John Harris

Journalist & Author

The Conservatives are now the party of England. Changing that will be hard | John Harris

As class-based loyalties have faded, the Tories have cast themselves adeptly as authentic populists

A simple question haunts politics: after everything this country has experienced over the last year, and in the midst of controversies that seem to flare up on a weekly basis, how is it possible that the Tories have ended up in such a commanding political position?

Over the last week or so, the awful spectacle of NHS staff facing a real-terms pay cut has been made only more glaring by the mountains of money we now know have been frittered away on a dysfunctional test-and-trace system. But will even this scandal really change anything? A recent YouGov poll put the Conservatives 13 points ahead of Labour. May’s local elections do not look likely to see any kind of significant turnabout. To quote the radio host James O’Brien: “Their complete failure to protect us from huge, real, fatal problems seems not to matter.”

John Harris is a Guardian columnist

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