Wednesday, 22 January 2014

I'm a Conservative, for nearly all of you I'm on your side


My Conservative colleague Nicky Morgan (she's never met me but I guess we're on the same side) thinks us Tories "hate" too much:

The minister said that people are frustrated “with hearing politicians talk about who we hated - we're anti this, we're anti-that, we don't like them, we don't want them here, we don't want them doing this”.

“We never say actually we are on the side of these people, we want this to happen and we think this is great,” she added. 

I thought for a few seconds about my sort of Conservatism - the right-wing sort that we're told Nicky is having a pop at - and concluded that my colleague both misunderstands and also spectacularly misses the point.

The truth is that we don't hate at all - it's what makes us so much better than the left. They love to judge, to condemn and, yes folks, to hate.

Nor are us right-wing Conservatives simply anti this or anti that. We're in favour of allowing ordinary people to go about their ordinary lives, living, loving and laughing without idiot, fussbucket politicians egging on interfering jobsworth bureaucrats to get in the way of that living, loving and laughing.

We're on the side of everyone who just wants to get on with their lives. That's the ones who aspire to wealth and success as well as the ones who want to coast along through their time just enjoying life. Which, if you think about it is nearly everyone.

There are a few we don't like. The ones who think they know better and who want to ram that knowing better down our throats. We're not keen on them.

And the ones who think everyone else owes them a living and that we should sacrifice living, loving and laughing to allow this to happen. Not fans of them either.

Then there are the ones who believe that only state-approved methods of living, loving and laughing should be allowed with everything else taxed to the hilt, controlled, regulated and often banned. We hate all that.

We don't want to fuss and bother over your choices and your lifestyle. We don't want to indulge in some sort of whiggish obsession with a mythical 'aspiring class'. We don't want more rules just to appease busybodies and fussbuckets.

Above all we want to say to you all that it's your life, go and live it. Enjoy it, make the most of it, do as many of the things you want to do. Throw parties. Drink. Smoke. Skydive. Ski. Set off fireworks. Build sandcastles. Eat fish and chips at the end of the pier. Sing. Dance. Write novels. Create new games. Embroider cushion covers. Climb mountains. Study beetles. A million and more ways to live a life.

And our job as politicians? It's to help you have the best chance to do all the things you'd like to do.



Surreptitious Evil said...

I'm not sure this is a "left / right" split so much as a classical liberal (or libertarian, given how much the former has been debased in modern usage - albeit the latter has unpleasant 'USian fundie nut job' connotations) / authoritarian split.

You can be relatively soft on market radicalism (i.e. leftish in post-Thatcherite Toryism - Cameron rather than IDS) without having to adopt the traditional Tory paternalism.

Looking across the great divide, because it is sometimes easier - look at the difference between Polly Toynbee (soft left, statist) and Laurie Penny (harder left, individualist). We don't all fit into a nice convenient French C18 classification.

It would be interesting to see you take the Political Compass test and see how you do on both axes. I'm not as right as I might appear (possibly due to some remaining US bias - few of us are as right as we would like to thing we are compared against, say, a Texas Democrat) but I am strongly liberal. Which is, I think, the point of your article.

Even more interesting would be for a range of Conservatives to take the test. I think we'd see an interesting range from right wing liberal (Osborne, Hannan), to slight-right liberal (Cameron), right wing authoritarian (I may be being unfair here but this is the Norman Tebbit stereotype). Interesting to see where important personalities such as Hague and IDS fit in.

Anonymous said...

In addition to the excellent comment by Surreptitious Evil, there is a difference between those who regard working as some kind of end in itself, and those who view it as a necessary evil if we're going to support ourselves at a decent level and not be reliant on others. There are more than enough "right-wing" people in the former category, who seem to think going out to work is some kind of heroic, praiseworthy deed.

Surely we should aim to be working less, but making the work we do more productive and more aimed towards winning the leisure and enjoyment of a long, well-nourished and disease-free life. Capitalism is good because it has brought prosperity, not because has some kind of sanctity.

Therefore those gruesome Britannia Unchained people are as bad as any Labourite, and you vaguely allude to them but haven't acknowledged how common they are in "right-wing" circles.