Britain’s New Conservatism – A Working Class Reaction
British conservatism has always had many factions. From the liberals and free marketeers, the paternalists and Disraeli conservatives, the social conservatives and so on. There factions have formed both within the British Conservative Party and without it as small-c conservatism, but no matter what faction British conservatives have belonged to, they have always united in common cause whenever British values were threatened. Now there’s a new faction, Britains new conservatism.
Britain’s new conservatism has rejected the supranational government of the EU
Burke reacted against what he saw as the destructive forces of the French Revolution; Pitt fought the tyranny of Napoleon; Disraeli rejected the urban capitalist system of the 19th century; Baldwin led Tory governments to successive victories in the 1920s and 30s as the populace feared the threat socialism posed to the British constitution; Thatcher and her supporters fought against the socialistic and nationalisation-oriented policies of the 40 years before her; and now a conservative movement has resoundingly rejected the supranational government of the EU. Perhaps most importantly it rejected freedom of movement.
For a long time, parties such as UKIP were decried by the establishment as being “populists”, failing to realise it seems, that populism is exactly what wins and loses debates, especially on issues such as the European Union which cause such polarisation. Brexit is nothing less than a populist revolution against a political establishment which has failed to recognise the concerns of its people for a very long time.
After months of being constantly guilt tripped into voting Remain, 52% of the British people voted to leave the EU, and most of our leading politicians, economists, businessmen, celebrities and bankers all failed spectacularly. The very parties which claimed to be standing up to big banks, big business and big politics, by lending their support to Remain, showed their true colours, and they were rejected by the people.
Populism is what Britains new conservatism used to win the EU Referendum
Brexit is truly the start of something: it is the start of a new kind of politics, where maybe the political elites and those on the left who oppose Brexit might begin to realise that calling people who have a different opinion to theirs “racist”, “xenophobic” and “Nazis” doesn’t work anymore – they are not arguments, and they don’t persuade people, if anything, they encourage people to oppose their politics even more.
Lord Ashcroft’s poll explains a lot:
As you can see, those who voted Leave overwhelmingly rejected multiculturalism, social liberalism, feminism, globalisation and immigration to name a few. In parliament these voters represent the fringes of politics. Apparantly they have no place in our society. It would appear they do.
Instead of being on the fridges, these voters are at the centre of the debate. Politics must now listen to them. It is quite ridiculous to suggest that the vast majority of these people who voted Leave are racists – Britain is not the country where its people hate other nationalities or think the state should only cater for white British people. Whilst there will always be some characters who do follow that agenda, to say that 17 million people do is quite frankly laughable.
Remain voters must accept defeat and move on
What we have here is a working class conservative revolution. Many of the people who have felt marginalised and rejected by society voted leave. Constantly being called “racist” for expressing concern about immigration and the effects it has on their communities. With even David Cameron now saying that Britain must be able to retain ties with Europe without freedom of movement, it seems that the result has sent a shock to a political system which was Waltzing around blind of the unrest among many of the communities which traditionally formed its support base.
So what to do about this new force in politics? Well, the screaming and shouting and demanding that we stay in the EU despite the referendum result doesn’t help. In fact, all it is doing is exacerbating already tender divisions in society. The referendum is over, it’s time to move on, roll up our sleeves and get working for Britain.
The leave campaign is not responsible for racism
I must admit that the media hasn’t helped this. Reporting increases in the number of cases of racial hatred and accusing Leave of “legitimising” racism. Racialism is not the responsibility of the leave campaign. A hand full of tweets does not reflect the national outlook. The number of cases of racial hatred reported over the weekend form a tiny fraction of leave campaigners. Chances are there are many non-voters in there too.
The worst thing we could possibly have now is a failure to leave the European Union. This musn’t occur. Britain must respect the result. No matter how many bitter young people feel aggrieved or shed tears outside Parliament screaming “vote it down”. If young people feel so bad about the result, perhaps more than 36% of them should have voted. Maybe they should also remember that they do not speak for every young person (28% of young people voted Leave).
But when we Leave, we need to use this as a chance to address the social strife that Britain has been facing for at least the past 10 years, and which seems to have gone unaddressed. When Benjamin Disraeli reformed the Conservative Party in the 1860s, he did so out of disgust at the conditions of the working poor, and the reluctance of the Liberal Party to address their rights, their standard of living and even their participation in democracy.
Britain must listen to the sidelined majority
Now that we know we will be free of the EU, we must change our politics like he did. We must listen to the working class. They have expressed a deeply conservative school of thought by their votes in this referendum. We cannot allow the current divisions in society to become fracturous. We must ensure that an immigration system we put in place includes integration programmes. We must include limits numbers so as to ensure cultural and economic sustainability. If we want a One Nation, cohesive society, we must start listening to the bread and butter of this country. People who the political establishment has sidelined for too long.
Conservatives, both in the national party and outside of it must go back to their roots. Once the Brexit battle ends, we must make a Conservative movement of the working class a reality. Not doing so would be further disregarding their concerns. These concerns have boiled over too long, and led to division in our country. This division I fear, if not mediated and addressed effectively, could lead to civil unrest of the worst kind.