In the Age of Corbyn, conservatives must be unafraid to promote and defend their ideas in clear moral terms
Who dares to make the moral case for conservatism?
The parties of the political Left shamelessly portray themselves as virtuous warriors in the titanic struggle between altruistic socialism and selfish conservatism, and are adept at debating political issues using the language of morality and “social justice”. It comes naturally, never sounding forced or contrived – websites like the Huffington Post, Left Foot Forward and LabourList are full of earnest articles penned by young writers who take for granted that theirs is the only legitimate moral perspective on the world.
Not so conservatives. We conservatives have tended to shy away from the moral discussion, afraid to set out our strongly-held beliefs in moral terms and preferring to focus on dry and often negative arguments about the risks posed by the Left. But by debating the issues on the Left’s terms and focusing on pragmatism above all else, we have largely ceded the moral high ground to the Left.
This did not matter so much when Ed Miliband, a thoroughly uninspiring centrist, was in charge of the Labour Party. But in the new age of Jeremy Corbyn – when the Labour Party is on the brink of re-adopting genuinely left-wing policies – it is disturbing that Corbyn’s ideas are given the weight of moral imperative while right-wing rebuttals too often sound technocratic and uninspiring.