It is obvious why those who have never seen themselves as Conservative should not support this government. This article explains why those who do see themselves as traditional Conservatives should take a stand against this government:
- This government shares none of the values that traditional Conservatives hold dear;
- Traditional conservatives prize pragmatism and competence; this government is reckless and incompetent;
- This government is destroying our traditional position as a leading democracy.
This Government Shares None of the Traditional Conservative Values
Traditional Conservatives are conservative (small c): they do not want to see radical changes in society driven by ideology; they want to see steady improvements based on what is proven to work. This government is so radical that many former senior Conservatives like Phil Hammond, Anna Soubry, Dominic Grieve, Heidi Allen and Ken Clarke “cannot recognise the party they joined.”
Traditional Conservatives are ‘one-nation’ Conservatives; they believe that the government should govern on behalf of the whole population. This government has shown repeatedly that it is prepared to impoverish 99% of the population in order not to ‘deter investors.’
Traditional Conservatives oppose corruption. When Owen Paterson was found guilty of egregious breaches of lobbying rules – he had lobbied extensively to help his client Randox obtain a £400 million contract during the pandemic, for which the taxpayer received (at best) questionable value for money – this government sought de-fang the Parliamentary Standards system.
This Government is Reckless and Incompetent
Traditional Conservatives try to manage the economy soundly. This government has a worse track record than any in modern history – and it seems to have stopped even trying to address the reality, apparently believing that simply claiming that it has produced a strong economy, that it has handled Covid well, that it is levelling up, etc is a substitute for delivering.
The full name of the party is “The Conservative and Unionist Party.” Through its reckless and incompetent handling of Brexit, this government has done more than any other to threaten the Union.
Traditional Conservatives were not afraid to take responsibility – Lord Carrington resigned because the Falklands conflict ‘happened on his watch.’ This government, in contrast, does not feel responsible for tackling the cost of living crisis, the underfunding of the NHS, the sewage in our rivers, the growth in child poverty, the climate emergency – or indeed any of the problems the country faces.
This Government is Destroying Our Position as a Leading Democracy
Traditional Conservatives support democracy, the rule of law and the UK’s unwritten constitution. This government does none of those things.
As Ken Clarke pointed out recently:
“We have relied for too long on a Victorian ideal of what we used to call decent chaps doing the right thing to keep our constitutional principles intact. We have got to the point where we need a serious written constitution. We need to restore the strengths of the Commons and the Lords by putting their powers into statutory reforms. We are at the absurd point where it is up to the government whether extremely contentious pieces of legislation get to be debated at all.
“Boris is showing signs of being extremely impatient in regard to the constitutional constraints upon him. He gets angry if the courts or parliament try to interfere. As the elected prime minister, he thinks he should not be impeded in these ways. We are now getting dangerously close to the “elected dictatorship” that Lord Hailsham, the former Lord Chancellor, warned us about half a century ago.”
Traditional Conservatives believe in being truthful and supporting the rule of law. This government lies constantly about fundamental (and trivial) issues and undermines the rule of law at every turn.
The one thing this government has done effectively and systematically, is to unwind the democratic safeguards that had made us one of the world’s leading democracies. Almost uniquely in Europe, we no longer even have the right to peaceful protest.
We have for many years ‘punched above our weight’ on the world stage. Now we are close to being an international laughing stock: it is impossible to imagine any of Johnson’s predecessors being shunned and distrusted by other world leaders as he is.
Though there have been hints of a revolution to take back the Conservative Party, so far it looks as though the extremists remain firmly in control.
Now is the time for traditional Tories to stand-up and demand change, before this government turns the UK into a banana republic.
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