KATHY Gyngell’s post of Monday on changing the name of this site set me thinking about the nature of political blogs and conservatism. Some 11 years ago when the Spectator was metamorphosing from being a Tory mouthpiece to the present broad church, Fiona Melville described conservatism as ‘a pragmatic creed, wary of dogma, going with the grain of human nature, and focusing on effective policy that leads to real improvements’.
So what is lacking? Freedom is. Hence the new name. But what is freedom? In the New Statesman, Jonn Elledge wrote of the July 19 Freedom Day: ‘All any of us wanted was a nice summer break so that we could arrive rested, recharged and ready to resume the crisis in the autumn. What we get instead are empty shelves, a pingdemic and the awful, smug face of Dominic sodding Cummings.’ As Mabs said to Magnus when he declared himself free in John le Carré’s A Perfect Spy, free of what? Free of whom?
The answer is that we are never free of our ties, even if only to family. But we are free to pursue our lives in peace. This freedom is not very different from our fundamental rights: to liberty, to due process of law, to freedom of movement, to privacy, to freedom of thought, to freedom of religion, to freedom of expression, to peaceful assembly and to freedom of association.
A publication that defends all these truly keeps us free.