Leading up to December 2022, when I was preparing for my PhD viva, I was told by colleagues – quite consistently – that populism was back on the academic agenda. Clearly, I had timed my PhD well, the covid pandemic aside.
Now, at the conclusion of the process, I have people ask me what my core conclusions are. The truth is, I say, populism is going to remain a permanent feature of our political system for a long time, to such an extent that I think, for all his mistakes and poor insights, Cas Mudde was right to describe our era as the ‘populist zeitgeist.’ I am not alone in making this prediction: in his farewell speech to the European Parliament, Nigel Farage said populism ‘was very popular’; and there abound many different academic attempts at explaining the likely enduring appeal of populism.
Among them I find particular value in Nadia Urbinati’s Democracy Disfigured (2014) and Me, The People (2019): the former is particularly focused on how democracy can be transformed, though populism is only part of that story. In that book, Urbinati attempts to analyse the role of what she calls the doxa in democracy, emphasising the linguistic and dialogical elements of democracy as methods of identifying conflict and resolving them; in response to this, says Urbinati, populism attempts to ‘fix’ the inevitability of conflict. It can do this because democracy (and politics in general) is actually about never attempting to remove conflict, merely attempting to ‘win’ the immediate conflict, whilst accepting that you may ‘lose’ the next one. The underlying unity is, as a result, quite thin, and little more than a general agreement on the process of conflict and resolution, rather than an agreement on the resolution of conflict specifically.
Populism, says Urbinati, works from within the logic of democracy to recognise the inherently conflictual nature of politics and democracy, and then seeks to deny it. Instead of attempting to win now, and accept the possibility of losing in the future, populism attempts to win forever, and deny the possibility of future conflict. In doing so, populism becomes anti-politics.
In the latter book, Urbinati delves deeper into populism specifically, and considers the internal mechanisms of populism, rather than just the impact it has on democracy. In doing so, Urbinati looks at the role of ‘antiestablishmentarianism,’ ‘antielitism’ and, crucially, the messianic leader, in the emergence of populism.
This is an excerpt from “Ides”. To continue reading, visit The Mallard’s Shopify.
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By Samuel Martin — 9 months ago
As the Conservative Party leadership contest has unfolded, an issue wedge has gradually been inserted into its surrounding discourse. What is an issue wedge? It is a tactical device, not an organic manifestation, that is designed to divide ongoing political issues in a specific way. More specifically, it is meant to override organic political divisions with an arbitrary political division which favours the political agenda of the wedge-driver(s).
The problematic nature of the wedge is not its divisive nature. Quite the opposite, the problem of the wedge is that it denies all forms of political division; all political division except the form of division established through the wedge.
Division is the nature of the political; as Schmitt says: “the distinction between friend and enemy”. Where there is division, there is the opportunity for deliberation and conflict, and where there is deliberation and conflict, there is opportunity for change. When the opportunity for change is taken away, all that is left is the status quo. I refer to this as a wedge, rather than “depoliticization” for the sole reason that I am concerned with a specific instance of depoliticization, rather than depoliticization as a phenomenon. Whether it is understood as a strategy to create distance between governments and responsibility for implementing policy, an attempt to remove politics for the formulation of policy, or the more general practice of curtailing the agency of non-governmental actors, depoliticization is underpinned by the idea of removing things from the political arena, inoculating them against political critique, challenge, or change. Who decides what issues are removed from the political arena? That itself is a political matter, and more the focus of this article.
In this case, Tory Leadership discourse has been fractured by a Costalivin-Culture War wedge. In short: you must choose between solutions to Costalivin or fighting the Culture War. You are not allowed to support both.
Are you concerned by the police’s indifference to violent crime, or their willingness to harass normal individuals? Do you approve of vandalising and destroying taxpayer-funded statues of British icons? Are you concerned illegal immigration and immigration-led demographic change? Do you find the idea of “trans children” just a tad ridiculous and possibly very damaging?
