ONE of the strangest developments in politics is the radicalisation of the Conservative Party.

Having grown up in the north east of England in the 1980s, the word Tory was tantamount to a swear word. I can even remember my next-door neighbour, a young friend of mine, being encouraged by his father to throw a Conservative Party leaflet back at a canvasser who had dared to try and put it through his letter box.

The Tories, under Margaret Thatcher, were not best loved up north.

The more left wing I became the worse the Conservatives Party appeared to be, and it was often they more than any other party who were most keen to use the police to get their way.

Whether it was the policing of the miners' strike, the criminalisation of homosexuality or the harassment of black people in the inner-city, it was the Establishment, the right-wing press and the Tory government who rightly stood accused of being authoritarian defenders of upper-class interests.

Today, in England at least, voting patterns appear to be changing, and people, like the voters in Hartlepool, have again given a body blow to the Labour Party. Who it is that represents the Establishment appears to have changed. We find that, confusingly for some, the Tories now appear to be turning into the party of the working class.

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At least part of the reaction against Labour in England is down to the fact that the Labour Party essentially rejected the Brexit vote and, on many issues, appear to have become the voice of the politically correct.

Refusing to accept a democratic vote is never the best advertisement for a political party and portraying the white working class as a bunch of deplorable racists is not likely to appeal to these voters.

In Scotland, things are both different and the same.

Many Scottish voters detest the authoritarian nature of the SNP. However, it is not only the SNP but, sadly, also Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, who act as a unified blob when it comes to passing laws and using the police to get their way.

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Unhappy with the way some parents bring up their kids? Pass a law, create a Named Person and police the “wellbeing” of every child in Scotland. Outraged by parental use of physical chastisement? Make it a crime.

Sick of the foul-mouthed mob who sing offensive songs at football matches? Pass a law, call in the police, arrest those deplorable people. And, of course, we now have the Hate Crime Act that makes being offensive in your own home a potential crime.

On all of these issues, the blob, the new establishment, vote as one. And it is they who today use the police to enforce their will onto the people.

In comparison, the Tories, just by standing still, by thinking it’s probably not best to arrest parents for giving their kids a light smack or thinking it may not be a good thing to arrest people for saying “incorrect” things in their own home, suddenly find themselves as the anti-establishment party.

Of course, the extent to which we can trust the Tories to defend people’s basic freedoms and to hold back this tide of policing everyday life is highly debatable. Indeed, this election saw few of these issues being raised and all of the parties appeared to be happy to play the Union versus IndyRef card and discuss almost nothing else.

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The SNP continue to be able to act as the anti-establishment party by shouting “Westminster”, while continuing to turn themselves into a woke, authoritarian and anti-democratic institution.

And so, we are left in limbo. With a new blob of establishment parties who sing from the same PC World hymn sheet, criminalise and police ever more areas of life and look down upon ordinary people as deplorable bigots, with only the Tories to act as an unlikely “radical” opposition.

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