No. 4: Schismism

ISMISM New concepts for the Nineties

Share
Related Topics
"There is no contradiction between the views of my Right Honourable friend the Chancellor and those of his colleague, the Secretary of State for Employment, on Britain's future in Europe. It is just that one thinks Europe is a good thing and the other believes it is a disaster." This - almost - represents the view of the Prime Minister today. But never mind, says Mr M, we're really very united on most things. Only on the marginal question of Britain's future as a nation state are we hopelessly sundered.

Actually, of course, Mr Clarke and Mr Portillo loathe one another. Clarke likes cigars, jazz and brothel creepers. He is rumpled, cheerful and bluff. The Chancellor is an extrovert. Portillo is Jesuitical and committed. His hairstyle is a narcissistic confection which probably takes more attention each morning than the entire Clarke wardrobe in a year. Oh, and they do not agree about politics, either.

To point all this out is always to risk the appearance on television and radio of the chairman of the 1922 Committee, Sir Marcus Fox. Sir Marcus, all vacuous northern breeziness, will remind everybody that the Conservative Party has, throughout history, been a "broad church".

But there are limits, surely. A broad church may, perhaps, be one in which both modern and ancient hymns are sung, or where the new version Bible and the King James version are both tolerated. What it is not is the place where evangelical Christian and devil-worshipper kneel down together. Archbishop Carey, a broad churchman if ever there was one, is not to be found straddling a goat with a sacrificial knife poised.

Tories who realise this are schismists. And schismism is the growing understanding that many of these rational Conservatives have that they hate each other, cannot live with each other and must divorce each other soon.

Indeed, were there no political parties and new ones were just being invented, they know that Ken, Sir Edward and Hezza would not be in the same one as the Michaels and the Normans. Their co-existence would be as likely as the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan ice-skating combo, Terry Venables opening the Amstrad casino or Andrew Neil and Peregrine Worsthorne having dinner at the Garrick club.

Whatever John Major says, increasing numbers of Tories are now schismists. It is just that, as with everything else, they cannot agree on who should leave home. Somebody needs to follow the example of that professional schismist, Lord Owen, and walk out, slamming the door. Those who advocate that they should do so are, of course, schismismists.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam