ONE of the joys of the new season of The Crown is watching the Queen’s audiences with her Prime Ministers, in this case Harold Wilson and Edward Heath.

Most revealing is not what the monarch says but how she wields the “bell”, a buzzer on the table next to her which summons the PM of the day into and out of her presence. During the three day week power cuts – yes, all the good times roll again – she has to use an old fashioned hand bell, much to her obvious annoyance.

It would be nice to think the bell was still there, and that it was pressed into service pretty quickly yesterday when Boris Johnson called. It is only 105 days, after all, since he last dropped in with some pledge about achieving Brexit by October 31 or dying in a ditch.

There should be more bells in life to quickly dispense with those who try the patience one way or another. No ifs or buts, just a quick press of the buzzer to denote that what has been done is so crass, insensitive, just plain wrong, that it is indefensible.

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Such a bell would have sounded loud and clear in response to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s comments on the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Speaking on LBC, the Leader of the Commons said of the fire brigade’s “stay put” advice: “If you just ignore what you are told and leave you are so much safer. I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do.”

From its sense of otherness and elitism – “if either of us were in a fire” – to its suggestion that people with more common sense would have survived, the statement was disgraceful on so many levels. It was completely at odds with the findings of the official inquiry into the fire that killed 72 people, which put the main blame for the tragedy on the breaking of building regulations, and the failures of fire service management.

Footage from that terrible night showed a stairwell filled with thick, choking smoke. Again and again, residents were told by the London Fire Brigade to stay put before the policy was eventually revoked.

After being criticised for his comments, Mr Rees-Mogg apologised, saying he had been “unclear” and that he too would have listened to the fire brigade’s advice at the time.

But there was nothing unclear about what he had said and why he said it. He had not, as the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg put it, made a “gaffe”. A “gaffe” as the Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines it, is “an embarrassing blunder”. A gaffe is forgetting what your party policy is, or not knowing the price of a pint of milk. What Mr Rees-Mogg did was allow the mask of privilege to slip, revealing the ugliness beneath.

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The point, which Mr Rees-Mogg singularly failed to either appreciate or even consider, is that he would never have been in Grenfell to start with. By dint of his background, all the many advantages he has enjoyed in life, not in a million years could he know what it is like to be poor and powerless, like the residents of Grenfell and so many others. Instead of being aware of and grateful for his position in life he saw fit to parade his ignorance and insensitivity.

The decent thing to do would have been to resign as a Minister. He was not the only Conservative being called on to do so. The Welsh Secretary walked over what he knew and when about a candidate blamed by a judge for the collapse of a rape trial.

Among others taken to task yesterday was a candidate who once said people in a documentary about benefits needed “putting down”.

But then why should such Conservative candidates and Ministers stand down if all they are doing is taking a lead from the top?

If you trace the stream of invective and ignorance to its source it does not take long to arrive at Boris Johnson. Yesterday he returned to column writing in The Telegraph, the scene of so many of his crimes against accuracy, this time to compare Jeremy Corbyn to Stalin.

Whatever you think of the Labour leader, putting him on a par with a monster responsible for the deaths from starvation of up to eight million people is quite some reach.

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Yet Mr Johnson gets away with such malicious nonsense because his party has gone far, far beyond the pale. From breaking the law on the suspension of parliament to presiding over the growing number of food banks in the world’s sixth richest country, the current Conservative Party has travelled such a distance from its One Nation roots as to be unrecognisable as the party of Disraeli and Macmillan, Major and Clarke.

According to Mr Johnson, launching his campaign in Downing Street yesterday, what the UK needs most is to get Brexit out of the way then his government can get on with improving the NHS, education, and life chances for everyone.

It is as if Brexit had crashed into the UK like some meteor from outer space and was nothing to do with the Conservatives allowing their problem to become everyone’s problem. Similarly, who would have thought that if you pursued a deliberate policy of austerity for 11 years that levels of hardship would soar and public services suffer?

Whatever your party allegiance, democrats everywhere should mourn the death of the One Nation Conservative Party as was. Looking at the party as it stands today, it is as if its decency gene has been extracted, leaving behind a mere husk.

Decency. Compassion. Responsibility for one's fellow man and woman. Such old-fashioned concepts yet without them society is infinitely poorer.

There are doubtless Tories, many in Scotland, who look on in despair at the drift from the centre to the right and wonder what to do in this election. Take a stand perhaps, a stand for decency and against those who show precious little sign of possessing it?

This is not, as has been billed everywhere, the Brexit election. Or a tussle between parliament and the people as to who governs Britain. It is about more than that. A bigger picture. The most important issue facing humanity in the twenty-first century is the spread of inequality and need to manage finite resources.

To support a party that is rooted in, stands for, and perpetuates unfairness seems to be the very definition of lacking common sense.