sure that they have committed the very sin they’re now castigating.

Just look at the issue of the BBC and free speech. The Tories are forever wailing about "woke" mobs silencing people. Yet, it’s the Tories who silence their critics, people like Gary Lineker, while remaining wilfully blind to their own supporters across the BBC flying the flag openly for Conservatives. Incidentally, when you hear the word "woke" deployed as an insult, just walk away. You’re engaging with a culture warrior, not taking part in a debate.

It’s clear that the Tories don’t care about BBC impartiality. If they did they’d have demanded their own supporters working for the broadcaster fall silent. No Tory told Alan Sugar to shut up after he tweeted before 2017’s General Election: “For the good of the UK I sincerely advise NOT to vote for Corbyn.”

Or in 2019, when Sugar publicly backed Boris Johnson for Prime Minister, or when he tweeted a mock-up of Corbyn and Hitler. Sugar’s buddy, Karren Brady, is a Tory peer with a column in the Sun. Sugar’s other sidekick Claude Littner can happily tweet “under Labour, the money will run out”, without consequence.

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Andrew Neil was BBC royalty. He’s hardly a man whose right-wing political beliefs are secret, given he chairs The Spectator. Michael Portillo chugs about on trains for the BBC, yet never hides his Conservative opinions.

However, a footballer-turned-pundit sticks up for refugees on Twitter and you’d think the Baader-Meinhof gang had taken over Britain. Meanwhile, Conservatives can get away with anything on the Beeb. The broadcaster had to apologise last week for failing to properly scrutinise claims Nadine Dorries made on Radio 4 about Sue Gray. Yet when the issue of Boris Johnson’s father, Stanley, breaking his wife’s nose was raised on Question Time, Fiona Bruce jumps on her white charger to tell the nation “it was a one-off”.

The BBC may even be pre-emptively censoring itself for the Tories. It’s had to deny Guardian claims it won’t air an episode of David Attenborough’s Wild Isles, fearing themes around the destruction of British nature would risk a Conservative backlash.

BBC director-general Tim Davie was deputy chair of Hammersmith and Fulham Conservative Party and ran for council. When he got the top BBC job, Tory peer Stephen Greenhalgh tweeted: “Congrats to my mate Tim Davie.” BBC chairman Richard Sharp donated £400,000 to the Conservatives, and helped facilitate an £800,000 loan for Boris Johnson.

But Gary Lineker says the language around Tory immigration policy “is not dissimilar to that used by Germany in the 1930s” and Conservatives reach for the smelling salts as if the Queen’s grave had been desecrated.

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Forget whether you agree with Lineker or not, the point is that Tories were happy to see Lineker silenced while doing nothing about the public bias of their own BBC supporters. All that’s required is an even hand.

The BBC has long shamed itself for the Tories. Brexit might very well not have happened if the BBC hadn’t unquestionably platformed endless right-wing lies, just as the broadcaster platformed climate change deniers.

The BBC is now an active foot soldier for the Tory culture war. It isn’t the national broadcaster. It’s the Tory broadcaster. Yet the right hates it. The right has an entire channel devoted to it with GB News, yet still that’s not enough. Any voice raised against the right must be silenced. When it comes to cancel culture in Britain, the left might try to silence others, the right does so ruthlessly.

The BBC allowed the Tories to build it a scaffold, it’s now walking up the steps toward the chopping block. When the Tories finally drop the axe, there’ll be nobody left to care.