The hypocrisy of Philip Hammond – and the Remainer commentariat

Published by freemarketconservatives on

BY TOM HARWOOD

Former-Chancellor Philip Hammond took to Twitter today to lambast his old Cabinet colleagues and allege that their party is somehow being taken over by “entryists” and an “extreme right-wing faction”. He goes on to claim that “this is not the party I joined.”

This is a particularly odd statement considering today’s Conservative Party looks positively socially democratic compared to the Thatcherite party Hammond first became an active member of in the 1980s.

Today’s Conservative Party would never allow him to publish pro-hanging literature as he did in the 1994 Newham By-Election. By the time he became an MP in 1997, Hammond repeatedly took the chance to oppose liberal policy. He voted against equalizing the age of consent for LGBT couples, he refused to vote to repeal Section 28 or for civil partnerships, let alone back equal marriage, which as recently as 2013 he compared to incest. His early voting record would be seen as positively troglodyte in today’s Conservative Party.

Boris Johnson on the other hand was one of tiny handful of Tory MPs who voted against the overwhelming majority of his party to repeal Section 28. He voted for Civil Partnerships and helped launch the ‘Freedom to Marry’ campaign before marriage equality was fashionable. All this while Hammond stood in the most reactionary corner of the party.

But social policy aside, perhaps Hammond was only referring to government spending as his metric for assessing this supposed “extreme right-wing” takeover. He may be surprised to learn in that case that Sajid Javid’s spending review earlier this week set out that this coming year will be the first since 2002 where not a single government department will face a cut.

It is hard to think of a chancellor in modern times who held a tighter grip on the country’s purse strings than Philip Hammond.

Far from being a lefty, Hammond’s treasury was famously restrained creating spending headroom and sticking assiduously to his fiscal rules. His domestic fiscal restraint was indeed admirable, but his clear loathing of Brexit was inexcusable. Hammond’s responsible management of public services would put him well to the right of the current chancellor. Where the right of the party rightly criticise him it is almost exclusively over EU withdrawal. The roadblocks he put in place to No Deal planning, despite his commitments to it in public, were nothing short of saboteurial.

By any metric; social policy, environmentalism, public spending, it is clear that this is a Government that is a far and distant cry from the “extreme right-wing faction” Hammond tries to paint. Picking up left wing buzzwords is an unadmirable quality, as is merrily associating with and receiving gushing praise from the very people who were called his own fiscal restraint murderous not so long ago.

Unlike within the Labour Party, there is no evidence at all of the ‘entryism’ Hammond alleges in the Conservative Party. These are the same members who elected David Cameron and Boris Johnson. The members Cameron had to appease with Eurosceptic credential flexing, such as promises like a referendum on any future EU treaty and pulling the Conservatives out of the euro-federalist EPP group in the European Parliament.

Why does Hammond get away with naked untruths, using language ordinarily reserved for proto-fascist groups to describe the government of this country? How can he, despite his reactionary voting record and past policy positions that would make even the steeliest right winger flinch, be lauded by the so called ‘liberal’ chattering classes?

Because nothing seems to matter to the commentariat other than someone’s position on Brexit.

Michael Fabricant, who was once approached by Tony Blair to see if he would defect to New Labour, is now somehow seen as being to the right of Philip Hammond, a man who voted against LGBT rights and stood on a promise to bring back hanging. All because one believes in the right of the British people to hire and fire those who make their laws.

Brexit continues to drive Remainers bonkers. The sooner we get it enacted and done with the better.

Tom Harwood is an award-winning journalist and commentator. Follow him on twitter: @tomhfh


11 Comments

Simon Holland · September 9, 2019 at 8:18 am

Well written, thanks.

Lorna Ainsworth · September 9, 2019 at 8:59 am

Thank you for this excellent article
I am totally fed up with been labeled as far right by the likes of Hammond and Rory Stewart
This is their strategy painting themselves as moderates
What company would not dismiss staff who,voted for a take over by a rival ?
It was the Cabinet including these gentlemen who was described by the Chief Whip as the most undisciplined in history

Phil · September 9, 2019 at 9:31 am

great article Tom. Hope you find an MP’s seat somewhere.

Neil McMillan · September 9, 2019 at 10:00 am

What a pity the BBC and most of the MSM are almost religiously supportive of the EU and won’t report this message. Thankyou Tom for your continued efforts for the truth.

Robert Ellis · September 9, 2019 at 10:22 am

A well written piece Tom.

Will Allchin · September 9, 2019 at 11:30 am

Very well put, boris may have his faults but the almost traitorial behaviour of Hammond beggars believe. Is he peeved to have lost the chance to take over as pm from the maybag?( send a copy of your article to Matthew Parrish)

Roland Gilmore · September 9, 2019 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for putting Hammond in his place Tom. “Sabatorial” is an inescapable criticism of the man’s actions. “Leaving with No Deal is an economic risk, but so is continual uncertainty and yet more extensions. Uncertainty has led to business investment and consumer spending drying up. Continued uncertainty is likely to tip us into recession with a devastating impact on jobs and people’s standard of living. This is now at least as big a risk as leaving without a deal.” None other than ex-Labour, now Independent MP Ivan Lewis

Rust · September 10, 2019 at 2:15 am

A totally brilliant article, why oh why can we not read this in our national press.
So refreshing to see that I am not the only person that’s sees the truth.
Thank you.

mancunius · September 10, 2019 at 7:51 pm

This is Philip Hammond as Foreign Secretary, speaking in the HoC Second Reading of the Referendum Bill 2015:
“It is almost four decades ago to the day that I, along with millions of others in Britain, cast my vote in favour of our membership of the European Communities, and like millions of others I believed then that I was voting for an economic community that would bring significant economic benefits to Britain, but without undermining our national sovereignty. I do not remember anyone saying anything about ever-closer union or a single currency. But the institution that the clear majority of the British people voted to join has changed almost beyond recognition in the decades since then….Treaty after treaty—the Single European Act, Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon—individually and collectively have added hugely to the European Union’s powers, often in areas that would have been unthinkable in 1975, and that change has eroded the democratic mandate for our membership to the point where it is wafer-thin and demands to be renewed….The fragility of the European Union’s democratic legitimacy is felt particularly acutely by the British people. Since our referendum in 1975, citizens across Europe from Denmark and Ireland to France and Spain have been asked their views on crucial aspects of their country’s relationships with the EU in more than 30 different national referendums—but not in the UK…we are far more sensitive than many member states to the impact of migration from the EU and the distorting effects of easy access to benefits and services and of in-work welfare top-ups to wages that are already high by comparison with many EU countries….the decision about our membership should be taken by the British people, not by Whitehall bureaucrats, certainly not by Brussels Eurocrats; not even by Government Ministers or parliamentarians in this Chamber. The decision must be for the common sense of the British people. That is what we pledged, and that is what we have a mandate to deliver. For too long, the people of Britain have been denied their say. For too long, powers have been handed to Brussels over their heads. For too long, their voice on Europe has not been heard. This Bill puts that right. It delivers the simple in/out referendum that we promised…”

Judy · September 10, 2019 at 10:29 pm

Brilliant article! I am so sick of biased opinionated so-called journalists on tv programs giving their spin and ignoring the facts. It is great to read an article where the ‘actual facts’ build the case for an opinion. Bravo! Keep writing!

ibnez · September 15, 2019 at 4:32 pm

Entryists to the Tory Party are surely Soubry from the Lib Dems and Greg Clark likewise? How come the party failed to adapt to the public view and not have more Brexit leaning MPs?

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