Bloody Panico!

Bloody Panico!:or, Whatever Happened to The Tory Party

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The Tories’ ancient instinct for survival has vanished, along with any concern for the public good, and Bloody Panico is the prevailing mood

The most successful political party in history?

The Tory Party has been in power for eighty-five of the past 135 years. In 2019 they won their largest parliamentary majority in more than three decades. They have had a long way to fall since, and they’ve done it at incredible speed.

As Geoffrey Wheatcroft shows, we have witnessed not simply the collapse of the party but the shattering of its very foundations. Bloody Panico! opens the sorry tale with the Tories’ return to power in 2010, with ‘Call Me Dave’
Cameron at the helm. The turmoil of the referendum followed, as Boris championed a Leave campaign he didn’t believe in for supporters with no clear idea what they were demanding.

Beyond the pantomime of Boris, Truss’s kamikazee premiership, and the squirming managerial tedium of Sunak, the party is riven by resentment and confusion. It is a maelstrom of petty and shameless in-fighting. The Tories’ ancient instinct for survival has deserted them, along with any shred of concern for public well-being.
The next general election could see them cast into the wilderness for decades.

Leading political commentator Geoffrey Wheatcroft argues that this is an existential crisis for the party, a tipping point in British political history.


  • There is much ... in Bloody Panico with which most rational people will agree, whatever their politics ... If the next incarnation of the Conservative party doesn't mend its pretty abominable ways, Wheatcroft really will have to write the obituary.

    Simon HefferTelegraph
  • Very lucid

    John HarrisGuardian
  • Wheatcroft is particularly alert to the way enduring labels obscure underlying realities. Don't be misled by the name, for the Conservative Party has rarely functioned as a simple, straightforward embodiment of Tory principles and prejudices.

    Colin KiddNew Statesman