If you care at all about these matters, you are a culture warrior; a low-status, GBNews-watching, Leave-voting, Union flag-waving culture warrior. If you are a culture warrior, you are indifferent to the cost-of-living crisis. If you are indifferent to the cost-of-living crisis, you are condemning the nation to poverty and suffering. If you condemn the nation to poverty and suffering, you are evil, and so on. Focus on Costalivin, categorically ignore Culture War. If you don’t categorically ignore Culture War, you are categorically ignoring Costalivin. In summary: you can challenge the status quo, just not all of it.
Who decides what aspects of the status quo may be challenged? Supporters of the status quo. Surprise, surprise! Wedge-drivers drives the wedge. By dividing Costalivin against Culture War, attributing public interest to the former and distraction and subversion to the latter, the wedge-drivers hope to ensure that the public are cut off from politically engaging with cultural issues under the guise of public interest.
When called out on their wedge-driving, the wedge-drivers insist they are merely prioritising The Issues. This disguise is immediately betrayed by the fact that priority implies multiplicity. One can have multiple priorities and stratified priorities are nevertheless priorities. To reduce any ambiguity, just note that the wedge-drivers (God save them) have taken it upon themselves to decide our priorities for us.
Discussing cultural issues is, according to the wedge-drivers, definitive proof of having no solution to Costalivin; discussing immigration, crime, censorship in public life, etc. is necessarily a diversion. Given the shallow, often non-existent Costalivin solutions of the wedge-drivers, it can just as easily be argued that their attacks on “Culture Warriors” is also necessarily a diversion.
The wedge-drivers aren’t necessarily conscious of their wedge-driving, but their mentality is generally the same. “Those stupid culture warriors and their divisive Us VS Them tactics. We need to push them out of the discourse so then people like us, those worthy of political participation, can get on with discussing “The Priorities”. It is effectively a way for political participants (especially political commentators) to pull rank on each other.
If Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak were giving speeches about nothing but “men in the women’s bathroom” or “[REDACTED] nonsense in our universities”, that would be one thing. However, despite the crippling un-remarkableness of both candidates, I don’t think it has come to that. Criticising a candidate for failing to have an agreeable answer (never mind a solution) to a concurrent political issue is different to criticising a candidate for having no answer (or solution) to a concurrent issue.
Members of the Tory Party, and the nation collectively, are affected by Costalivin and Kulturkampf (albeit in different ways) and should be allowed (perhaps, expected) to demand effective solutions to both, which necessarily entails the freedom to criticise candidates that fall short of their expectations without being accused of second-hand genocide and in need of censorship, ostracization from the political sphere, etc.
The wedge-drivers don’t want cultural matters to be in the political arena because it would make these matters contestable. By coming out in opposition to the deliberation of these matters, they reveal themselves to be supporters of the status quo; a status quo which denies deliberation and conflict over these matters, leading to the imposition of whatever can be imposed.
Keep in mind: none of this is the same as arguing that certain things are, as a matter of fact, mutually exclusive or heavily contingent on one another. Indeed, wedge-drivers seem blissfully ignorant of the fact that economic policies do have social implications.
It’s one thing to suggest that liberal government handouts, legitimised in the name of responding to a crisis, will drive immigration (legal and illegal) and if one is concerned by the latter, the former is ill-advised. It’s another thing to demand political participants self-censor their concerns about immigration because the wedge-drivers (journalists, policy wonks, commentators, etc.) have decided that talking about immigration is “Culture War Nonsense”, etc.
It is a matter of fact that mass immigration increases demand for houses and that, without any means of placating increased demand, already eye-watering housing costs will increase as well. Given this, one would imagine such a matter would be of interest to Costalivin Warriors, but it isn’t. Why? Because, as I mentioned earlier, earnest solutions are not the “priority”. It’s about preserving a dimension of the status-quo that has come under an ever-increasing amount of criticism.
