PEOPLE elect a Conservative Party to govern because of core values. Millions in the UK share the Conservative belief in freedom: freedom of expression; free market capitalism and entrepreneurialism; the sovereignty of individuals and of the country. Even former Labour voters turned out for the Conservatives in the last General Election because they wanted Brexit; they wanted the UK to be free of Europe. Many of us have fathers and forefathers who fought in World Wars to preserve our democratic rights.
So, what is going on now? Why has a Conservative government apparently abandoned these core values? Why is it behaving more like a socialist government, with out-of-control debt, massive unemployment, draconian controls over business, invasion of private lives with people being told where they may and may not go, who they may and may not meet, what they may and may not buy? Why has Britain been placed on a wartime footing for the sake of fighting a virus which is no more lethal than a seasonal ’flu?
The pretext that fighting a virus justifies current Government policy is no longer making sense. People know that there are alternative strategies to lockdowns, such as those suggested by the Great Barrington Declaration. We also know that effective treatments exist. There is no reason to fear the virus as much as we might have done at the beginning of 2020. But, because the Government is behaving so irrationally, people are starting to ask why? They are beginning to wonder if there is another agenda.
So far, we have had only hints of a different future in ‘Build Back Better’ and the Prime Minister’s references to digital. ‘Build Back Better’, however, seems to be a global slogan in line with the World Economic Forum’s ‘The Great Reset’, now endorsed by Prince Charles. WEF’s founder Professor Klaus Schwab has stated: ‘The pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, re-imagine, and reset our world’ in the direction of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The UK Government is being coy about its own support for WEF, in spite of publishing a White Paper last year in which collaboration between the UK and WEF was clearly established.
Why is the UK Government not being more open about its support for the World Economic Forum and the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Is it because of a fundamental lack of compatibility between the philosophy of the World Economic Forum and core Conservative Party values?
What drives the World Economic Forum is a belief in technology, and ultimately in technocracy. In the WEF world, science/the machine/technology all know better than people, and even people can be improved through technology. In fact, we don’t actually need people at all for much of what we currently take for granted. According to this philosophy, people are no longer in control of their lives: the algorithm dictates all. We saw an example of this in action this summer with the exam fiasco.
Technocracy is profoundly anti-humanand relies on non-human contact. We see evidence for this in the Secretary of State for Health’s desire that ‘telemedicine’ should continue. You might never see your GP in person again. While removing people from the equation may make sense in terms of efficiency, it does nothing to improve patient welfare where the relationship is often the key to recovery.
Technocracy in effect de-skillsthe human because the data knows best. In the case of farming, the years of skill and experience of the individual farmer will not count. Young farmers will pay more attention to data than they do to their intuition. With the kind of indoor vertical farming and the meatless meat enterprises in which the Government is now investing, their agricultural career could be entirely disconnected from the earth; the unique qualities of any farm and its soil will no longer matter.
Technocracy is anti-human culturein other ways. Ballet dancers and musicians are being asked to re-train as IT specialists. Why can’t we have ballet dancers in our future society? What is the future for all our creative arts?
Technocracy cannot be defined as a political movement. It is non-party political. Thus Sir Keir Starmer MP, leader of the Opposition, does not object to what the Government is doing. And we have the example of Tony Blair’s institute, which promotes the WEF agenda, endorsed by William Hague and Jeremy Hunt MP. Technocracy is more about social engineering than party politics. WEF promotes social division with its support for diversity and identity politics.
Technocracy is anti-democratic. Stakeholders have as much influence over decisions as any elected individual (eg Extinction Rebellion’s ‘Citizen Assemblies’ and the pressures on local councils to include non-elected stakeholders). Is the move to replace district councils with unitary authorities just a way of bypassing national sovereignty, while giving the illusion of local control?
Technocracy is ultimately anti-capitalism. If we are all watched and monitored, how can we have free enterprise? Our town and city centres are already all but destroyed. WEF even promotes the concept that by 2030 we will own nothing.
If digital really is the answer to our problems, why are we facing mass unemployment? Technology can be part of the solution, but not if it creates yet more problems.
Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s plan is to replace free enterprise with only those businesses that conform to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of England and now climate change ambassador, has made it clear that businesses will be denied loans if they do not meet zero carbon criteria. While reducing carbon may be a welcome as a means of lowering pollution, it is not a realistic objective in helping the economy to get back on its feet.
We have already suffered too much as a country from a cure that is worse than the disease. We do not need the further indignities that technocracy imposes on us. It is even leaving a permanent scar on the landscape where cities such as Sheffield have had trees removed so that the technology microwave grid can function better.
We have been warned since at least the 1930s of the perils of technocracy. C S Lewis wrote in The Abolition of Man in 1943 that ‘what we call Man’s power over Nature turns out to be a power exercised by some men over other men with Nature as its instrument’. Sir Winston Churchill also recognised the problem in a 1949 speech: ‘Science bestowed immense new powers on man and at the same time created conditions which were largely beyond his comprehension and still more beyond his control.’ The Second World War was meant to resolve some of the dangers of this philosophy.
In pursuing a technocratic future, do we risk returning to the 1930s and making the same serious mistake? Lured by the appeal of technology without regard for its downsides? This time are we looking at a divided world, one dominated by oligarchs and billionaires where the rest of us own nothing, not even our freedom? What will become of us if the UK Government continues down the ‘Build Back Better’ path and its commitment to digital? Are we in danger of finding ourselves in a far worse world than even Churchill or C S Lewis could have imagined? What can the Conservative Party do to rescue the British people and restore core values?