As a passionate Tory activist, the current state of the Conservative Party is a sight for sore eyes: constant infighting and division, a lack of genuine leadership, and a consistent lurching to misguided statist beliefs.
The porn laws, the online harm white paper, and the mess being made of delivering Brexit are all real causes for concern among younger, more freedom-minded members.
Indeed, the biggest threat facing the Tories in future elections is a crippling lack of support among younger voters in general, yet the party seems to inexplicably hold the view that they can attract their votes by taking away their economic and personal freedoms.
Actively boasting about restricting people’s liberty, as has been done with proposed internet regulation, risks turning away millions of potential voters, from both committed neoliberals as well as countless libertarians, classical liberals, and many other young and freedom-minded voters.
And who can blame them? Today is the 40th anniversary of Margaret Thatcher’s first general election as party leader. And unlike the heyday of the economically-neoliberal Tories during her reign, there is decidedly little to attract people to vote Conservative now. The current leadership has taken the party away from its core values of individual liberty and freedom from overbearing regulation.
Instead, it now favours an overbearing nanny state approach. And while the party is a broad-church party, and rightly so, the current imbalance of this statist Tory approach is deeply unpopular and has proved to be electorally damaging.
The alternatives for neoliberals are equally lacklustre. A hard-left Labour Party under Corbyn that will indiscriminately nationalise and regulate is hardly appealing and is naturally hostile to any notion of individual liberty and freedom.
The Liberal Democrats are neither truly liberal nor democratic at this point, and are only really passionate about overturning tax cuts and stopping Brexit. Change UK are just Lib Dems in independent clothing.
So that leaves the question of where neoliberals should settle. The only party that has a core set of neoliberal ideals of liberty, free markets and small government remains the Conservative party, but at
The Conservative Party needs a shake-up and neoliberalism should be at the forefront of that change, having a chance to shape the future of the party’s direction.
Simply continuing to copy Labour’s stances won’t do anything to convince voters to back the Conservatives and will only break the party up further and further. Given a choice between taxing, regulating, state-first Labour and liberty-loving, free-market Tories, the latter would easily come out on top.
This would not mean giving up other core political conservative positions that the party has stood on for countless years that some feel such a change would threaten. The armed forces would stay protected and valued, and the union on which our United Kingdom is built would stay strong.
What it would mean is embracing some of the most important Conservative principles of freedom, liberty and the individual. Enhancing them further, especially in the area of housing and utilities, would take the party to where it works best.
The Conservatives have enjoyed nearly two centuries as the most successful political party in history, but no matter how old or successful a party may be none, has a given right to exist.
It is, of course, important that the other strands of conservatism also have a place and role within the party, but to counter the rising nanny state approach to government that is threatening some of most treasured and important values of the Conservative party, neoliberals should be allowed to take the reins of the party once again. In doing so, they would usher in a period of great electoral success.