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UK & World

Eight times the Conservative Party fought with “Klyaksa”


“The Blot,” that eternal specter of Conservative Party governance, takes its name from a 1950s B-movie about an unstoppable amoeba-like mass that devours everything in its path. “The blob is unstoppable as it spreads from city to city,” the trailer for the forgotten film explains. Starring Steve McQueen — in his first starring role — is called upon to join the fray.

Today, “The Blob” is better known for his battles with ministers as he spreads from department to department. It is a relatively recent discursive innovation designed to expose the worst remnants of Britain’s subversive class of greedy quangos, courts, civil servants, academics and trade unions for whom right-wing reform must be unmistakably opposed.

However, the political genealogy of the term is disputed. Some attribute his bid at Westminster to Michael Gove during his tenure as Education Secretary, others to his benevolence to gray Dominic Cummings. Ex Times Journalist Mark Edwards recently claimed the intellectual progenitor of the Blob — he recently wrote a letter to Guardian claiming he first coined the phenomenon in the early 2000s.

However, it appears that the first person to dub the alleged obstructionism of the deep state as “The Blot” was William Bennett, America’s Secretary of Education in 1985-88. Bureaucratic inactivity is apparently a transatlantic phenomenon.

Michael Gove vs ‘The Blob’ (2010-2014)

Whatever its origins, the term ‘Blob’ was first popularized in British political discourse during Michael Gove’s tenure as Education Secretary from 2010-2014.

Gove, who championed academies and free schools, was quick to lambast his critics in the school bureaucracy and their allegedly “progressive” controls on teacher training, standards and classroom qualifications.

For Gove, a modern day McQueen, the blobberati hypothesis was brought out of the shadows by his mission to restructure the national primary and secondary school curricula in England. As secretary of state, he argued that a curriculum overhaul was needed because education had been undermined by left-wing “ideologues.”

“These ideologues may have been inspired by magnanimous ideals, but the result of their approach has been countless children condemned to the prison of ignorance,” Gove told the Conservative Party conference in 2010.

For his troubles, Gove was ousted as education secretary in 2014 and replaced by former finance minister Nicky Morgan in a major cabinet reshuffle. Gove became the chief whip in what was seen as a snub by the Cameron regime.

Owen Patterson vs. “The [Green] Period” (circa 2014)

In 2014, Owen Patterson (best known recently for his starring role in the film Pattersongate) launched a fierce campaign against the “powerful, self-serving” environmental lobby, which he called the Green Blob, following Cameron’s decision to sack him. him as Minister of Environment.

In a lengthy opinion piece for Sunday TelegraphPatterson described his group of climate foes as a “mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some government officials who are good at supplying each other with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape”.

The Green Blob is a “confusing triangle of unelected hustlers” who claim to have “the best interests of the planet and the countryside at heart” but only seek to profit from climate-related moral outrage, he explained.

In his work for Art TelegraphPatterson was particularly harsh about the Green Party and the environmental group Friends of the Earth. “It was not my job to carry out the orders of two organizations, which are nothing more than anti-capitalist agitation groups, most of whose leaders could not distinguish a frog’s snake head from a silver one,” he stressed.

Paterson’s decision was to “rip up” the 2008 Climate Change Act, a cause he championed in a speech to the Tufton Street-based Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) following his dismissal.

Brexiteers vs ‘The Blob’ (2016)

The current war on the civil service arguably has its roots in the Brexit battles that dominated UK politics during and immediately after the 2016 referendum.

The Vote Leave campaign was led by Boris Johnson and the foul-mouthed Michael Gove; of course, behind-the-scenes pulling the strings was Dominic Cummings, who many attribute to Gove’s tilt against obstructionist educators (2010-2014).

Conversely, the Remain side had the full force of the Treasury, whose warnings of a recession and rising unemployment were dismissed by the Leave campaigners.

People have had “enough experts”, Gove insisted during the referendum campaign.

Liz Truss vs “The Blob” (circa 2018 – 2022)

In 2018, the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, gave a speech at the London School of Economics (LSE) in which she criticized excessive regulation and, interestingly, took aim at Michael Gove’s policies as environment secretary.

“Too often we hear about not drinking too much, eating too many donuts, or enjoying the warm glow of our wood stoves — I mean stoves,” Truss joked. After an eight-year struggle, “Klyaksa” absorbed its worst enemy?

