It’s time to stop burying Conservative principles

By burying the principles of Conservatism over the past decade, our party has allowed itself to be tarnished by the opposition as selfish, greedy, and mean. We need to proudly make a positive case for Conservatism and win the battle of ideas, otherwise we will lose power completely

Treet
Dead and buried? Why are we avoiding Conservative values
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Clare George-Hilley
On 23 July 2017 20:40

Since joining the Conservative Party twenty years ago I have never known such despondency amongst party members. Even in the dark days of opposition under Tony Blair our party was still proud to stand up and fight for our values.

However, over the past decade our party slowly has buried Conservatism deeply, failing to explain why tax cuts can help businesses create jobs and spread prosperity, which is fundamental for a flourishing fair and equal society.

We need to shout loudly about the merits of Conservatism, and how, over the past decade, our policies have transformed education and welfare to help the disadvantaged.

Since the Conservative Party installed a Prime Minister into Downing Street in 2010, it has failed to stand up for its core values. This has allowed the opposition to tarnish us as selfish, greedy and mean. If we do not stand up for Conservatism and win the battle of ideas, I fear that we will lose power completely.

Under the ministerial leadership of Conservative stalwarts Iain Duncan-Smith and Michael Gove overall poverty has significantly reduced, unemployment has dramatically fallen, and many hundreds of failing schools have surpassed their private school counterparts resulting in 86 percent of children now attending a Good or Outstanding OFSTED ranked school.

However we never clearly communicate these Conservative success stories to voters. Instead, we choose to ignore them and try to imitate Labour policies, alienating our core support and weakening the Conservative brand.

This approach had catastrophic consequences in the 2017 General Election, leaving our party wounded and our members deeply disillusioned with the current leadership and direction of the party.

Indeed, why should people vote for us if we cannot bring ourselves to outline how a society delivers growth and aspiration through low taxation, individual freedom, and healthy competition?

I believe that the time has come to set out a positive vision for the future of the country and defend our strong record in government.

We have improved the life prospects for millions of people, unshackling low earners from paying income tax, the threshold for which was raised from £6,500 to £11,500, encouraging hundreds of thousands of people off welfare and into work.

Nowhere is our record stronger than in job creation with the current employment rate at 74.9 percent -- the highest since records began. The UK economy is now the fastest growing of all G7 countries and we have a bright future ahead.

As the party is going through an identity crisis, many members and commentators are urging the party to go further to the left in a bid to win over disillusioned Labour supporters, but recent u-turning on popular policies like the reintroduction of grammar schools will actually make this group of people not vote for us at all.

If Theresa May and her government lose their nerve and stop being Conservative then we will lose spectacularly in the next general election. So I urge every Conservative parliamentarian and activist to fly the flag for Conservatism everywhere.

Ultimately we need to explain why capitalism is the fairest system of economic governance and show how every citizen has and will flourish under Conservative principles and values.

This is how we will win the hearts and minds of voters, and a full majority at the next election.

Clare George-Hilley is Associate Editor at The Commentator, and Director at think tank Colloquium. @ClareHilley

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