Saturday, June 24, 2006

"You're an intelligent chap Ben, why do you vote Conservative?"

I used to get this all the time from a friend of mine, who supported Labour.

Well one night before the May 2005 general election I sat down and explained lots of areas of conservative party policy to him and another "New Labour" friend, and they all agreed the policies were good.

So I think the question says more about the person asking it than me.

I have always voted Conservative in national and local elections. During the 2005 general election I was hoping (against all the evidence) for a conservative win. I had read all the policy documents I could find, and had no problem getting people behind the policy. I then saw Tim Yeo on Newsnight talking about the environment and nuclear power. It seemed he had not read the policy document at all. This made me angry. I emailed the party to say that if they did not pull their finger out and win the election, then I would join and give them all a good kick up the A....

Well I have. I joined around the 15th of May 2005 and have since been to a few meetings.

So why a Conservative?

Well, it's all down to what you believe, and to some extent in what order of priority. I believe:

  1. In the rights (and responsibilities) of the individual.
  2. In The rule of law.
  3. That the individual is best placed to make their own decisions.
  4. That the individual has the right to make their own mistakes.
  5. The right to create wealth.
I suppose the obvious question is "Why believe that?"

Well, any unit larger than the individual is made up of individuals. In law all sorts of non persons are treated as individual persons, for example a company is an individual person at law.

Given that, individuals need rights and protection from each other. A person doing work needs the right to get paid for it and the person who is paying for the work needs the right to expect it to be carried out to a good standard.

Individuals are better placed to know what they want to achieve, what makes them happy and what is for them a fulfilling life. This means giving people choices.

When making choices we make mistakes. "The man who has never made a mistake has never done anything." Furthermore what may be a mistake to you may be my deliberate choice as an adult.

I think the last point is obvious. Everyone should have the right to generate their own wealth and provide for themselves.

So what are conservative party values?

Well, on the conservative party web site there is an article titled built to last
which starts with these two paragraphs:
"Our enduring values mean we believe in trusting people, sharing responsibility, championing freedom and supporting the institutions and culture we share as one nation.

Conservatives are not ideologues. That is why in each generation we change, applying our values to new challenges."

Well it seems to me to close enough.

The next question will be why not any of the other parties, and perhaps I will post another article on that another day!


Tabman said...

Ben - you're an intelligent chap.

I believe in those 5 things too, and I'm a Liberal.

You'll have to try harder ...

Benedict White said...

Well, I will, in that I will explain why I am not in any of the other parties.

Might be a couple of days while I write the next post though!

Cicero said...

Well, blow me down, Tabman is right- you really are a Liberal!

Keep up the good work- although I am pretty sure that you will get pretty ticked off by the the "cornerstone tendancy"- extreme social Conservatism (and anti-Liberalism) amongst the Tories.

Next time Tabbers is in town, let's meet for a beer and we can agree with each other for three hours!

Are you close to the City?

Benedict White said...

Hi Cicero, I think tabbers and i are discussing social conservatism etc. under my latest post, where perhaps I look a little less liberal.

I do live nearish to London, About 50 minutes on the train. (I live near Haywards Heath)

Anonymous said...

Poor as a church mouse and votes Tory. You've certainly lost the plot.

Benedict White said...

Anonymous, How exactly have you established that I am as poor as a church mouse, or that voting tory would not be in the best interest of said church mouse?

Anonymous said...

I think that the issue here is the extent to which you hold these views; after all the Tories these days are basically classically liberal in their ideologies. Would you say, for example that people have the right to generate their own wealth at gross cost to others, or would you hold the view that the disadvantaged in society must be helped by those rather more fortunate? The first viewpoint is of course classically liberal, and the second proressively liberal.

Benedict White said...

The short answer is that Conservatives are not ideologicaly anything. People are far more complex than ideologies allow for.

Liberal economics works in producing wealth, however we do feel that it is important to do other things.

As for being progresive I have no idea what exactly you mean by that. As a comservative I do not believe that redistributing wealth is a valid aim in and of itself. The aim is to enable people to better themselves as that seems to work. To that end the Consevative party introduced universal primary education in the 19th century. We also were in part responsible for the education act 1944, and indeed teh framework for the NHS.

So in that semse trying to pigion hole us with an ideology is not helpful.