IT was too easy to mock the video of Boris Johnson shovelling a fish supper into that ample mouth of his. It chimed with how his opponents like to portray him: messy, shambolic, shameless. Yet, there was very little about its purpose that was shambolic. This was Johnson as man of the people.

When this man wears a suit all tailors and cloth manufacturers die a little inside. Johnson is where good clothes go to die. It tells his followers – especially those whom you would not consider to be traditional Tory voters – that he doesn’t really belong among the political elites; that he plays by his own rules, and that we shouldn’t judge a person by their appearance.

When we deride his pantomime horse routine we simply re-enforce the carefully cultivated message behind it: that it’s actually the liberal-left Twitter sophisticates who are detached from ordinary people. Yet, as the party conference season proceeds you can be sure of one thing: Johnson eating a fish supper will say more to voters in those Red Wall constituencies than Sir Keir Starmer’s stuffy and grandiloquent 14,000 treatise on Labour values.

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Johnson knows that by creating the illusion of chummy, British eccentricity in the manner of Norman Wisdom, he stands a better chance of maintaining the biggest chimera of them all: that the Tories stand for steadfast decency. In truth, they are the party of extremism.

They don’t seek to “level up”, only to raise the bar by the merest minimum before it threatens the influence and riches of the 5% they truly represent. What they mean by building back better is to restore the pre-Covid norm of ring-fencing avarice.

Which word – other than extremist – would you choose to describe the manner in which many UK Government ministers exploited the mortal crisis of Covid-19 to enrich family members and Tory donors? To have done so knowing that it risked the public’s health during a deadly contagion is at the far end of extreme.

Subsequently, to increase National Insurance contributions (effectively taxing ordinary people on low to middle incomes) to meet the economic cost of the pandemic is not the behaviour of an administration characterised by steadfast decency. Imposing a windfall tax on the super-rich operators of global food chains and energy suppliers would have been the decent thing to do. Sparing them this – whilst imposing it on those who will bear the brunt of the post-Covid-19 apocalypse is extremist.

Refusing to extend the weekly £20 Universal Credit uplift when your own party MPs are telling you that it will propel many low-income families into poverty and deprivation is not the behaviour of any government that likes to be thought of as decent or moral. This is the politics of extremism.

When your Home Secretary rewrites the ancient codes of charity and compassion that govern the world’s response to those imperilled by the sea, you are embracing inhumanity. There is nothing decent about sending desperately poor and needy people seeking shelter back into the storm.

This is extremism and rendered more so by the implication that these wretched scraps of humanity threaten the comfort and wellbeing of UK citizens. Under Priti Patel the UK’s response has moved from an extreme form of inhumanity to outright wickedness.

The latest swathe of Pandora Papers has exposed how the super-rich deploy extraordinarily complex means of escaping their financial obligations to the state and its services, allowing them to make their profits. Among those behaving in this extremist manner are many who fund the Tories. They do so in the knowledge that this party which portrays itself as decent and steadfast will protect them. This is a pattern of extremist behaviour. There is nothing in it which can be considered reasonable or decent.

To ensure that this writ runs unimpeded though, the Tories must have the support of working-class people: there simply aren’t enough of their political and cultural kind to do it by themselves. To achieve this a complex nexus of parts must move in constant precision with each other.

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IT helps, of course, when you can rely on 90% of the big print media publishing houses owned by the men who wrecked shop fronts with you in the Bullingdon Club, or whose influence is best advanced by your policies. Or that the BBC can be trusted never to deviate from the message.

Oh sure, from time to time their investigative journalists will shine a light on the extremism of the Tories. But their editors, who tread well-worn career paths back and forth between Conservative Central Office and Broadcasting House, are there to ensure that in the final analysis the Tories’ view of the world will never be threatened.

This is never more apparent than when they routinely refer to socialists inside the Labour Party as belonging to the “far left” and thus extremist. It’s also evident in the millions the BBC spends each year venerating the royal family and celebrating the UK’s military heritage.

All of these constituent parts move smoothly in and about each other to engender a sense of duty and patriotic pride; that we are all in this together and underneath it all one and the same – that is to say, British, and thus beholden to higher values and considering all other ethnic and national groupings inferior.

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This is not – by any interpretation of the terms – decent, normal or reasonable. It’s an extremist agenda motivated purely by the need to retain power, money and influence in the hands of the fewest number of people possible. It’s why Jeremy Corbyn had to be destroyed and why “reasonable” Labour types like millionaires Tony Blair and Sir Keir Starmer had to be preserved to maintain the fiction of democratic opposition. Blair and Starmer are merely playing the designated roles given to them.

And it’s why the prospect of Scottish independence must not merely be opposed, but crushed. It’s not because, as they always say, that they particularly like Scotland. They can’t possibly like Scotland. There are not enough of us who are like them or who are duped by them.

An independent Scotland is bad PR for the extremist cult that now runs Britain. Having told the world that you have taken back control post-Brexit, you can’t be seen to have lost a quarter of your kingdom. And especially not when its waters provide useful bases for those weapons of mass destruction you endlessly market to convey the myth of geo-political might. And nor if it provides future shelter to those poor people that you consider to be worthless and inferior.