Fratricide in the Tory Ranks

It is no secret that The Conservative party is quietly tearing itself apart at the moment. The Brexit referendum, partly conceived to heal a chronic rift in the Tory ranks has deepened divisions. 

Theresa May’s party is beset by problems. The last thing she needs is open hostilities between Conservative MPs. But this is Mrs May’s lot. 

One of the stranger consequences of this instability is the idea that it presents an opportunity for liberty-minded folk. So-called champions of freedom like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove and Daniel Hannon are supposed to be a good thing for libertarians. 

The Conservative party have an almost admirable history of fierce intrigue and backstabbing. John Major springs to mind. This quality is the party’s biggest weakness and it’s most profound strength. It has a knack for survival no matter what the odds are. This time is no different. 

The sad reality is that the likes of Mr Mogg and Mr Gove are not liberals. They are conservatives. The Tories have embraced many creeds over the years but libertarianism is not one of them. 

The problem for libertarians is that at times Conservative MPs can sound like allies. But they are not, being closely aligned with them has never been a successful strategy for libertarians. 

So you will excuse me if I do not pick a side in the Tory civil war. 

  5 comments for “Fratricide in the Tory Ranks

  1. Paul Marks
    Feb 27, 2018 at 12:19 am

    I think you should pick the smaller government side against the bigger government side.

    There is a vast difference between an Old Whig such as Edmund Burke or Jacob Rees Mogg, and a “Social Justice” type such as Edward Heath or Theresa May.

    As for the European Union – the vast majority of people who actually vote Conservative are “Leave” people, so it makes no sense for some Conservative Members of Parliament to be “Remain” people, or to not tell us how they would vote in a referendum to leave the European Union.

    By the way – we had a referendum to leave the European Union in 2016, why are we still in it two years later Prime Minister? And why have you offered them 40 Billion (Billion) Pounds, when legally we owe them nothing at all?

  2. Ken Ferguson
    Feb 27, 2018 at 5:31 pm

    The sad reality is that the likes of Mr Mogg and Mr Gove are not liberals. They are conservatives.

    They are fiscal conservatives which is also a characteristic of libertarians. They believe in the operation of market forces free from government or supra national regulation.

    More difficult to tell whether they are social liberals- the other characteristic of libertarians however Mogg, at least, shows a refreshing belief in free speech. Dan Hannan is as close to a libertarian as any politician is ever likely to be.

    As Paul says, they are much preferable to the alternatives.

    • Mar 1, 2018 at 5:54 pm

      I understand where you are coming from but I have never been a big fan of the ‘better of two evils argument’.

      Libertarianism should be a much bigger force in our political landscape than it currently is. Part of the reason for this (in my opinion) is that libertarians ally themselves with conservatives, and get forgotten about once they are in power.

  3. Mar 1, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    There is something called the Conservatives for Liberty. I think perhaps they disagree with your analysis Jordan. We should probably be inviting them along to the pub to talk this over.

    • Mar 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      I am aware of them. Personally, I would regard ‘Conservatives for Liberty’ as a contradiction in terms. But I am always happy to build bridges…

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