I’m not sure if I’ve ever met Raheem Kassam so I can’t be certain if I ever expressed any ideologically impure thoughts in his company that might come back to haunt me after I’ve written this. However I’m guessing that as I’m not employed by anyone remotely associated with the Conservatives, have never once contemplated joining the Libertarian party, am not known for being at all wet and have never met the ‘Deputy Vice Chairperson for Conservative Future Twatford-upon-Cheese Branch’, I may just escape the personal attacks, based on unverifiable anecdotes, that he aimed at some good people on Friday.
Or maybe not. But regardless of the smears, Raheem’s central contention, that the Conservative Party is full of pinko lefty-liberals who aren’t actually conservatives deserves to be held up to the light.
Raheem clearly doesn’t understand conservatism. Conservatism isn’t a rigid ideology. It’s not tied to doctrine. It’s counter-ideological. It’s organic. Benjamin Disraeli explained it best:
“In a progressive country change is constant; and the great question is not whether you should resist change which is inevitable, but whether that change should be carried out in deference to the manners, the customs, the laws and the traditions of a people, or whether it should be carried out in deference to abstract principles, and arbitrary and general doctrines.”
The role of the Conservative Party has always been to serve as a buffer against the crazy, doctrinal thoughts of the left that hamper innovation, progress and wealth. And what could be more anti-doctrinal than the Libertarianism that I and others espouse? Freedom from the state is natural whereas the state is an arbitrary construct that needs restrained in order for society to progress.
And just to be clear – there are real world examples of this that someone who barked up the anti-immigrant, anti-gay and anti-common sense tree during the General Election might recognise. If you don’t move with society and instead tie yourself to a set of values that were last seen about the time of the Suez Crisis, you lose. And UKIP lost.
But if Raheem wants to tie his colours to the abstract theory mast, he can be my guest. The real conservatives have reality to contend with.