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Conservative Party Conference 2016: The Verdict

Overall, this year’s Conservative Party Conference was a success. It was so wonderful to see the Conservative Party finally be united in support of Brexit. Guido Fawkes said it right when he said Theresa May’s Brexit speech was the speech many of us have hoped for decades to hear a Prime Minister make. My favourite speech, by far was Boris Johnson‘s “Global Britain” speech. It was brilliant and advocated what we at the Daily Globe believe in: a global United Kingdom that champions freedom, capitalism, and democracy, not just at home but abroad as well.

Boris however, though foreign secretary, is not the Prime Minister. Theresa May is. This article will show outline the positives and negatives of her proposals.

Positives

  • Brexit and the supremacy of British laws: The Daily Globe cheers Theresa May setting a date for invoking Article 50 and slamming the door shut on the last hopes of the Remainiacs. We likewise celebrate her making clear that the authority of Brussels, and European judges in Luxembourg, will end. The Great Repeal Bill to repeal the European Communities Act is the right thing to do and truly welcome for clarity of the sovereignty of the United Kingdom and its parliament. This is the a realisation of a dream many of us have long fought for.
  • Emphasis on the Union: Theresa May is absolutely right to attack “divisive nationalists” that are trying to break up the United Kingdom. She rightly understands why England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all essential for the United Kingdom to work and function as a great nation. The Daily Globe especially backs this sentiment as part of our Believe in Britain campaign.
  • “The Great Meritocracy”: This is exactly the kind of country the late Lady Thatcher wanted to create. Theresa May is exactly right when she emphasised how the United Kingdom’s success is only achieved through hard work. In her speech, the Prime Minister rightly said that Mrs. Thatcher taught Britain “we could dream great dreams again.” In a mertitocratic United Kingdom every should be able to fulfill their dreams by working hard.
  •  Grammar Schools: Mrs. May is right to reintroduce grammar schools, as Oliver Norgrove has written on this site. Selective education has allowed many to advance and do great things in life, including but not limited to Margaret Thatcher, Theresa May, one third of the current cabinet and even Jeremy Corbyn. It is a travesty that grammar schools are currently only available to students in affluent suburbs.
  • Celebrating Ordinary Britons: In what was quite possibly my favourite line from her overall conference speech the Prime Minister said: “Just listen to the way a lot of politicians and commentators talk about the public. They find your patriotism distasteful, your concerns about immigration parochial, your views about crime illiberal, your attachment to your job security inconvenient.They find the fact that more than seventeen million voters decided to leave the European Union simply bewildering.” It is very refreshing to finally have a Prime Minister who is on the side of ordinary Britons and not just simply trying to be seen as “dinner party acceptable” in London. As Sam Hooper pointed out, the liberal consensus never really existed in Britain- it was just believed by the Westminster bubble crowd of the Tony Blair and George Osbornes of the world. With May in charge, it looks as if liberal Londoners will not being dictating policy based off what is fashionable to them.
  • Labour is the nasty party: No truer words have been spoken about the shambolic Labour party. It is a party filled with hate now: hatred of Jews, Tories and those who disagree with their ultra-left worldview. And unlike when she said the Conservatives were unfairly viewed as the nasty party, May made it clear that Labour truly is nasty.
  • The emphasis on free trade and openness to the world: I am ecstatic that Theresa May and her three cabinet members want the United Kingdom to take back her place as the world’s leader in free trade. As Dan Hannan and Viscount Ridley have both written this week, there is no greater engine that creates prosperity better than free trade. With America and so many places turning protectionist, the UK being a world leader in free trade gives hope not just to Britain but to the whole world.
  • Exempting British soldiers from the European Convention on Human Rights: For too long, British soldiers have been hounded by, as the Prime Minister describes them, activist, left-wing human rights lawyers. The government is right to put an end to their witch hunt and to laud their bravery and sacrifice.
  • Her industrial strategy will not be about propping up failed companies or bringing old companies back from the dead: It is welcome news that the industrial strategy will be about targeting areas where Britain can succeed rather than protecting money-losing companies simply because they are British. This will show the world that the UK is not turning inward and protectionist: this was also shown when her government did not intervene to stop the takeover of ARM Holdings by Japanese Softbank. It is good that May’s government’s industrial strategy did not mean returning to the 1970s dystopia of funding British Leyland or British Rail. It is good that she stated unequivocally that Conservative Party “will always believe in free markets.”

