Monday, April 22, 2024
HomeBrexit WatchThe European project is dead. Long live the conservative common man

The European project is dead. Long live the conservative common man


AS Sweden moves to the right, Giorgia Meloni wins in Italy with open plans to rewrite the constitution and Poland moves to claim war reparations from Germany, the Eurocrats are watching nervously.

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defied Brussels mandates over the Ukraine situation by ordering a national referendum on sanctions against Russia. As soon as the EU bureaucrats stamp out one fire, another five flare up. Thus the parable of Brexit was left unheeded and now the European project has not merely failed in the minds of those who perceive it as a threat to national identity but in actual practice.

No longer does the threat of EC President Ursula von der Leyen carry such weight as she decries Italy for having dared to vote against her personal politics. No longer does the threat of financial woes scare the people of mainland Europe. Backed into a corner, with soaring energy bills and an economic crash due to mismanagement in Brussels and two years of lockdown policy, ordinary people have come out swinging their fists. And it turns out that ordinary European families have a traditionally conservative cause.

Regarding Meloni’s win, cries of ‘fascist’ and whispers of the ‘most right-wing government since Mussolini’ are swelling from all the usual corners of the political axis. Those claims are without foundation. Those alive to real issues, to putting food on the table, creating jobs and seeing a new generation prosper are growing weary of identity politics. They want action, they want a future and they want commonsense solutions.

Here in the UK, UKIP gained massive groundswell ahead of the Brexit Referendum as the only party to represent the genuine wish of the everyday voter. Ahead of Meloni’s absolute majority in a centre-right coalition, it is important to remember that nine years ago, 2 per cent of the vote and nine seats was all she could muster. People are more willing to shun the traditionally accepted parties now than ever  before. It is a stark reminder to the major parties in this country not to take the voter for granted, or a nasty surprise might await not just one of them but both.

With the Vox party on the rise in Spain and the possibility of Eric Zemmour, Marion Maréchal and, more imminently, Marine Le Pen very present in France, Europe has a new face. It is a kind of conservatism that has not been seen for many years. It is not merely populism, as so many seem eager to say as a means of discrediting its rise. These are young, vibrant movements which are here to stay and they offer things that young people in this country and elsewhere have been bereft of for their entire lives – an option against the prescribed narrative.

This is the rise of the small party for the common man and the establishment might have to do a little rethinking, because there are a whole lot more common men than they had at first perceived. This is the beginning of a period of political turbulence. This is the reoccurrence of the unpredictable narrative which led to Brexit and a Trump White House, against all the warnings of the metropolitan elite classes. These classes are the new aristocracy, and the instinctively conservative proletariat are hot on their heels at the dawn of an unbloody, democratic revolution. The conservative voice is here to stay. Such movements of course, happen from the grass roots up. At a meeting last weekend in the Freedom Zone outside Tory Party Conference, I hosted David Starkey CBE for a panel with Tim Stanley and others for the Orthodox Conservatives Group. He went on to say hours later on TV that ‘change can happen at the bottom. There is a sense of people as it were, being hungry and not being fed . . . people want something, there’s a desire and I think this will be the hope’. He was spot-on. Those tired of umm-ing and ahh-ing from the government, of changes in policy and conviction overnight, of policy lines that haven’t really altered drastically in any direction since Blair, need feeding both intellectually and now more urgently, practically.

With the crisis in energy supplies has come the collapse of the Euro and by way of association, the start of a collapse in ties with the EU. The sensible voters of member countries will see to it. Here in Britain, there are rumblings on the ground – a desire for conviction to lead in the face of chaos and to prevent us from a rapid decline which threatens not to be merely moral and intellectual but now physical. That gap must be filled and only conservative voices have the power of genuine conviction to do so.

We must feed the hungry. It is a duty. That begins with rediscovering what conservatism means and is all about – a sensible choice for ordinary people, practical solutions and a healthy dose of realism, while not forgetting that there are matters of principle which government leaders would be best advised to avoid for political point-scoring. Focus on prosperity, leadership and national interests. Focus on persuading the voter and less on fellow politicians. Most of all, focus on connecting with what is destined to happen – the rise of the voice of the people. 

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Joseph Robertson
Joseph Robertson
Joseph Robertson is a research lead for the Orthodox Conservatives.

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