Former MP Matthew Parris is now a sourly flippant journalist and TV personality, said to admire Margaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch and to favour ‘decapitating’ cyclists.

In a remarkably revealing Times article, he describes himself as one of “Those of us made angry by the populist dog-whistle in Mrs May’s language: the language of complaint, the language that rails against the powers-that-be, as though May were not one of them.”


Those he despises but must placate – mission impossible?

Other extracts: “Perhaps popular forbearance of the free market might crack, unless politics intervenes over pay differentials — and perhaps this would be fair in itself. Maybe there’s a level of popular indignation about immigration that makes it right in itself that a democracy should respond to it.

“In the bitter battles over Brexit to come — battles that will eclipse everything said in Birmingham this week — we can be wary allies, but allies nonetheless. Some bad people will be coming for her soon. She’ll need our help.

“We can’t pretend we like being kicked by her so she can milk the applause of a populist audience, but we do see why she’s doing it. We may come to see it as a necessary exercise of the Conservative Party’s ancient talent for survival”.