Negatives

  • “Believing in the good government can do”: Ronald Reagan had a famous line that the worst words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I am here to help.” He said that because government more often than not creates more harm than good when it intervenes. Government spends the taxpayers’ money wastefully and often ends up costing people more of their hard earned money and time. Government also often looks for simplistic one-size fits all solutions when society is very complicated with millions of moving parts. Though the Prime Minister is right to point out the good done by Prime Ministers such as Disraeli, Churchill, and Thatcher in the past, she would be wise to remember much of what they did was use government surgically and often to the stop an overbearing state.
  • Emphasis on class is concerning: As stated earlier, Theresa May is right to stand up for ordinary Britons against sneering London-centric elites. However, emphasising too much class will seek to undermine the unity she seeks to foster in the United Kingdom by pitting people against each other.
  • Rejecting “the Libertarian Right”: It was unfair and frankly wrong of the Prime Minister to compare libertarians with socialists.  Libertarians want liberty for people, which should be the aim of any conservative government. Yes, libertarians are more extreme and uncompromising in their methods than Conservatives, but they are right to emphasise the free market and individual rights even if they are misguided when it comes to global security. Furthermore, though there is no socialist wing of the Conservative party, there are some who are libertarians- including the excellent Dan Hannan and Syed Kamall. Though it is seen as politically expedient to claim the centre ground, beware being dragged to the left in your greed to win more votes. Alex Morton had a excellent article about leading the common ground, rather than following to the centre ground, which the Prime Minster should read.
  • Creating a new right to broadband: How is that a right? Nobody has a right to a telephone, for instance. Creating fake “rights” falls into the left’s trap of entitlement and dilutes the importance of true rights.
  • Consumers and workers on company boards: Why should the government tell a corporation who can be on its board? If I build my business, say the Daily Globe, is it really fair that the government make one of our readers a board member? Government ill-thought-out regulations like this will only burden entrepreneurs and corporations. The last Conservative government took the very smart step to cut corporation tax to the lowest in the G20 and is part of the reason why the UK is the fastest growing economy in the G7 and has record employment. The government should be wary of interfering with business, especially in light of the two years of uncertainty that will accompany the two year Article 50 negotiating period. In her conference speech she said that the Conservatives will “always be the party of business.” It is important that the government act like it.
  • “Audit of public services to shine a light on racial disparities”: Though this is not a bad idea in itself- after all racism is a horrible scourge, there is much to worry about in the implementation of this idea. How much will this audit cost? Will this lead to racial quotas overriding candidates based on merit if it is found that there are not a desired amount of minorities working in government? If the government were to introduce racial quotas that would undermine the Prime Minister’s stated aim of a meritocratic society. Furthermore, quotas would be insulting to minorities by implying they can’t achieve a public service job on their own. With that being said, I am confident the Theresa May would not introduce racial quotas- she did not introduce all-female shortlists like Labour did when she was party chairwoman, but rather promoted and succeeded at recruiting well-qualified female Conservative MP candidates.
  • Going after tax accountants for tax avoidance: Tax accountants should not be punished for doing their duty to their client to save them money on tax. If a tax accountant is taking advantage of a government loophole it is the government’s job to close said loophole. An accountant can not be expected to guess what practices might be considered “avoidance.”
  • Naming companies that employ foreign workers: Good policy in intent, bad in practice. As long as the employee is being employed legally, what business of it is the government’s and the public’s whether they hire foreigners? A policy like this can only serve to make people unnecessarily angry at companies and chill foreign investment by making them worried about bringing their employees to Britain.

Overall, the Conservative party conference was a success. It was a celebration of Britain and of Brexit. However, some of the Prime Minister’s proposals were economically illiterate, which is concerning. Hopefully Philip Hammond, the self-made millionaire now Chancellor of the Exchequer, will follow Tim Montgomerie‘s advice and be financially prudent by resisting much of other spend-happy cabinet members extravagant projects and keep taxes low. After all, and as both Hammond and May acknowledged, the UK eventually needs to balance its budget. Progress made since 2010 is good, but not good enough. With that being said though, the Daily Globe is very optimistic about the coming May years- hopefully she lives up to her great start.

About Ted Yarbrough

Profile photo of Ted Yarbrough
Ted is the co-founder and editor of the Daily Globe. He is a long-time blogger on British politics and has written a thesis on Thatcherism. He is based in Dallas, Texas, USA.

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One comment

  1. Very true! Makes a change to see soneome spell it out like that. 🙂

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