Monday, October 07, 2019

Matthew Parris: eight reasons why he is still a Conservative

A number of people have left the Conservative party in recent days and weeks for various reasons but mostly over Brexit.

One individual I with whom I was at university and who on many, probably most issues is one of the more right-wing people I know, and certainly well to the right of me on those issues has actually been encouraging people to vote Liberal Democrat in the hopes of stopping Brexit. An MP who was attempting to become Leader of the Conservative party a few months ago has joined the Liberal Democrats instead. He is one of several MPS elected as Conservatives who have crossed the floor to the Lib/Dems or "The Independent Group for Change" (as I think they are calling themselves this week) or become Independent.

Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in Momentum have, if we are willing to learn from it, provided an object lesson to Conservatives in how not to respond to differences of opinion and to such departures: telling anyone who won't parrot the Momentum line to "F*** off and join the Tories" does not look good from them: welcoming departures from the Conservative party will not make us look any better.

It is a tragedy for the country as well as the Labour party that this once great party is in grave danger of becoming an extremist political sect: it would be equally tragic for the  country as well as the Conservative party if we went down the same road.

Although I have agreed with very little that Matthew Parris has written about Brexit in the last three years, I very much welcome his excellent article in the Spectator,

"Eight reasons why I know I’m a Conservative."

In that article Matthew points out that Brexit is very far from being the only important issue facing Britain, and that it is entirely possible to agree with someone over Brexit but disagree with them about a whole host of issues, or vice versa, and that Brexit should not define our politics.

He lists eight reasons (two of which formed my "Quote of the day" earlier this morning) why he is Conservative and not a Lib/Dem, social democrat or socialist.

He concludes a well argued piece with the words

"When Brexit is over, these are among the differences with socialists and social democrats that will return to define our national political debates. I take the long view, and am not jumping ship."

I think this is a sensible and mature approach, and those sensible and mature Conservatives who don't take the same view as Matthew about Brexit will nevertheless regret the departure of those who have left us and remain as welcoming and friendly as possible to those who disagree with us but decide to stay.

Apart from anything else, to avoid the disaster for Britain of a Corbyn government we need to retain as many friends as we can.

You can read Matthew's eight reasons in full here.

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