Conservatism must rediscover a moral message to succeed

Jun 15, 2017 by

by Laura Perrins, TCW:

The rot in the Tory Party goes deep. The Labour Party now have 600,000 members, whereas the Conservatives have 150,000 as of 2014.

[…] Some people think it is morally right to tax people and redistribute it to someone else under state coercion, and others think it is morally wrong to do this excessively as it crushes liberty and personal responsibility. In other words, it is bad for both the person whose labour is confiscated (obviously) but also for the recipients, as it destroys their dignity by receiving something they have not earned.

However, I believe redistribution tied to work can be justified in some circumstances. All European states have some form of redistribution and the UK is no different. I don’t believe it is imperative for the Conservatives to oppose all redistribution, as there is a Christian duty to help those less fortunate to you. Therefore, the move towards tying benefits to work was a morally worthwhile one. This was IDS’s vision and it is why it had such huge public support.

Conservatives should, of course, make the moral case for low taxation – families are best placed to spend the fruits of their labour – not the State. It is indeed draconian, nasty and authoritarian to suggest otherwise, as the Left wants.

Finally, we need to see a return to social conservatism. It is foolish to think social conservatism can be separated from economic conservatism; the two are interdependent as we have explained time and again.

It is morally wrong, for instance, not to advocate and explain that marriage is the best protector for children and improving marriage rates would improve social mobility. This is different to moralising and it is worth pointing out that the elite – especially the elite on the left – get married and for good reason. So if we look at what they do and not what they say, we can see the elite get married because it is in their child’s best interests. What is morally wrong is for the Left and the modernisers in the Conservative Party to hoard that privilege for their own kids.

It is morally wrong, for instance, to set up a tax, benefit and childcare system that forces mothers of young children to use childcare when they don’t want to. I think separating mothers from their toddlers is pretty nasty so the system should be neutral and left for families to decide.

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