The Silent Majority No Longer

This week it has emerged that the membership of the Conservative party is as low as 150,000. Some have suggested the membership has dipped lower than 100,000. This is a truly shocking for a major political party. The Labour Party’s membership stands at 500,000.

The historical peak of party membership was in the mid-1950s when the Conservatives boasted three million members to labour’s one million. Even in 1985, the Tories’ membership stood at one million, while Labour’s languished at just under 500,000.

The figures also suggest that Conservative party members are older than other parties, less savvy on social media and are frustrated by their lack of say on party policy.

I am rather torn on what to make of this. As I am emphatically a libertarian and not a conservative I welcome a decline in the Tories’ monopoly on pro-capitalist politics. It presents actual libertarians with a fabulous opportunity.

Yet the idea that there is no popular enthusiasm for right of centre ideas is deeply troubling.

Perhaps party members don’t even matter in the twenty-first century. But the conservatives have traditionally relied on the ‘silent’ majority for their core support. A party that doesn’t even have half the members of their nearest competitor can hardly claim to be the majority.

  10 comments for “The Silent Majority No Longer

  1. Paul Marks
    Jan 9, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Perhaps the problem is that Mrs May does not really represent pro freedom “right of centre of ideas” – the last manifesto was filled with weird language (similar to the Prime Ministers speeches – which, one must be honest, are truly awful from the point of view of the BELIEFS they express), what at least seemed to be actual HATRED for the pro freeedom beliefs of the membership of the Conservative Party. I doubt that Mrs May wrote this document, but she must have approved it – with its denoucing of voluntary action and its support for the philosophical effort to replace Civil Society with the State. “So why did you elect this lady?” – we did not elect the lady, we were not given a choice of candidates. Also the membership have no say over policy.

    This partly answers the question of why the membership is so low – no say over who is leader and no say over policy or even the philosophy (belief system) of policy. But there is also the matter that there are no conservative television or radio stations in this country – NONE (by law “broadcasting standards”) and that most of the schools and universities are dominated by collectivist ideas. Indeed Mrs May’s speeches denouncing what conservatives and classical liberals have traditonally believed (going back to Mrs Thatcher and the “Old Whig” Edmund Burke and so on) are not from her own head – they were what the lady was taught at school (and at Church?) and university. The Sword of State is there not defend the Realm – the state is there to make a “country that works for everyone” cradle-to-grave statism, shaping society and providing X,Y, Z.

    If one takes such thinking to its logical conclusion one arrives at Comrade Jeremy Corbyn – which is why the Prime Minister (although a reasonably good debater) can not really refute Comrade Corbyn, because the lady has been taught to believe (or half believe) the same collectivist philosophy. Even such things as Freedom of Speech are not held to – the words “Social Justice” (state control of society) and “Hate Speech” (banning speech that the rulers do not like) just come out of the mouths of Mrs May and her supporters, not because they are evil people (they are not evil people) – but because of what they were taught.

    Take the example of the American Bill of Rights – based upon Old Whig thinking of the British Bill of Rights (indeed, in spirit, going all the way back to the Great Charter of 1215 and long before).

    Libertarians tend to concentrate on the Tenth Amendment (limiting what the Federal Government can spend money on and impose laws on – essentially overturned by intellectually corrupt judges in the 1930s who pretended that “the common defence and general welfare”, the PURPOSE of the specific spending powers granted to the Congress by Ariticle One, Section Eight, is a catch-all “general welfare spending power”) and the Ninth Amendment – which provides the Natual Law (objective and universal moral principles – not subject to place or “historical period”) background of the Constitution.

    But even the 1st and 2nd Amendments (perfectly normal to American Republicans – even today) would be considered evil “Hate Speech” in Britain – think about that, we live in a country where even the 1st and 2nd Amendments of the Bill of Rights (Freedom of Religion and of Speech and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms) are outside respectable discusssion – ineed to believe in even the 1st or 2nd Amendments indicates that someone is a Thought Criminal in this country, it really does. The United Kingdom is not yet a totalitarian country – but the philosophy (belief system) taught by the schools and universities, and which rules the television and radio (without challenge – by law) is totaltarian.

    It would be wonderful if the 9th and 10th Amendment were respected in the United States – as the vast majority of what the Federal Government does would be overturned (the 9th Amendment of course also applies to the State and local governments – and did, in philosophical principle, even before the passing of the 14th Amendment), but we do not even have the 1st and 2nd Amendments. Indeed to believe in these principles indicates that one is an “extremist” or a “lunatic” here – ask the Prime Minister.

    • Jan 11, 2018 at 7:37 pm

      True, I am always confused why libertarians sometimes side with the conservatives. Perhaps it is pragmatism. All the more need for an alternative!

      • Paul Marks
        Jan 16, 2018 at 11:11 pm

        “I am always confused why libertarians sometimes side with the conservatives”.

