THE Conservative Party used to be on the side of the people against the power of the state, which needed to be under scrutiny and democratic accountability. This required transparency and honesty by government, not deception and cover-up of real intentions. This ideal has clearly been shredded since the Conservatives decided to embrace the 1997 Blairite cultural revolution and to bin basic conservative political morality, an embrace growing stronger and stronger through the Clegg/Cameron administration, Cameron, and then May. The state now does as it wishes against the will of the people, often deceptively. The state’s reach into the private and family lives of the public grows alarmingly, under the label of liberalism and freedom but in fact removing freedoms and legitimate diversity of opinion over moral issues.
Under this new Blairite ‘modernising’ party, we have experienced the trashing of the old balance of planning permissions between central and local interests: the concreting of England is well under way, neighbours can build new houses in their gardens, new housing developments are forced through against local opinion to cope with the rising demography caused by – government. Robert Hardman’s article in the Daily Mail illustrated the fear and loathing of ‘middle England’ against this command and control model of governing, as the ordinary commonsense populace have rejected the Conservative Party in swathes of formerly Tory councils.
Hardman describes the new ruling party in Saffron Walden, called Residents For Uttlesford, as ‘a collection of lawyers, business people, doctors and engineers, they look – on paper, at least – like typical members of a Conservative Association, except that they also include ex-Lib Dems and ex-Labour supporters, plus many people who had never been interested in politics of any sort.
‘Nor is this some flash-in-the-pan protest vote waving a Nimby (Not In My Back Yard) placard. The ‘R4U’ are now in their fifth year of running the town council and there are similar insurgencies across the Home Counties.
‘This lot have multiple grievances – mainly Tory plans for various huge developments without corresponding plans for new infrastructure – and a visceral sense of disappointment.’
Government has stopped listening to them, they know it and reject that party. Hardman lists many other districts in which this is happening. But the Tories just keep on being modern, as Nick Boles would call it.
There are no signs of any repenting of this socialist mode of government. HS2 (current government estimate of cost: £56billion) is a great zenith of emotivist Conservative destruction to earn socialist brownie points. Voters know it.
Taking education, the picture is the same. We have crowds of parents rejecting the right of the state to impose moral teaching on their young children, with no right of withdrawal from the lessons. If this were a matter of telling Middle England parents to shut up and go away, that might have worked, but the parents of Muslim children don’t think the state has the right to force five-year-olds to be schooled into LGBT modes of life. In fact it is probably a human right of the individual against the state to allow parental moral culture not to be repressed by the state.
In higher education, freedom of thought is under real threat as government engages in social engineering, preferring ‘diversity’ to academic excellence, appeasing the ‘Blob’ in all things. Taxpayers must soon wonder whether it remains worthwhile to fund ‘universities’ as now constituted, as Jonathan Bate pointed out in the Times.
And of course what about the Equality Act section 7 and its ‘protected characteristics’ of religious groups? Conservatism used to be about preserving and valuing family and freedoms, not crushing them. Theresa May played a key part in forcing this whole agenda on to her own ‘nasty’ party and criminalising dissent.
Finally, Brexit, ah Brexit: the one chance we all had to say no to more and more EU management and technocratic treatment by computers, to get back democratic accountability. But that process is itself undermined by the reactionary centripetal force of the ‘deep state’ as myopic ‘Conservative’ MPs, putative Prime Ministers, show they are simply ‘continuity May’ in preferring unchecked Euro bureaucracy to that awkward tradition of listening to the people. Trust in government and the corrosive Conservative Party is almost completely gone locally and nationally. We don’t trust you, why should we?