In summary, the Tory Leadership wedge is an attempt to deny political choice at a time when people need it most. We should not have to choose between low taxes or low crime. We should not have to choose between constructing nuclear plants or controlling our borders. We should not have to choose between building more houses and defunding border-dodging NGOs. We should not have to choose between abolishing the Town and Country Planning Act (1947) and abolishing the Equality Act (2010), etc, etc.
This attempt to declare a state-of-exception on political discourse itself must be resisted. We must not allow wedge-drivers to give the British people the illusion of no alternatives. People are quick to note British democracy’s negative turn; the increasingly common habit of voting for “the least bad option” rather than “the good option”. Though they are right, I fear this is becoming an understatement. Not only is our politics degenerating, so too is our political commentary. The sorry state of our politicians creates political deprivation. The wedge-driving from many in our political commentariat not only makes this deprivation worse, it adds insult to the initial injury: expecting people to listen to you whatever you have to say, after having whittled down almost all their means of response.
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By Joseph Hammond — 9 months ago
The Coronavirus disrupted global food distribution networks and in the aftermath of ‘World War Virus,’ it will be more important than ever to address the issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Globally, seafood consumption has continued to climb in recent years as the unprecedented growth of a middle class around the globe has resulted in an increased demand for seafood. At least 3 billion people rely on farmed or wild-caught seafood as their primary source of protein, while over 4.3 billion people get at least 15% of their animal protein intake from fish and other seafood.
IUU fishing also contributes to other problems such as terrorism in both East and West Africa. In Asia they contribute to a growing number of maritime border disputes that are often rarely discussed.
Former U.S. Navy Admiral and NATO commander James Stavridis warned in a 2017 article that China was spending hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidize vessels involved in IUU fishing. Late last year the United States government has warned that China’s illegal fishing practices could start a conflict in the region.
In 2020, a Japanese destroyer Shimakaze recieved a one-metre hole in its hull after colliding with a Chinese fishing vessel 650km west of the Japanese island of Yakushima. Two fishermen aboard the Chinese vessel were reportedly injured. That violent confrontation came weeks after a similar alarming incident involving the Taiwanese Coast Guard and Chinese speed boats last month. Farther afield the Argentine coastguard fired upon and sunk Chinese vessels illegally fishing in Argentina’s exclusive economic zone.
Of course, China isn’t the only country using its fishermen in this way. Vietnam and the fishing fleets of other countries have been accused of using their fishing fleets as “militia“. When Indonesia last year launched a major operation to crack down on IUU fishing it its territorial waters, it destroyed 51 foreign vessels but only two of which were Chinese flagged.
Yet, there is no denying the large number of vessels involved in IUU fishing hail from China a country which since 2002, has also been the world’s largest exporter of sea food. China’s rise to dominance in the sea food industry was rapid. In less than two decades the Communist country built the largest deep-water fishing fleet in the world with some 3,000 vessels. Yet, that number fails to show Chinese influence on the global fishing industry. Indeed the EJF report revealed that 90% of Ghana’s industrial trawl fleet is linked to Chinese owners though often locally registered under Ghanaian companies.
Chinese authorities have reluctantly admitted to having a problem. Several new regulations have been announced including a blacklist for Chinese company executives and boat captains who engage in IUU fishing. Furthermore, under the current Chinese policy, no vessel is supposed to fish within three miles of the exclusive economic zone of any country (EEZ). Yet, its enforcement of these measures can often vary on the jurisdiction.
“In the Bohai Sea, the Yellow Sea and most of the East China Sea (in waters they have clear jurisdiction over), they are taking IUU fishing very seriously because IUU fishing has a directly felt impact on domestic sustainability and food security…,” says Tabitha Grace Mallory, a leading expert on Chinese fishing practice, “China’s annual fishing moratorium only extends to 12*N latitude, so any fishing below that (which is where the Spratlys are) is pretty much a free-for-all.” China provides large subsidies to fishing fleets that operate in that area.”
