During the run-up to the EU referendum, Nick Timothy wrote a fortnightly column for this site. This was widely interpreted as channelling the views of his former boss, Theresa May – then Home Secretary, ambiguously positioned on Brexit, and a future Conservative leadership contender. But it swiftly became clear that the articles set out a worldview in their own right, focused as they were on the interests and sensibility of what later became known as the JAMs – just-about managing voters.
The phrase came into circulation after May became Conservative leader and Prime Minister, by which time Timothy had become her joint Chief of Staff. His pieces for this site were being googled down and pored over word by word, like some crackling manuscript unearthed from a Qumran cave, by business, interest groups, lobbyists, and governments abroad about the thinking of the new Government. We almost regretted not operating behind a paywall…
Now comes the news that Timothy is to write a fortnightly column for the Daily Telegraph and a monthly one for the Sun. Both papers will want him to spill the beans on his Downing Street experience, and the Westminster Village will expect him to exact revenge on his various detractors, both within the Conservative Party and without. He was extensively briefed against during the election campaign and didn’t bite back, which he will now have the opportunity to do.
It is more likely, however, that he will carry on where he left off – that’s to say, expounding a serious, solid, security-focused policy programme, which favours industrial intervention, Brexit and lower immigration. The manifesto over which he co-presided in June exploded the Prime Minister’s re-election campaign (the social care policy was designed only to “blow the bloody doors off”) and was largely responsible for her return to Downing Street with no majority rather than a substantially increased one.
None the less, his core take is right. As James Frayne has demonstrated recently on ConservativeHome, the key people in general elections are who Timothy has always said they are: lower middle-class, provincial, home-owning voters. There is a danger of them being forgotten amidst the justified anxiety about the Party’s rotten showing in London and amongst the youngest voters. Timothy will provide a counterbalance and for that reason, plus others, this site wishes him well in his new venture.