Why we need to remind people about “Compassionate Conservatism”
As I have travelled across London, I hear of projects being operated by Conservatives in their communities that to me sum up the phrase Compassionate Conservatism.
They range from homeless centres, to debt management clubs to jobs clubs. I have seen on social media, Conservatives offering to help the victims of the terrible tragedies that have occurred in London recently. I myself have worked with local community projects fostering this spirit among our supporters. Yet we rarely hear about this work and sadly while all of us would be happy to keep this under the radar, I wonder if it is indeed time to start shouting about it.
Conservatism is about helping people to help themselves
The brand of “the Conservatives” has taken a hammering recently and one of the reasons I feel this is, is because people just don’t understand our party.
Some say Tories don’t care, some say we are for the few not the many. Yet anyone who understands our party and knows our members, knows this couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, many of those who abuse Conservatives who volunteer or work with local community projects, believe that “the government” should have a monopoly on tackling poverty. Our political opponents prefer to “contract out” their compassion to the state.
The problem is if we don`t tell others about what we do in our local communities, we allow our political opponents to define us.
Being Conservative is not just about being a member of a political party, it is an approach to life. Being Conservative means helping people to achieve their potential and helping individuals, families and communities to help themselves.
The Left so often try to paint themselves as the caring side of politics. But, they prefer to rely on the state to tackle many of the problems in local communities. They believe simply raising taxes and spending that money on a problem is the only way to tackle poverty and deprivation. They do not care if they leave future generations in debt. There are people on the Left who do work in their local communities and I have a lot of time for ‘cooperative Socialists’ but why are we not hearing about compassionate Conservatives?
The problem is if we don’t tell others, our opponents will define us.
Our opponents have steeled a march on us. They are reaching a whole new audience as seen in the recent election by aggressively promoting an image they want people to believe of both themselves and of us. As we know BOTH of these images have little to do with reality.
It’s time that we as a party started shouting again about what we do and what we believe, not what others think we believe.
I am not alone in this view. I have been watching as more and more figures in our party have been calling for us to make it clear that Conservativism is the compassionate approach to politics and I agree with them.
Charlie Elphicke MP, for example, wrote a great piece in Conservative Home the other day about how you take this approach in an MP’s constituency. I agree with Charlie. We need to be taking this approach right across the whole of London and across the whole country.
The fact is Conservatives are the party who care, the ones who deliver the economy which creates the jobs, the people who get out on the street and help their neighbours instead of waiting for the state to do everything.
We are the party of members who roll up our sleeves quietly and get stuck in when others just try to score political points. So I am not saying it’s time to copy our opponents. This is not making up an image that suits some political purpose. This is about shouting about who we already are. Compassionate Conservatves.