Of course the problem of subsidies in particular is peculiar to more than just China. The European Union has quietly reintroduced subsidies to help overgrow its fishing fleet. Unless measures are taken to end such harmful subsidies, the stomachs of those who live above the water will soon feel the impact as well.
“The long-distance water fishing fleet is responsible for the majority of IUU fishing incidents linked to Chinese-flagged dishing vessel – and considering that the operation of the foreign fishing fleet is only possible due to state subsidies – China needs to cut all of its fishing subsidies. For that matter, the European Union needs to do the same with its long-distance fleet,” says Peter Hammarstedt of Sea Shephard.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for countries to abandon fishing subsidies in the interest of food security. The goals were approved by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and are meant to be achieved by 2030. The fourteenth SDG goal “Life Below Water” calls on all nations to: “prohibit certain forms of fisheries subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing; eliminate subsidies that contribute to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and refrain from introducing new such subsidies.”
China is a signatory to these goals. As are the European Union and a number of OECD countries who contribute to the problem of IUU fishing. If more isn’t done soon to address this problem both in Asia and around the world there will be a lot more empty grocery store shelves and a lot more empty stomachs.
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By Otis Griffin — 9 months ago
In the same way my last article ended, this first paragraph is being written on a Saturday, a day on which I often go to my Anglican parish church for the 9:30am Eucharist. After a week of exams, even a modern Common Worship service can warm my traditional soul. After the service, I turned to our good Rector and talked about a few things, namely about Calvin Robinson’s lack of ordination – our Rector thankfully sees the value conservatives bring to the Church of England – and asked “Just what are these Christian values people talk about, Reverend?”. Being a strong believer in the personal relationship between believer and the Almighty, he said to follow the guidelines of faith, hope and charity, and see where God guides us from there. While that may be enough to satisfy many Christians in a church environment, how do political conservatives, many of whom are not Christian, translate that into ideas and policies when we often cite our appreciation for ‘Christian values’?
Needless to say, one does not have to believe in God or the divinity of Jesus Christ to realise He had a lot of good things to say on morality that are relevant to the reader as a person, and to British politics. Christianity and interpretations of the Bible are responsible for much of how Britain functions politically, and even progressive politics – and it goes without saying that Christianity influences conservative social values. The historians Robert Tombs and Nigel Scotland made good cases to say that the British Labour Party has deeper roots in Methodist Christianity than Marxism, especially historically speaking. Methodist Christianity is probably the best example of the political Gospel having profound influence that lasts to this day. Christianity in England generally contributed greatly to the establishment of the welfare state and educating the masses; likewise, the abolition of slavery in the British Empire was driven through by Evangelical Christian William Wilberforce. Even the renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama attributed much of the West’s development into liberal democracies as down to the influence of the Christian religion on politics and society in his books The Origins of Political Order and Political Order and Political Decay, as well as Christianity being responsible for the Western notion of universal equality. Christianity has much symbolic influence on the development of nation-states as well: the name “England” was given to us by the Roman Catholic Church, believing the land that is England to have been primarily made up of Angles and not Saxons, and of course the British flag is an amalgamation of three crosses that represent Christian saints.
And even if you don’t believe in it, you probably like a lot of what Christianity gave you. Given all it has accomplished, it may even be worth looking to an interpretation of Christianity for a moral system.
With this, one returns to the subject at hand. Writing for UK-based Premier Christianity, Peter Lynas argues that Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine is “an attack on Christian values”. His general argument is that equality and human rights are products of Christianity, thus making Russia’s invasion and subsequent alleged human rights violations an attack on Christian values. On the other side, American congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene called for a restoration of ‘Christian values’, stating that they built America. British conservatives, from David Cameron to Nigel Farage, spoke highly of Christian values. Cameron in particular accredited the Bible to being a great moral influence, while Farage had much more to say on specific policies, such as restricting abortion. Even recently, a conservative Member of Parliament – a 2019-intake one – praised Christian values. There is indeed a place for these ‘Christian values’ in British politics. The trouble is, there doesn’t seem to be a consistent argument as to what these values are from the conservative right. Few people are actually adequately describing, in sufficient detail for meaningful political goals, these Christian values.
