Many a reader are probably asking what it is I am proposing. Is this obscure writer on this site one has barely heard of calling for a right-wing revolt or coup? To answer those concerned readers, no I am not. Nor am I calling for any kind of importation of any American tea party populism. No, rather what I am proposing is through grass-roots action taking the levers of influence in this country from the left. The reason for taking back control of UK culture is to ensure the United Kingdom’s great history is not forgotten, that the country has a future as a global force for good, and that future generations continue to live in a free society.
The United Kingdom remains a free and independent nation largely because the left is so incompetent as an electoral force. Despite the success of the largely unideological monstrosity that was New Labour, a truly socialist platform has not prevailed in a UK-wide election since Harold Wilson in 1974. There are two reasons why hard-left socialists remain incapable of victory: 1) there ideas were proved literally bankrupt in the 1970s and 2) as Sam Hooper brilliantly pointed out yesterday, Great Britain is, by and large, a (“small c”) conservative country. The Tories being the natural party of government is not going to change with the sad car crash of Corbyn-Momentum Labour. With that being said however, the left has been able to gain electoral power outside the ballot box.
Because of the stubborn conservatism of the British electorate, the left in Britain decided to takeover other institutions to create a society more in their image. Some of the soft-metropolitan left (and corporate metropolitan right for that matter) had hoped that the European Union would simply overrule the plebs by decreeing directive after directive from Brussels that would neutralise the votes of the British electorate to point of making British democracy irrelevant so that they could rightfully rule for Islington. Those people were short sighted and are frankly buffoons (think the Tim Farrons, Nicky Morgans and Milibands of the world). However, the hard left, by their hard work, has made much greater strides in over time changing Britain because they focus their energy on the future.
Those on the hard left are in an almost perverse way admirable in their dedication to their cause. They work hard and will deal with set-back after set-back in order to achieve their New Jerusalem. Unlike the right or the soft left, the hard left believes in fighting at the grass roots and that means changing and molding minds not just at election time. Primarily, the left bases their success on taking over three main areas: the media, education and popular culture in general. In this they have been enormously successful with the young.
It is not an accident that the young people voted both overwhelmingly for remaining in the European Union and for Scotland leaving the United Kingdom. It is no accident that a third of students don’t know who Winston Churchill is let alone other historical figures that generations ago every school child in Britain knew. It is not an accident that luvvies are by and large the most fanatically pro-EU people in the country and wanted to quash freedom of the press with their group Hacked Off. And it is not an accident that university students and professors attempt to silence free speech on campuses with trigger warnings, speech codes, and safe spaces. The left took over the BBC, the artistic community, schools and universities precisely to mold future generations into creating a Britain that not only a Briton of 100 years ago wouldn’t recognise, but that even Britons today would find a foreign country.
If the hard left wins the “culture wars” it will eventually win control over the whole country democratically- even long after the Corbyns of the world are six feet under. If they win free speech will be gone and political correctness will be the iron law of the land. Conservative newspapers will be silenced. If they win Scotland will have left the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland might be gone too. And whatever rubble remains of the disunited Republic of England and Wales will prostrate itself to the world apologising for the British Empire- the institution that brought the world liberty, parliamentary democracy, capitalism, stopped tyrannies from Philip II to Hitler, and abolished slavery and the slave trade. We conservatives and libertarians- and all those others who are patriotic- must fight back and win the culture wars. Here is how I propose we do it:
I. Take Control of the Conservative Party
The Conservative Party has been an enormous force for good in human history. It has been elected because it has always been a big tent party that reflects the views of ordinary Britons and balances those who are moderate with those who are very conservative. This Tory coalition has been very successful. Take the EU referendum for instance. The leader of the party reflected the will of the party and gave the people a say on membership in the European Union. He and his allies (which included a slight majority of the parliamentary party) fought fanatically for Remain. But the leaders of the Leave campaign were also Conservatives and ultimately the Conservative vote going so overwhelmingly for Leave is what probably what tipped the vote to a Leave win.Ultimately the referendum showed what a good coalition the Conservative party is. However, just because the Conservative coalition is currently working well does not mean that Conservative supporters can be complacent.
Just as the Conservative party has a history of doing enormous good, it also can be ineffectual and sometimes harmful. Thatcher recognised the Heath-led Conservatives were weak and not beneficial to the nation and she took control of the party and ultimately saved the country. Now I do not think the Conservatives are currently in the state they were under Heath, and I am actually quite happy with the performance of May so far. But the point is, as I wrote back in February, the referendum was an opportunity to use the Conservative party for good. Those of us on the right should use Brexit as a way to push out the Ken Clarkes and Anna Soubrys of the party. As remain supporting former party leader William Hague wrote, the Conservatives are all Leavers now. We must make sure they remain so.
