Calling all cliches: The most right-wing government

George Monbiot, writing in the Guardian a couple of days before the 2010 election, said that the left’s fear of losing elections ‘has permitted a once progressive party to form the most right-wing government this country has suffered since 1945’. [i] That was when Gordon Brown was prime minister. Since then, according to commentators and opposition politicians, things have been getting more and more right-wing with each successive prime minister.

David Cameron, 2010–16

‘The coalition is the most right-wing government since the war.’ – Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror, 2010 [ii]

‘He [Cameron] now leads the most right-wing Government of modern times, going further than previous Tory Prime Ministers ever dared.’ – Owen Jones, Sunday Mirror, 2011 [iii]

‘We’ve got the most right wing Government we’ve had since the 1930s.’ – Dave Hopper, secretary Durham Miners’ Association, 2012 [iv]

‘This is the most right-wing government Britain has had in modern times. It is daring to tread even where Margaret Thatcher did not tread.’ – Paul Kenny, general secretary GMB, 2012 [v]

‘This is the most right-wing government in history, it is worse than that of Margaret Thatcher’s.’ – Ian McCartney, former Labour MP, 2013 [vi]

‘Alex Salmond says the message of “taking back control” is more about “taking back control for the most Right-wing government since Margaret Thatcher.”’ – Alex Salmond, SNP first minister of Scotland, 2016 [vii]

‘This is already the most right wing government since the early days of Margaret Thatcher.’ – Fleet Street Fox, Daily Mirror, 2016 [viii]

Theresa May, 2016–19

‘Holding the most right-wing government in recent memory to account is going to be a non-stop daily grind.’ – Alyn Smith, SNP MEP, 2016 [ix]

‘The most right-wing Government we’ve seen now for many years.’ – Jo Stevens, Labour MP, 2016 [x]

‘This is the most right wing Government we have had in post-war Britain, their plan is to dismantle the public sector – they have a pathological hatred of it.’ – Iain Malcolm, Labour leader of South Tyneside Council, 2017 [xi]

‘Britain could be lumbered with the most right-wing Government since the dark days of Margaret Thatcher if the Tories surge to victory in the general election.’ – Jack Blanchard, Daily Mirror, 2017 [xii]

‘Be in no doubt, Mrs May and her colleagues want to complete a Tory takeover of the UK, Scotland included, by the most right-wing government in recent memory.’ – Nicola Sturgeon, SNP first minister of Scotland, 2017 [xiii]

Boris Johnson, 2019–22

‘Boris’s Brexit Band is the most right-wing, hard-line government in my lifetime, and I’ve seen a few.’ – Paul Routledge, Daily Mirror, 2019 [xiv]

‘Former diplomat and author of Article 50, Lord John Kerr, was one of the key speakers at the rally. He said this is “the most right-wing” government in his lifetime.’ – Baron Kerr of Kinlochard, crossbench peer, 2019 [xv]

‘Liberal Democrat equalities spokeswoman Christine Jardine said trans people are facing abuse and violence for simply being who they are. She accused the government of being the “most right-wing government in decades”.’ – Christine Jardine, Lib Dem MP, 2019 [xvi]

‘The UK is a class-based state and never more so than now under the control of the most right-wing government I’ve ever seen.’ – Boyd Clack, Plaid Cymru election candidate, 2019 [xvii]

‘Any Asian thinking of voting for the most right-wing government in recent times needs to think again.’ – Amjad Malik, Asian Image, 2019 [xviii]

‘We’ve ended up with probably the most right-wing government.’ – Clive Lewis, Labour MP, 2019 [xix]

‘The most extreme right-wing cabinet we’ve ever seen in the political history of this country.’ – John McDonnell, Labour MP, 2019 [xx]

‘The most right-wing government in modern political history.’ – Garry Scott, Herald, 2022 [xxi]

‘The most right-wing government quite possibly in the nation’s history.’ – Tom Peck, Independent, 2021 [xxii]

‘Scotland’s Parliament and its powers are being trashed by Westminster, while our people suffer under the most right-wing Government since Thatcher.’ – Kenny MacAskill, Alba MP, 2022 [xxiii]

‘[Mick] Lynch branded the Tories as “extremists”, and warned that the UK likely had “the most right-wing government we’ve ever experienced coming our way”.’ – Mick Lynch, general secretary RMT, 2022 [xxiv]

Liz Truss, 2022

‘Lib Dem leader Ed Davey said she [Liz Truss] had “probably the most right-wing Government in modern history.’ – Ed Davey, Lib Dem leader, 2022 [xxv]

‘[Liz Truss] is destined to lead what may well be the most right-wing government in a century.’ – Ros Wynne Jones, Daily Mirror, 2022 [xxvi]

‘As I have stated before, this is the most right-wing government this country has ever seen.’ – Shona Craven, The National, 2022 [xxvii]

‘They [Tory MPs] effectively gave permission for Truss to embark on an uncompromising experiment in the most extreme, right-wing, free-market economic dogma.’ – Ian Swanson, Scotsman, 2022 [xxviii]

[i] Guardian 4 May 2010

[ii] Daily Mirror 2 September 2010

[iii] Sunday Mirror 2 October 2011

[iv] Northern Echo 13 July 2012

[v] Herald 4 October 2012

[vi] Daily Mirror 5 September 2013

[vii] Daily Telegraph 14 June 2016

[viii] Daily Mirror 22 June 2016

[ix] Herald 24 July 2016

[x] WalesOnline 24 September 2016

[xi] Evening Chronicle 1 February 2017

[xii] Daily Mirror 18 April 2017

[xiii] Daily Record 24 April 2017

[xiv] Daily Mirror 25 July 2019

[xv] National 22 September 2019

[xvi] Huddersfield Daily Examiner 19 October 2019

[xvii] South Wales Echo 5 December 2019

[xviii] Asian Image 5 December 2019

[xix] Independent 17 December 2019

[xx] Daily Telegraph 18 December 2019

[xxi] Herald 8 August 2022

[xxii] Independent 16 June 2021

[xxiii] Holyrood 14 January 2022

[xxiv] National 17 August 2022

[xxv] Daily Star 22 September 2022

[xxvi] Daily Mirror 29 September 2022

[xxvii] National 8 October 2022

[xxviii] Scotsman 18 October 2022


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