Over the past year or so we have seen some interesting divisions in those people who either vote Conservative or are members of the Conservative party. A distinct division between those who are socially conservative people who want to preserve the social norm and those conservatives who are socially liberal. One that I think has come to the front heavily on the equal marriage debate.
Now on this issue David Cameron has said he supports this issue because it is a conservative issue, and I have to whole heartedly agree with him on this. Such a reform is typical of the previous great Conservative leaders of the past. This is why when I look around at what is being said by some people, I think that some Conservatives have lost their way. They have become literalists in the name thinking that to be a good Conservative you have to conserve what we have and change should only happen if it is totally needed.
To them I say poppy cock, if we look at the history of our party we can see vast swathes of social reform instigated not preservation of the norm we see the forming and forging of great ideas of progress, liberty and opportunity for all.
Let’s start with Sir Robert Peel, who as Home Secretary prior to becoming Prime Minister completely reformed the statute books having a bonfire of laws and replacing them with more simple easy to understand laws. Then going on, as Prime Minister, to introduce the Factory Act’s which limited the times that women and children could be made to work. The Railway Regulation act, the repeal of the Corn Laws. All great social changes to improve the lives of everyday people.
Then we have The Earl of Derby, who without his Jews’ Relief Act we wouldn’t have had Benjamin Disraeli as he wouldn’t have been allowed to have been an MP in the first place. Who’s work was hugely socially reforming the Chimney Sweepers Act, the Public Health Act and Artisans’ and Labourers’ Dwellings Improvement Act.
Who lead on to the Marquess of Salisbury, with his introduction of Local Government, the Prevention of Cruelty to, and Protection of, Children Act and hugely the Free Education Act 1891 which ensured that all children received a free primary education. Then finally the Workmen’s Compensation Act, which ensured that if someone was injured at work they would receive recompense for it.
Then we have Stanley Baldwin and his enfranchisement of women over the age of 21, one of the biggest social changes in democratic terms the UK has seen. Then Churchill who set up the Council of Europe and gave people the ability to access redress for violations of their Human Rights. Thatcher with her Right to buy, Major with his Citizen’s Charter. Plus many many more huge social reforms I could mention.
I look around today and I see Conservatives calling for preservation of the here and now for the restriction of liberty and equality for all people and I feel that these people have lost what it means to be a true Conservative. To see a social inequality and want to fix it to rectify that bit of injustice in the world; this is what it is to be a Conservative not to want to preserve the here and now. But to want to make this nation a better place for all who live here.
That is why David Cameron is absolutely spot on when it comes to marriage equality. So next time there is a social issue being debated think “is this change going to improve the lives and liberty of people” and if the answer is yes then to support it is the Conservative thing to do.
Of late all you have really heard from the Labour party and the left in general is complaints about reforms to the NHS, which are long overdue. They have done as much scaremongering as they possibly can about how the NHS will change in to some American System and if you can’t afford to pay then you will basically die in the streets.
However if we cast our minds back to 2010, the Labour party themselves were saying that reform was needed and that bringing in private companies to the NHS would benefit the system and make it better for everyone. Yet now in opposition they apparently just want to oppose everything that is being done, regardless if it’s needed or will benefit society.
Anyhow back to the point, the NHS I think everyone approves of and likes; and its always the corner stone of any general election campaign. As you can win over some swing voters by saying you’ll pump in x many millions of pounds to cancer treatment or maternity care.
However come 2015, the Labour party have put themselves in a very tight corner. For them to be able to legitimately use the NHS as a campaigning tool, there is only one situation that they will be able to legitimately use; and that is that the NHS is in a worse situation than it is now be that patient care has got worse or its costing a lot more money to operate the NHS than now with increased bureaucracy. If the changes do very little and its much about the same as it is now, then they have no grounds if the NHS is more efficient and treats patients quicker, patients are happier or it saves money then they have shot themselves in the foot.
The point of an opposition party is to oppose things that are bad for the country, where as the NHS reform is much needed. However Labour seem to think that they can win votes by just opposing everything the government does which will win them the hard-line socialist vote who are inherently opposed to any Conservative policy, which they already have. Their other policies are either about as coherent as a very drunk person or as easy to find as a needle in a haystack.
As a person interested in politics I find the Labour position bemusing at best and confusing at worst. As a member of society I am shocked especially at their stance on the NHS, as it’s almost as if they are willing the NHS to get worse in that people are suffering more, waiting longer and in some cases dyeing when they didn’t need to; that stance to me I find particularly abhorrent. As a conservative I encompasses all of those points, however although there is a sense of inevitability of the result of the next general election I think we need to tread carefully as a Conservative majority is ours to lose at this point and we need to keep highlighting the inherent flaws that permeate through the current opposition that we face.