Today's Conservative party has lost touch with what ought to be its core philosophy. To succeed, it should return to its Burkean roots with a focus on strengthening local communitiesby Thomas Maidment / November 22, 2018 / Leave a comment
The Conservative party has, over recent decades, fed the general public with ersatz principles.For most of us, politics has become recognisable as a matter of daily improvisation. Political principles have become secondary to individual opportunism and political flexibility.
However, the current public mood demands something different. Exhausted by Blairism and conscious of political spin, the public appetite demands candour, principle, and moral integrity from its political parties.
This presents a problem for today’s Conservative party. When an election is on the horizon, a party should not have to be defined solely by itsmanifestoand its current parliamentary lineup. Rather, it should be defined by a tacit and recognisable political philosophy that encapsulates both their aims and aspirations. For the Conservatives, however, it’s a philosophy that has been lost. The question is, can it ever return?
Conservatism is now broadly caricatured by most as primarily a defence of global capitalism: reducing all social ills and faults to problems that can only be solved by market forces. It is an ideology that seeks to reduce all it can to the financial deal; where the answer “it’s not for sale, at any price” is never satisfactory.
This is a view that has become mainstream among Conservative party politicians—and, indeed, a substantial amount of its support base. Buzzwords such as “prosperity,” “ambition” and “success” accurately define what the modern Conservative party believes it stands for, while simultaneously demonstrating why its underlining philosophy diverges from the roots of foundational conservatism. It stresses too much on financial gain and individual achievement, and not enough on community and culture.
Modern conservatism has become a blend of neoliberalism and libertarianism, though it remains tightly wrapped up in the disguise of a communitarian conservative. The mainstream party forwards a neoliberal agenda while simultaneously addressing their conservative constituents in the language communitarians tend to recognise: collective responsibility, stewardship, local identity, and social harmony. This is a slow drip-feeding of ersatz conservatism to ordinary people; providing them with the verbal reassurances they need while proposing and voting on legislation that takes power away from their local communities.
With anti-globalisation sentiment sweeping its way across the Western world, the current neoliberal consensus…