Please note a version of David Hannay’s letter will appear in the winter double issue
A new political home
Gaby Hinsliff’s article on “The end of the liberal Tory” (November) explores the issue in great depth. But we have to ask: what is liberal conservatism and what does it represent?
The values that drew me to the Conservative Party over two decades ago were a firm belief in liberal democracy, including the rule of law and property rights; cherishing the Union; and economic pragmatism, being pro-business and pro-endeavour.
This government’s approach to Brexit is taking an axe to these principles—the very principles that made the Conservative Party the most successful political force the world has ever seen.
The reality is that the Conservatives have become an English nationalist party, willing to throw the Union, the economy and our institutions into the fire in pursuit of ideological purity.
That is why I had to vote with my conscience against a damaging no-deal Brexit and all that entailed, for which I had the whip removed. This sums up what has become of the Conservatives—and why I now feel more at home elsewhere.
Sam Gyimah, Liberal Democrat candidate for Kensington
Gaby Hinsliff ’s analysis of the conversion of the Conservative Party from “broad church” to narrower ideological force is very good.
A paradox of current UK politics is that while voters’ loyalty to the main parties has been declining for decades, so their memberships have recently moved in the opposite direction—to be more loyal and more ideological.
Normally one party would move to fill the gap in the centre ground. But with both moving to extreme positions the exit of centrist members is bound to increase. Neither the two main parties nor the electoral system designed for their convenience will survive very long if this dynamic continues.
Colin Talbot, University of Manchester
Bureaucracy of bigotry
Amelia Gentleman’s article (“The Go Home Office,” November) reminds us of the cruelty of the Windrush scandal. As a diplomat, I observed mixed-nationality families avoid applying for British citizenship for their children, even where their right was unambiguous, because of the Home Office’s “reject first, concede on appeal” approach.
I became painfully aware of this when my own son was refused a British passport at a time when I was in fact a British ambassador. For those like me, with connections and resources, this…