Joe Wood – Why I am a Conservative

Explaining why you hold certain political beliefs is a personal journey. By and large, these beliefs are rooted from very personal life experiences and are moulded over many years that continue to develop in to the future.

I have only recently discovered that I am a Libertarian; I have always held these values but never felt to look or categorize them – that is until CFL came along.

I suppose it stems from freedom and my belief that I should be able to setup a business of my choice freely without fear of excessive regulation threatening it. As long as that business complies with the law, it should remain as easy to setup and as free as possible from state interference through centralised planning.

I grew up in a family that had only experienced entrepreneurship. My Father setup his transport business aged 23 and grew it based on local knowledge and an understanding that he knew how to serve those customers better than the present operator. He took a great number of risks in regards to both his financial and personal life – the family home was used as collateral on the initial business loan, all life savings were invested and secure jobs were sacrificed to setup the transport business from scratch.

An opportunity arose for my Father’s transport business to begin operating when the former operator ceased operating due to financial difficulties. The freedom that the early deregulation era in the 1980’s allowed for meant he could get a foothold in the market. He grew the business from an initial six vehicles and later sold it in 2001 with over 180 vehicles. The company has continued to grow and has peaked with nearly 300 vehicles in the last decade. It has created employment for many people, where there wasn’t any beforehand, and still today, many are dependent upon it.

Ask yourself this. Would the state have ever created the employment without the risk and entrepreneurialism that allowed them to setup in the first place?

The freedom that was bestowed on people in the mid 80s created a flurry of business opportunities and created wealth as well as social mobility. I have seen, first hand, the success of free markets to create wealth, employment and innovation. Any further attempts at this had always been hampered by state regulation (Transport for London).

I once dreamed of going down the same path as I felt there were opportunities for me to grow a business and serve customers better. However, that path has been blighted by the increase in regulation and associated costs with it in the sector that I am involved in.

My individual freedom to setup a business in the industry that I have a passion for is fundamental to me. I aspire to use the knowledge I have to improve services, provide new opportunities and benefit customers. I also have a sense of providing for my family and wanted the security and freedom of my own business.  This, sadly, has become a distant vision and has led me further into politics – I don’t feel confident that I can accomplish it anymore.

All the stumbling blocks that a regulated system creates prevent me from being able to benefit the industry and community I wanted to serve; the way my Father did. It is now left to a state regulator to deem what is appropriate and, due to its associated costs, will probably be operated by a large multinational corporation or state sponsored provider, rather than allow competition between large and small businesses.

This is not just restricting me in my area of business, I am sure there are many healthcare professionals crying out for the freedom to be able to setup their own business and provide a better standard and choice of healthcare currently monopolised by our NHS – the success of the dental and eye care sectors have never really been questioned by Socialists. Imagine if the NHS had monopolised eye and dental care over the last 50 or so years, would we have had the advancements in treatments and quality of service that private investment and knowledge has bought? I doubt that very much.

This, in essence, makes me a Conservative. My freedom has been restricted by regulating the transport industry and I’m sure many others would feel the same if their industry or area of expertise was regulated. I now face a lifetime working in a regulated industry controlled by a few individuals at the top of a bureaucratic food chain who decide what everybody else has to put up with. For me, the principle of it being for the greater good doesn’t really shine through when nobody is accountable.

My liberty and freedom to do what I choose for me, my family and the communities I work and live is what allows me to contribute to our country and is why I am a Conservative. Any form of restriction undermines that and discourages people from actively taking part in issues in their communities ‘The state knows best’. By definition a Socialists dream where a planned economy for the betterment of the weak is dictated by a few. That is not freedom and fairness; it is suffocating and breeds dependency and stagnation. This is why I will always be a Libertarian Conservative.


This article is part of our ongoing ‘Why I am a Conservative’ series, in which supporters of CfL talk about their beliefs and values. If you would like to take part please email blog@con4lib.com

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