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Artillery Row

The case against “Zero Seats”

Despite everything, some Conservatives still deserve to win

After fourteen years of Conservatives betraying their electoral mandate, a rallying cry for the Right at the imminent general election is to deliver “ZERO SEATS.” This does not mean voting Labour. Rather, it is a promise to withdraw support from the architects of Britain’s cultural, economic, and demographic desolation: the Blairite consensus which pervades the governing and opposition parties alike. Unlike Peter Hitchens, I won’t discourage the effort to punish the One Nation Tories for unprecedented levels of mass immigration, Woke legislation, and two years of lockdowns because “the alternative will be worse.” However, the cathartic call to destroy the Conservative Party must be met with measured expectations. If Zero Seats is the Trumpian “big ask” at this election, then the Right best prepare to make tactical exemptions to build an opposition sympathetic to their cause.

Zoomers are most enthused about Zero Seats. This isn’t explained by the adage misattributed to Churchill: that age makes conservatives of all empty-headed socialists. In Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the United States, young men are voting for low-migration nationalist candidates. Britain is an outlier — because there is no equivalent on offer. Born after 1997, Gen Z have been deprived of home-ownership — contributing to the endless deferral of having the children they want. But on this issue, they have no representation. Sunak’ strategy seems to be bribing Boomers with promises to quadruple-lock pensions and put “snowflakes” through national service, rather than win those young chaps back. But, as Mary Harrington wrote, you cannot conscript people into cultivating national loyalty while de facto abolishing the nation state. Post-War liberalism has liquidated national identity with a modus operandi of proving one’s antiracist credentials. Neoliberalism has outsourced manufacturing and imported cheap labour, irrespective of culture, until Britain now resembles a waystation for mercantile Anywheres. Can you blame them for expressing contempt for a Conservative party they see as depriving them of the opportunities and family life afforded to their grandparents?

As such, every poll predicts a wipeout. Lord Frost warned of the worst defeat since 1906; and rather than course-correct, Conservatives threatened to remove his whip and block his selection. A new poll published by Daily Mail this week forecasts as few as sixty-six seats, with tactical voting accounted for. The runes spell certain doom for Sunak.

However, despite the rhetoric at Reform’s well-covered press conferences, they will not be the opposition party. More effort, money, and youthful exuberance is directed toward reforming the Tories while in self-imposed exile. For this to succeed, a handful of on-side MPs should return to the Commons. So, here are some exemptions worth making to Zero Seats:

Miriam Cates

Since flipping Penistone and Stocksbridge for the first time since 1931, Cates has become one of the most vocal, socially conservative backbenchers. At NatCon London, she centred Britain’s sub-replacement birth rates in the national conversation — urging policymakers to facilitate young Britons having the families they say they want. Cates breaks from the Labour Party and Conservative frontbench, which see rising rates of childlessness as a source of manufactured consent for mass immigration. Cates recognises the economic and cultural calamity that will result from SW1’s managers substituting native babies with cheap foreign labour. As such, she has insisted Britain leave the ECHR, and reduce net migration to the numbers promised in the 2019 manifesto. She continues to thwart attempts by One Nation Tories to soften the Rwanda Bill, and prevent the over-a-million illegal migrants with no right to remain here from being deported.

Alongside rescuing Britain from the brink of obsolescence in the present, Cates has sought to ensure the childhoods of its future custodians are ones which engender gratitude. She promotes “phone-free childhoods”, and has legislated to prevent kids from predation by social media and pornography companies. She has been honest about the Party’s failings, and its imprudent exiling of Lee Anderson to Reform. If someone is to right the ship, then Cates would be the best captain.

Nick Fletcher

Fletcher is another Red Wall MP who has been making a name for himself since 2019. The dedicated Christian from Don Valley was derided for his campaign for a Minister for Men & Boys, when he suggested that “representation” might also matter to the almost three million lads who live without a dad. These dispossessed males are more likely to underperform at school, have “no close friends”, and commit suicide. Their issues are dismissed with misandrist scorn by self-professed feminist MPs, who insist they will only listen when half of seats in Parliament are arbitrarily occupied by women. For Nick to persist with his campaign to ensure men’s issues are considered in Cabinet warrants our admiration.

Nick has also been one of the strongest voices for safeguarding children against transgender ideology. He has been unwavering in stating that “there is nothing more abhorrent than misleading the young” by telling children that they are “born in the wrong body.” His team helped spearhead the Parliamentary inquiry into sexually explicit relationship and sex education materials in schools. He has supported Liz Truss’ private members bill, banning transitioning children and men from entering women’s sports and sex-segregated spaces. When considering who in opposition will push back against Annelise Dodds’ dangerous gender agenda, Nick Fletcher is an obvious choice.