Truss also criticized Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson’s demands for more money for his department. She told her LSE audience: “We have to recognize that it is not macho to simply demand more money. It’s much harder to demand better value and challenge the mass of vested interests in your department.”

Of course, Liz Truss’s short tenure as head of the taxman was also blamed for the connivance of “The Blob”; Indeed, since her defenestration as prime minister, Truss has accused a wide range of actors – political and otherwise – of standing in her way.

“When I entered Downing Street, I assumed that my mandate would be respected and accepted. How wrong I was. Although I expected resistance to my program from the system, I underestimated its scale,” she said in an interview with Audience television.

Dominic Raab vs. The Blob (2023)

When Dominic Raab resigned as Deputy Prime Minister in April 2023, a series of sympathetic articles aimed at a familiar culprit.

“Dominic Raab leaving is a win for the Blob,” read one UnHerd a piece; “Raab’s departure is a triumph for the Blob – and a lesson in how to be a modern minister” by ConservativeHome; “Raab is the latest victim of the Blob – I’m afraid he won’t be the last,” was one opinion in Express.

The almost instinctive, synchronized attack on Whitehall’s “groupthink” was truly something to behold.

Undoubtedly, it was an account of events, subtly encouraged by the man himself. Essay for Telegraph “In the style of Owen Patterson,” Raab slammed his resignation, calling it “Kafkaesque.”

Brexiteers vs ‘The Blob’ – Round Two (April 2023)

After Risha Sunak’s full-scale backtracking on the EU Retention Bill – meaning only 600 EU laws will be repealed in the UK by the end of the year, rather than 4,000 – Brexiteers have once again taken aim at the Blot.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, who drafted the original bill for the retained law, said: “The blob has won.” “The minister’s written statement breaks the prime minister’s clear promise to review or challenge all EU laws in the first hundred days,” he said.

Dominic Raab, intervening from the backbench on an urgent matter, called on Affairs and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch to “face the resistance in Whitehall” to the government’s retained EU law proposals.

Suella Braverman vs. “The Blob” (March 2023 – Present)

As a result of Brauverman’s speeding accidents, the grain of the story surrounding the obstructionist “Blobs” and the hoarse civil servants crumbled again. (Braverman’s speeding issues are believed to have made it onto the pages Times through a civil servant certainly fits the narrative perfectly).

Of course, this was not Braverman’s first encounter with “The Blob.” Two months ago, an email was sent on her behalf to Conservative supporters blaming “a group of left-wing legal activists, civil servants and the Labor Party” for the government’s failure to stop the crossings. The Home Secretary later retracted the email, but the episode nevertheless suggests a strained relationship between the Home Office and Bloat.

Following the news that Rishi Sunak will not be investigating Braverman’s speeding fine, it looks like the Home Secretary will live to fight the Smudge for another day.

Boris Johnson vs “The Blob” (May 2023 – Present)

The news that the Cabinet has referred Boris Johnson to the police over fresh allegations of breaching the rules during the pandemic has sparked a new round of the Blob-Conservative war.

“There is now an open witch hunt against the right in the Conservative Party. The party leadership must stop this immediately,” said one leading conservative TelegraphChristopher Hope.

“I still didn’t really believe in the ‘blot’.” But the events of the last few days – the re-briefing against Suella and tonight against Boris – are starting to make me think again,” said another.

In accordance with Express, Deputy Prime Minister and key ally of Rishi Sunak, Oliver Dowden, who has led the Cabinet since October, is believed to be one of the Blob plotters. The deputy prime minister is a “compliant blob tool”, one Johnson ally told the paper.

Logic vs. The Blob (∞)

The trope of “The Blob” is characterized by intellectual instability. It is claimed, on the one hand, that it is a malicious, organized and deadly effective cabal, and on the other hand, that it is inactive and unable to act decisively on the instructions of the minister.

It is also so eclectic and vast that any reference to it becomes increasingly meaningless. Members of “The Blob” quoted in this article include: educators, environmentalists, the Green Party, trade unions, Michael Gove and Oliver Dowden. The more the blob expands, the less coherent the argument against it becomes.

After all, conservatives are hard to govern now. The party is tired, cabinet ministers are freelancing, internal factions are balanced, its popularity has declined and its mandate is in doubt. The populist logic of the obstructionist official is, after all, probably a natural consequence of the conservatives’ recent travails.

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