It is sensible to make a distinction between ‘Christian values’ and following the Bible, not least because these values ought to be promotable to those of others faiths or no faith. Following the Bible and being a Christian is appropriate for the Church to promote as priests in the Church of Christ, as opposed to the job of ministers in the service of the state. Theocracy – rule by priests – is not an accountable form of government, and theonomy – rule by scripture – is simply impractical for the modern era; the Bible was made for regulating personal conduct and driving societal change, not to be a substitute for a good legal system. After all, Jesus himself told us to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”, meaning that there is some distinction – though not necessarily a separation – between the state and the Church. The Christian values I will attempt to identify will be principles and notions that are derived from the Bible and Christian thinking in broad terms that are specific enough to be applicable while not being vague enough to be detached from Christianity.
Christianity is about love; there is nothing more obvious than this. This type of Christian love brings us to the first value I can identify, and that is paternalism. The Bible portrays God’s love as not just passive and merely tolerant, but active and guiding. Like a father traditionally would, God the Father lays down rules to bring us closer to moral virtue and goodness, and God the Son, Jesus Christ, consistently showed his willingness to care for, support, and feed people. It is clear that moral and material paternalism is a Christian value, and that can be reflected in governance – material paternalism through welfare for the truly needy and moral paternalism through a state that legislates on moral issues. This acts as a good transition to the next identifiable value of a belief in a firm, universal system of morality. It may be stating the obvious to say Jesus Christ preached about morality, and that it is a virtue to follow God’s moral law. Likewise, both conservatives and liberals can see the importance in society of following common, universal morals that are not mere formalities, but a set of rules and customs that people subscribe to in order to become better people. Universal morality is key to a functioning society. Do we not already agree to a set of universal morals, such as the belief that murder is wrong? Does not the widespread belief that violence is wrong help keep individuals and society safe? Point being, take a moral stand on social issues. Having a legal system will always lead to morals being imposed on others, and it only makes sense to impose a good moral system than to be weak-willed and push for dangerous societal atomisation.
One problem within mainstream conservatism and Western society in general is the shift towards moral relativism. In my last article, I referenced Edmund Burke’s claim that social order rests on moral foundations. Putting this simply, society and your day-to-day interactions function and go well because we collectively agree to the ‘ground-rules’, otherwise known as morality. As silly as it may seem to mention, I wouldn’t punch someone in the nose in response to being greeted with “Hello”, because that would be rude. It is the distinction between what thing is ‘right’ to do, and what is ‘wrong’ to do. Scale up this very small rejection of morality to the widespread rejection of law, the rejection of dignity and self-restraint, the rejection of being orderly and rejecting responsibility and the place where you live becomes worse-off. Some of those things just mentioned are quite widespread, perhaps with some such as the rejection of law it isn’t quite as chaotic as widespread murder, but little respect for the law in regards to, say, drug dealing and drug usage – which anyone under 20 knows is common – is just the start of it. Why follow one law if you don’t follow another? Perhaps, moving forward with firm morality, and Christian values, is in your interests. Following Christian morality, according to some studies, indeed reduces criminal behaviour and encourages positive traits. The logical conclusion is that the Christian moral system should be the standard for behaviour in the future, and there is no better place to look to the future than the education of children, especially at home. Some teachers have expressed frustration at the lack of parents teaching their children to behave politely or morally, and the answer to this is the re-emergence of following Christian values being the norm.