Dame Andrea Jenkyns

Brexiteer DBE Andrea Jenkyns is one of only two MPs courageous enough to put her name to a letter of no-confidence in Rishi Sunak. Jenkyns frequently appears on GB News, delivering interviews with the same attitude that inspired her middle-finger flipped at protestors before Boris Johnson’s resignation. Beyond rhetoric, Jenkyns’ team have produced research proving that the present approach to preventing illegal migration isn’t working. At a sparsely-attended debate last month, Jenkyns revealed that the asylum system costs taxpayers £14.4bn a year. Our deal with the French, funding efforts to stop small boat crossings, resulted in £63,000 spent on a fence for a football stadium. Jenkyns is willing to upset those leading her party, and the country, to oblivion. She’s a fine provocateur to populate the opposition. 

Suella Braverman

Every time the former Home Secretary’s name comes up, wise and trusted friends attest to her soundness. Since October 7th, she has expressed concern for antisemitism which may be directed at her friends, family members, and children. While I myself am not Jewish, I agree that the pro-Hamas protests which march through Westminster every week must be banned. They have as much contempt for Britain for setting up and arming the state of Israel as they do the Jews living in it. Braverman criticised the police for handling these mobs of imported terror apologists — who went on to project a genocidal slogan onto the Elizabeth Tower as Parliament sat for the ceasefire vote — with a softer touch than anti-lockdown protestors, or those protecting the Cenotaph on Armistice Day. Braverman was then sacked by Rishi Sunak. Such a move was confusing, as Sunak went on to echo her warnings in a speech outside Downing Street — albeit softened by allusions to an absent “Far Right” threat

Braverman has a sizeable majority in Fareham; and many believe she will run for leader if the election plays out as polls project. Her views on immigration and the threat posed by Islamic terror make her palatable even to those of us who have criticised her for being too liberal in the past

Robert Jenrick

The former Immigration Minister resigned, alongside Lee Anderson and Brendan Clarke Smith, from their roles over the Rwanda Plan, saying “A political choice has been made to bring forward a bill which doesn’t do the job.” Beforehand, he attempted to introduce amendments to prevent eleventh hour “pyjama injunctions” by the ECHR grounding deportation flights. Since, he co-authored a report demolishing the argument often repeated by Question Time audiences and Guardian columnists: that mass immigration is an unalloyed economic good. 

The deluge of dependents, student dropouts entering the “Deliveroo economy”, and health and social care workers who go walkabout, has caused GDP per capita to fall since net migration increased to record levels. Combined with revealing that net migration has been causing 89 per cent of housing demand to exceed supply, Jenrick has delivered a powerful blow to the One Nation Tories’ insistence that “we need migrants”.

Both he and the New Conservatives’ Tom Hunt would be wise inclusions in an opposition party eager to reverse the changes to immigration policy since 1997.

Liz Truss

The former Prime Minister has had quite the Damascene conversion since being deposed from Downing Street — and due to the events of the past week, I can attest her sincerity extends beyond securing book sales. 

For those unaware, my interview with Truss made national news for two days, after Labour MP Jess Philips lobbied Rishi Sunak to deselect her for speaking to me. Truss stood firm, and repeated the statements she made in our discussion on the campaign trail. She showed more resolve than Richard Tice when smeared by the lying communists at Hope Not Hate. No other politician has been bold enough to call them “evil”, and acknowledge the existential nature of political differences. For that, Truss deserves our respect.

Dominic Cummings once disparaged Liz Truss as a “human hand-grenade”. Her fuse has been shortened since being blackmailed by the OBR, and betrayed by the Bank of England and Cabinet colleagues after her mini-budget. The willingness to act like a proverbial Guy Fawkes — lighting gunpowder under Whitehall’s quangos, Blair’s laws, and CCHQ’s candidate selection process — is exactly what we need to improve the Tory Party from within. While we differ on her interventionist foreign policy, I have little doubt that Liz is motivated to do just that.

The fact that I could only produce seven names deserving to return to the Commons speaks volumes about the state of the Tories. 

But the Right would be wise to keep these allies in proximity to power if they wish to affect change. Even if they do not live in these constituencies, the voices building the memeplex of conservative thought should lend their support to these special exemptions to Zero Seats.

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