Quote of the day 24th May 2023

Extracts from an article in yesterday's Times by William Hague.


“The reason conservatism has been such an enduring force for centuries is this readiness to adapt to social change in ways that give more people a stake in national success, to enlarge opportunity and thereby its own political support, and to promote an innovative economy while protecting people from abuse. Conservatism is more of an anti-ideology than it is an ideology itself, searching for what works in practice rather than fitting some universal theory."”

“Conservatism at its best rejects abstract theories while building on good habits. It constantly widens its sense of community — moving from its origins in the landed gentry to embrace business and commerce, from large property-owners to small ones, from a homogenous party to the one that has propelled Britain’s female or ethnic minority leaders to the top. It adapts by absorbing new liberal ideas in each generation and making them its own, as in David Cameron’s great statement: 'I don’t support gay marriage despite being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a Conservative.'


Referring to the conference staged in London last week by the Washington DC based Edmund Burke Foundation, which despite being an international event was titled "National Conservatism," William Hague went on to write:

“Watched from a distance in my case, it heard some good speeches and ideas, including on the increased importance of science and the role of government in promoting research and technology. But it also had the appearance of some people looking for an ideology when they would be better off not finding it. Conservatism endures when it instinctively shies away from polarisation and excessive certainty of views.”

He concluded:

“Above all, the greatest challenge for conservatism is how a political philosophy anchored in continuity, and learning from what actually works, can adapt to a world that is about to change at unprecedented speed. Today’s gambling habits — or eating habits, or social media habits — have developed so quickly that knowing how to protect people without heavy-handed or counter-productive intervention is not easy. The rise of AI is likely to change profoundly the nature of work, thought and society, yet any effective regulation of it is bound to need international agreements.

This week’s vexed political topic of record immigration is a good example of an issue changing at great speed and on a global scale. Every indicator of the future — political upheavals overseas, climate change, huge population growth in Africa — points to an age of mass migration in the coming years. National policies will matter but there will not be the slightest hope of controlling migration without strong international co-ordination.

If conservatism is to succeed for another generation, it will need all its pragmatism and adaptability, cultivating national strengths but in order to find international solutions. In finding them, ideology will not work and national identity will not be enough.”

 You can find the full article on The Times website by clicking on the link below:

Conservatives should beware of the dogma (thetimes.co.uk)

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