The Problem With Wets | Luke Doherty
Life under lockdown has provided a golden opportunity to read, ruminate and refine. With so much time to think and reflect, one has been able to better articulate thoughts and ideas on a plethora of issues – something that has been extremely useful for contributing to this publication.
Many young social conservatives today lament the fact that there are so many socially liberal wets within the Conservative Party; and are agreed that we must do something to defend and promote social conservatism – and not just Thatcherite economic philosophy. It is true that there are many institutionalized frauds within the conservative movement: who masquerade as conservatives and secretly seek nothing more than to pull the whole notion of conservatism down. Alas, there is a painful lack of ideological commitment in some those who are interested in politics, and who have subsequently entered into the political arena.
Many more conservatives than we might have realized are involved in politics with a narrow understanding of conservative philosophy and have a limited range of ideas, if any at all. Instead, they blindly agree with a litany of issues the government advocates for or has achieved. We can all but conclude that the reality is there is a distinct lack of political principles that have been worked out, and are ready to be defended.
Perhaps we have experienced, personally or virtually, some of these insufferable and nauseating careerists within the Conservative Party: those who have no sense of public service or ideological conviction, but who are more than willing to climb the greasy pole. These are the self-serving and spineless creatures who look to exploit various gravy-trains with an august sense of entitlement and privilege.
We must pay some respect to the Old Left who stood for certain principles, as wrong as they are. But today, the liberal-left have no discernable principles at all. In the West, they appear embarrassed of our history, scornful of our achievements, and oblivious of our legacy. What is worse is that the Conservative Party once knew what it stood for, was proud of it’s beliefs, and was in tune with the deepest instincts of the British people. But now, those on the liberal-left can be found within our own ranks: small cogs within the party machine completely devoid of ideas.
I have argued before that we need to win the intellectual argument again, and make the case for conservatism. Often those securely on the right are bullied into aggression by those without principles or convictions, and who do not share a conciliatory nature. These people are unable to reason and debate, or negotiate, and set traps in which passionate believers in ideas can so easily fall.
For those of us who are certain of our position, and who are not quick to compromise, we must persuade people that our convictions are the right convictions. It is no point having them if we are not prepared to defend them and put them into action. Our convictions must be more than just maneuverings to get us through the problems of the day.
University campuses are the battleground for ideas, but where is the serious political talent outside of small clusters of engaged undergraduates? Political societies, whilst wielding minimal real political power, appear intellectually bankrupt. Too many who profess to be conservative are in reality, too slow to defend the freedom of speech and are not prepared to have the conversation on pertinent issues of the day, all because they are afraid of strong voices proposing ideas when they themselves have none.
Having ideas and instincts are hard to have and harder to defend. Thus, many choose to simply not have them at all. This is often because of how difficult it is to hold concrete views in public, and the total collapse of public discourse. Do young people today have the sort of mind that is capable to reflect on things and enjoy criticism – from whence all further understanding grows?
In the tenth year of the Conservative Party’s administration in Britain, we need to think very carefully about how we shall convince the electorate to vote for us again in the future. The issue of Brexit and ineptitude of Corbyn shall be over, and we cannot allow complacency to prevail. The Conservative Party does not have a Divine Right to Rule, and the pendulum will inevitably swing the other way and against us. Nevertheless, conservatives must be prepared to take to the streets and convince others of our position. Whether Boris is the right man with the right message is yet to be seen. He has a blank cheque for the next five years, and some of us are not as convinced as we ought that he will drive through the right policies.
For the natural conservative, it might be obvious that conservatism is an instinct. An instinct to hold on and preserve those things which we love, protect them from degradation and violence, and build our lives around them. These instincts prevail through our life, and are the solid basis upon which we stand in the real world. Let us have the confidence to keep on defending and promoting them.