How do we keep the Conservative party as a force for good in British politics going forward? How do assure that the government does all it can with the likely decade or more it is likely to have in power? I would argue the solution is three fold.
First, all those who are on the right or who are libertarians or just generally patriotic should join their local Conservative association. Pressure your MP to vote like other great Tory MPs: like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Penny Mourdant or Priti Patel. I would further encourage all UKIPers to join the Conservative party as well. Farage had talked about having UKIP morph into a pressure group after the referendum- why not after the referendum victory participate in the ruling party? This is not to say be purist, uncompromising and be like a right-wing Momentum, but rather people should lobby MPs to back liberty and British values. Secondly, support good pressure groups within the party.
Finally and obviously, campaign to make sure that the Conservative party wins elections in order to deny the left the levers of government power.
II. Take Control in the Educational System
Toby Young recently wrote that David Cameron’s greatest legacy will be free schools. Whether that is truly his best achievement or not, what the policy did was to offer control to families to have choice in education. Free schools allow parents choice to mold their children’s education to their liking and not be beholden to a top-down state monolith. This policy has proven an enormous success in terms of improving academics.
However, the success of free schools is not just limited to improving academic performance. What they do is offer ordinary people is an ability to take control of their children’s education from what the brilliant former education secretary Michael Gove called the education “blob.” Free schools offer a perfect example of a way to instill British values, patriotism, and knowledge of history. The left knows that and are petrified of educational choice.
As Theresa May astutely pointed out during Prime Minister’s Questions when she was rebuked by grammar school educated Jeremy Corbyn about the lack of experts backing her grammar school agenda, he and the Labour party have opposed every single change to education the Conservatives have introduced to education, even though they have benefited pupils. Why the opposition? Because the more free schools get- whether to form their own curriculum, accept mainly student from their own faith, or select based on academic ability- the less children will be captive to indoctrination.
Taking control of universities is further important to making sure that British future leaders will be good for the country. The totalitarian rabble that compose the NUS are obviously not people we want within 100 miles of Westminster. However, bright and patriotic students should have our full backing. I am proud to say that the Daily Globe has published brilliant young students such as Oliver Norgrove, Hani Mustafa, Elena Attfield, Alex Kelly and Alex Illingworth and hope to continue to do so going forward. But we must do more than that. We must back great groups like Versa at Oxford that go against the left-wing educational establishment. We must encourage bright young people to become teachers and professors and to write books and papers. We must fight to make sure the left’s strangle hold of academia is broken.
III. Take Control in Popular Culture
The left’s media dominance largely comes from the BBC. Being that the BBC is supposed to be impartial, constant complaining to Ofcom and your MP, as well as support for private media outlets, will dilute the BBC’s dominance. Theresa May has shown with the sacking of the BBC chief Rona Fairhead that she does not have the reverence for the BBC that her predecessors have had. We must use that to our advantage. However, we must not stop with the BBC.
The market has shown that right wing media outlets perform better than their left-wing counterparts. Notice that The Spectator, Sun and Daily Mail are enjoying enormous success while The Independent no longer prints and The Guardian is encountering record losses and is laying off staff. However, to counterbalance the dominance of the BBC and the conventionality of some right wing outlets like The Telegraph and The Times we would encourage readers to support internet publications like us at the Daily Globe, works by independent bloggers, or the excellent work done at Spiked. With social media we have the freedom to spread information far and wide and thus to spread a message of liberty and belief in Britain. We should use the sharing media to our advantage.
With that being said, most people are not political obsessives. That is why we should support artists and creative writers who are not ultra-leftists and back our values. Take for example Sir Michael Caine and Elizabeth Hurley who bravely backed Brexit. People should make a conscious effort to see more Caine and Hurley films. Or take for example Julian Fellowes, the Tory peer who backed Brexit and who is the creator of Downton Abbey. We should support works of artists like Lord Fellowes to encourage other right-of-centre people to get involved in the arts world.
The left began their takeover of the nation’s grassroots- its schools, media and popular culture- largely in the 1960s. The referendum showed how like minded people opposing the establishment could band together and win. But the referendum was only the end of the beginning in taking back much of the country for conservative, libertarian, and patriotic people. By keeping our coalition together, by winning in academia, the media, and popular culture, we can make the 2020s our 1960s.
Ted Yarbrough is co-founder of the @DailyGlobeUK
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty