The Conservative Party still has not recovered from the disastrous general election of May 1997, when many Britons switched their allegiances to Labour and an even larger number of Conservatives stayed at home, unwilling to vote for either the Tweedledum that was John Major or the Tweedledee of Tony Blair. Two years after the debacle, Her Majesty still has no effective opposition to Labour’s progressive disuniting of the United Kingdom.

Labour has been extremely busy, to Britain’s disadvantage, despite the complacent predictions of certain Conservatives that Blair was really “one of us” because he is no longer a socialist. Blair and his wreckers have begun the process of Welsh and Scottish devolution by setting up Welsh and Scottish devolved assemblies. This may even lead to full independence for Scotland (although it would be an “independence” under the close supervision of Brussels).

They have campaigned to ban fox hunting, although a Private Member’s Bill designed for this purpose was quietly dropped after the massive Countryside Marches in London demonstrated the strength of rural feeling in favor of hunting.

They have tried once, and will keep trying, to legalize homosexual sex at 16; this legislation may even be in place by the time this is printed.

They have indicated that they would like to join the European single currency as soon as the opinion polls tell them they can, pre-election claims of being “British patriots” notwithstanding.

They have exacerbated ethnic-minority resentments, most obviously in the Stephen Lawrence case (Lawrence was a black teenager savagely murdered by unknown thugs, whose sad death has become a cause célèbre among the politically correct), and by doing nothing about either multiculturalism or the tide of “asylum seekers” pouring into our islands to get better washing machines (although the Conservatives did even less about asylum seekers, and talked more hypocritically than Labour’s Home Secretary, Jack Straw).

Not satisfied with all of this mayhem, they are trying to replace the House of Lords with an elected second chamber. This will have the quadruple effect of destroying one of the world’s oldest legislatures, further weakening British national identity, ensuring that Labour legislation is unimpeded, and gratifying the residual class hatred found among Labour MPs and supporters—all in the names of “relevance” and modernity.

With the possible exceptions of devolution and fox hunting, the above “reforms” were not specifically requested by voters. Some of them, especially the action on Europe and the inaction on asylum seekers, are deeply unpopular, if opinion polls are anything to go by. What has kept Labour’s public-approval rating surprisingly high (even after recent well-publicized instances of Labour “sleaze” at least as bad as the perceived corruption that contributed to the Tory defeat two years ago) is, first, its undoubted success in education (Labour has reintroduced some of the traditional teaching methods its supporters discarded three decades ago); second, its seeming success in Northern Ireland (where the number of terrorism-related deaths has declined sharply); and, finally, Conservative obscurity.

The Conservative Party has partially disappeared from television. Although the scale of the 1997 defeat coupled with TV’s traditional hostility to the right would have helped to bring that about anyway, the party is now often regarded as not newsworthy. Many political stories simply do not feature a Conservative at all. It is not as if there are no targets for Conservatives to aim at—on the contrary. Apart from the radical upheavals mentioned above, on which the Conservatives could easily make some headway, there have been many Labour scandals: the homosexual Welsh Secretary who resigned after his penchant for cruising for black boys got into the press; the Lord Chancellor who has squirreled his millions away in offshore accounts (of which his party ostensibly disapproves); and the Glasgow MP who bribed his opponent to stand down to the influential New Labour Minister Peter Mandelson, whose half-a-million-pound mortgage was so dodgy that he had to resign from the Cabinet.

The reason for Conservative obscurity is twofold—the party says nothing interesting and suffers from a chronic lack of self-confidence. The hierarchy’s chief aim now seems to be to avoid controversy at all costs. A symptom of this is the central office’s immersion in relatively unimportant administrative reforms to the parts’ machinery, which have occupied them for most of the last two years. When demoralized Conservatives would have liked morale-boosting speeches, they were told about procedures; instead of organicism, they were given organigrams. Even the party’s impressive figures, like John Redwood and Iain Duncan-Smith, are quiescent or go largely unreported.

On the rare occasions when William Hague does make comments which are widely reported, they seem to be aimed at the “center ground,” if such a thing actually exists, and they always reflect the most numbingly conventional thinking. He engages in gestures which are media friendly but disquieting to the party’s right wing—sending a message of support for homosexual sex at 16 to the “Gay Pride” festival, wearing a baseball cap and dancing as if in enjoyment at the Notting Hill Carnival, and pointedly refusing to support either the House of Lords as presently constituted or the hereditary principle itself (implying a lack of interest in what happens to the monarchy).

Even his chief sop to the right, his pledge to campaign against the European single currency at the next election and to resist the single currency at least “for the lifetime of the next Parliament,” is widely regarded as insufficient, with many wishing that he had ruled out joining the euro permanently and on principle and that he would expel the minority of Conservatives, like ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer Kenneth Clarke, who want to join the single currency. So even his most “controversial” policy is only controversial within certain parameters. One cannot help thinking that modern day Conservatives are solely interested in one Conservative tradition, a tradition that has only been (partially) broken with by Mrs. Thatcher—capitulation to the enemy.

At a time of radical upheaval, this is not good enough. Britain is breaking up, and nobody is protesting. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition must oppose, or they are being neither loyal nor an opposition. Not only must they oppose, but they must oppose uncompromisingly. The patriotic opposition must regain its confidence and speak out using emotive language and bold tactics. Those who love Britain and the West must do both “that which deserves to be written” and that which needs to be done.