        For more than century the Conservatives have stood for lower taxes and less government spending and regulations than the people who call themselves “liberals”.

        That is the answer to your question.

        Even Mrs May’s statist hero Joseph Chamberlain never described himself as a Conservative – and he was a leading Liberal when he produced the Radical Manifesto in Birmingham in 1865.

        In my home town of Kettering in the 19th century the Liberals stood for state education, a local government (as opposed to just the Church Vestry), banning booze and even land nationalization.

        So had I been born even a century before I was, why would I have been a Liberal Jordan Lee?

        On all the great issues of my own home town I would have been a Kettering Tory even in the late 19th century.

        • Jan 17, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          I do take your point that (some) conservatives have been staunch defenders of freedom and individual liberty. But I do believe that the current alignment between conservatives and classical liberals has been a marriage of convenience rather than a genuine meeting of minds.

          In fact, I would go further, I am inclined to believe that being seen as part of the ‘right wing big tent’ has done long-term damage to the liberal cause.

          As for Kettering I cannot say, the 19th century liberals of Kettering do sound like a miserable bunch. Perhaps being a tory, in that case, would be the best bet.

          • Paul Marks
            Jan 18, 2018 at 7:21 am

            Well “right” and “left” come from the French Revolution – I am no fan of Louis XVI, but I regard the Revolutionaries as even worse, even by 1790 it was clear they stood for fiat money (rather than gold) and massive land THEFT and (of course) just-plain-murder.

            So that puts me on “the right” in the context of the time – as the question was “are you in support of the French Revolution or against it” and I am in the “against” camp. BUT I get your point – being associated with a fool (Louis XVI) utterly unfit for his position, and being associated with an “Ancient Regime” dominated by endless regulations (government restrictive practices) and government backerd guilds is NOT where I want to be Jordan Lee.

            I remain an unrepentant “Old Whig” like Edmunde Burke or (decades before) Chief Justice Sir John Holt (Chief Justice from 1689 to 1710), in the days of Holt (and others) the terms “left” and “right” had no political meaning – indeed as late as the Constitution of New Hampshire of 1784 they had no political meaning. One was for liberty or for submission – and I am for liberty. Individual liverty and the liberty of voluntary associations (including churches). “Right” and “left” did not come into the matter.

  2. Jan 10, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    My worry is that the Tories will be replaced not by something libertarian, but by an alt-right ultra-nationalist and economically centrist outfit. This is the ‘new right’ that is emerging, the Toddler Right – and it’s just as unhinged as the Toddler Left in its own way.

  3. Bill Thompson
    Jan 10, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Why would a conservative vote for the Conservative Party? It seems to me that there’s a culture war going on, and the tories are standing idly by as the crazy left rampage through the institutions, including their own party. Take this story for instance:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5252471/Top-grammar-school-bans-calling-pupils-girls.html

    This is the kind of lunacy that one might expect under a Labour government. The question arises: How are the Tories any different than Labour? What’s the point, as a conservative, of voting Tory if they allow the kind of hardcore leftists who push this stuff to carry on vandalising our civil society? The same applies to law and order and our military and all down the line of key issues conservatives care about.

    I recognise libertarians often don’t care about the same things, but if you want liberty you need the rule of law in my view.

    As for Daz Pearce’s point about an “alt-right ultra-nationalist and economically centrist outfit”, I don’t see any prospect that such views will gain a lot of support, at least not from conservatives.

    • Jan 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm

      Noted – typical conservatives won’t but a lot of socially reactionary/conservative working class people will go in for it – hence they have moved away from the ‘free market’ end of the economic argument. It’s clear the Tories are dying and there are three options as to who will take their place on the right:-

      1) Libertarians (or a mainstreamish version).
      2) another small c conservative party
      3) some Nationalist rag-tag-bobtail outfit

      I think option 1 is easily the least likely in the current climate, it’s between 2 and 3.

      • Paul Marks
        Jan 16, 2018 at 11:33 pm

        Working class Conservatives are quite happy about the free market Daz Pearce – I should know as I am writing this from a council estate and have worked in menial jobs all my life. I can assure you that the people I know do not want higher taxes and more government spending and regulations.

        What we find enraging about the party presently is its LACK of commitment to capitalism – and its demented copying of the left on cultural (Frankfurt School of Marxism and French Post Modernism) stuff – if we keep being lectured on “racism”, “sexism” and “homophobia” we make actually become racist, sexist and homophobic, just to bleeping spite the establishment elite, stick two fingers up to them.

    • Paul Marks
      Jan 16, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      The leftist domination of the education system has, yes Bill Thomson, saturated many (not all – but many) British Conservatives – they declare they are in favour of “Social Justice” and even parrot the language of the Frankfurt School of Marxism (in terrible confusion).

      American Republicans, for all their many and real faults, are not so utterly dominated by the ideas of their enemies. American Republicans do NOT tend to assume that what the school teachers and university professors (and television talking heads) say, is correct.

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