A word I used in the previous paragraph was “dignity”, and inalienable human dignity is absolutely a Christian value. As it is Christian to hold up God highly, so too does it make sense to hold up other humans, who are made in the image of God, as having inherent dignity that should not be taken away, especially not because of race. The Golden Rule – do unto others what you would have them do to you – on how to treat others with dignity comes from Jesus’ teachings. In particular, the dignity of children is especially important, and this includes those who are yet to be born. Naturally, the Christian principle of human dignity extending to all humans leads to the controversial position that humans that have not been born yet have equal dignity too, and so ending life before birth is not a matter to take lightly. But human dignity is more than the love of unborn children. Human dignity extends to all people, both progressives and traditional conservatives. Many conservatives likely feel that many pro-censorship progressives could use a lesson in this, and that freedom of belief – an extension of dignity – extends to those who disagree.
Perhaps less popular among the conservative right, this human dignity extends to all people in prison and economic migrants. If we are to subscribe to the Christian principle of paternalism, the government has a duty to truly rehabilitate prisoners. Indeed, many cases of good Christians being made out of some of the most violent criminals exist, as anyone who has attended the Alpha Course can tell you. Likewise, while conservatives such as myself object to mass immigration and illegal migrants coming over the English Channel, policies to address these issues – especially the latter – must recognise their inalienable human dignity. How this is done is of course open to interpretation, and that is a good thing – these values must be broad enough to allow for healthy debate, but conservatives who wish to advocate for these principles must remember that the inalienable and universal qualities matter, especially in our image towards both opponents and potential voters. For the record and to reiterate, this doesn’t mean conservatives should not stop channel crossings or facilitate them; it means to stop it humanely.
Inalienable human dignity applies to all individuals, and this brings the reader to the principle of individual responsibility. This may be my Evangelical Protestant/Anglican bias showing, but recognising the uniqueness and individuality of each person is evident in the Bible. Each of us has a certain gift, and so each of us are responsible in different ways. From this, conservatives should draw on the idea of individual responsibility, tempered by some collective duty, which too is Biblical. In one sense, the principle of individual responsibility is tied in a complementary manner to valuing morality, as there is an emphasis on personal accountability as to how well you follow Christian morals. In other words, it’s holding yourself to certain standards. Practising self-restraint with behaviour, to act according to what is right and wrong, is an act of taking individual responsibility. This value in particular is hard to encourage politically because of how it is about influencing people’s mindset. People have to be convinced that the moral system they are holding themselves to account to is worth following, and this will bring about individual responsibility in regards to morality. This may come about naturally as a hypothetical government that has read this article and agreed wholeheartedly tries to implement these values, and people recognise the virtue in them. Individual responsibility is not very controversial among conservatives, so I’ll move on to the more controversial topic; collective responsibility to altruism and charity, and whether this means we ought to be socialists.
My initial plan was to list out every argument, every talking point and each verse for why Jesus would have voted for Jeremy Corbyn or endorsed Steve Baker as leader of the Conservative Party. Having read articles by Huffpost, various smaller magazines and academics, Forbes, the Christian Socialism Institute and a video from Novara Media I will attempt to summarise what each side said, in short, and what the truth likely is. The articles in favour of portraying Jesus as favouring left-leaning economics surprised me by quoting scripture far more often than those arguing the contrary. Their arguments rested on scripture criticising wealth, the pursuit of wealth and greed, praising giving up private property and of course, the comparison of a camel going through a haystack to a rich man entering the Kingdom of God.
From those against the idea Jesus was a socialist or economic progressive, almost every article started by saying socialism did not exist at the time of Jesus Christ, and most mentioned that Jesus was against coercive force. As taxes and government intervention is ultimately supported by coercive force, Jesus would have disapproved. Notably, it was said that helping the poor in a Biblical context has to be voluntary, and an act of charity, not an act of state-sponsored wealth redistribution. Talks of giving up private property were stated to be not an act of collectivisation, but strictly voluntary acts of altruism.
