Do they get it? Do the delegates understand what a fix the party is in, and why? And are they prepared to push the party to mend its ways?
It has become a commonplace of late to say the Tories have “lost their way.” That’s not about their navigational skills but their state of mind: an acute lack of self-awareness that blinds them to what they have become, a blinkered conviction of their own superior cleverness, a closed loop of defensiveness that interprets every criticism as proof of the rightness of the course they are on.
For if everyone — the courts, the bureaucracy, Elections Canada, the media, oh yes especially the media — is biased against them (for what else could possibly explain this heap of opprobrium?) then of course they must constantly be on the attack, and of course they cannot allow themselves to be weakened by internal dissent, and of course they cannot be open with the public about their plans. For that would only provide their enemies with ammunition.
This is the laager mentality that has taken hold in the upper reaches of the Tory party. It is the attitude of parties that have lost touch, not just with their principles or their supporters, but with reality. Toryism, in its current incarnation, resembles less an ideology than a pathology.
...a great many people of all persuasions or none have lately formed the same impression, that the Tories have taken politics in worrisome new directions. One has the sense, not just that they do not respect limits that had previously been observed, but that they don’t know where they are.
How to put this into words? Perhaps it is best expressed by what is not the case. You simply cannot count on this government to do what it says it will; to be straight with people; to take the high road; to behave with anything resembling spontaneity or goodwill. I mean it may, but you’re almost surprised when it does. Its default demeanour is sullen, wary, bullying, moronic. Its characteristic face is that of Peter Van Loan or Pierre Poilievre, and it is very much the face it deserves.