Forbes writer Bill Flax, his biases aside, reflect the view I concluded with very well by saying “I’m a capitalist and you might be socialists. Christians can be both, but Christ was neither. He was the Author and Finisher of faith”. As stated earlier on in this article, I am attempting to take religious texts and apply them to politics in the form of values/principles, so naturally there is friction between trying to translate commands over personal conduct into government policy. What leftists trying to say Jesus was a socialist get wrong is that Jesus did not call for mass wealth redistribution, but rather called for altruism and to reject the idea that wealth was important. He called for prioritising your spiritual self; to say He was calling for socialism would be to forget that Jesus is a religious figure with spiritual concerns. Likewise, what many capitalists get wrong is that Jesus had a strong concern for the poor, and strongly criticised the accumulation of wealth for wealth’s sake, and of course he encouraged giving to the poor. So, what Christian principle can one develop from this?
The final principle that one can infer from Biblical teaching is that the government must foster a community-orientated society that encourages individuals to believe strongly in charity and altruism, and care for their needy neighbours; the Christian principle of community-centred altruism. Government policy must not put GDP first. I am aware this talking point is almost painfully repeated among conservative internet personalities, but it is still an important truth. Economic growth is good when it leads to economic development; when economic growth leads to a higher quality of life. Further still, in balance, the government should respect private property as a means to generate wealth for society to benefit from, and so that private citizens can indeed be altruistic with their own wealth.
I often read calls for separation of church and state from people replying to GBNews tweets about how the Archbishop of Canterbury says this and that, and how religion should stay out of politics. I am reminded of how many Americans complain of inefficient government, and how their state should be reduced and further constrained, with powers further separated and devolved to make government less powerful. Except the reason why America’s political system is so inefficient is largely due to the separation of powers, the overbearing constraints on the executive and the culture that has come out of it. America needs a less restrained executive and civil service in order to produce better government. See Political Order and Political Decay for further details.
Similarly, conservatives in Britain should not call for the destruction of another ancient state institution, which would likely not return should we tear it off, such as the Church of England from its established role, on the grounds that it is too liberal. That would be exactly what progressive liberals want, as religion is often the best source of conservative, traditional morals and values. Rather, if the Archbishop of Canterbury focused more on the Gospel and Christianity, he would receive far much more praise from conservatives. Conservatives should seek to promote social conservatism within the Church of England, and make use of a fantastic vehicle for morality. It was only recently that the Prime Minister no longer had powers over appointing bishops in the Church of England, and the Prime Minister still has an influential say on who is picked to be Archbishop of Canterbury. If we in Britain are going to get our moral teachings from anywhere, would we want it from an institution that has existed in one form or another for over a thousand of years, or from the musings of self-appointed philosophers? Christianity guided Europe for over a millenia; rocking the foundations of our society, as we are right now, is not working out.
Numerous Members of Parliament have resigned from their seats or other parliamentary positions as of the date this article has been published, from Neil Parish to Christopher Pincher. One could argue that too many politicians no longer really believe in absolute morality, and certainly do not hold themselves responsible to a moral system. If politicians were more like Christ, espousing Christian values, surely this problem would be far less pronounced. We would have far less lies being told (lying is something that Jesus is not fond of) and greater dedication to serving the people; paternalistic love. Politicians holding themselves to account to a system of morality is something worth agitating for. If you are a member of a political party, you may want to only support candidates that discuss and hold themselves accountable to morality. Perhaps you can act as an example for others to follow, as Jesus Christ did, and follow Christian values. Maybe you could stand for elected office, or find work in government departments, and see the spread of Christian values in politics by your own work. The emphasis in all of this is that you should do something, big or small.
If we had the aforementioned Christian values put at the centre of public policy, with community, human dignity and paternalistic love in mind, Britain may well be better off, and the British people far more content with government. Such change will not happen without people being vocal or active about their concerns; A politician will not answer a question that he isn’t asked. People may sneer at you for defending Christian values publicly, but these people, and others, will sneer at you for almost anything. If there is no good answer to ‘Why not?’, then consider giving it a go.
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