Sunday, January 24, 2010

‘Dimensions of Conservatism’ – Margaret Thatcher’s 1977 Iain Macleod Memorial Lecture

This will feed your souls more than ten thousand tedious sermons by compromised clerics and politically-correct prelates. Again, from the days when even British politicians dared to 'do God',

Iain Macleod was of the 'One Nation' mould of Conservatives, and served under Churchill, Eden and Macmillan. He was editor of The Spectator, and is credited with coining the word 'stagflation'. As Shadow Chancellor in 1967 helped to found the homeless charity Crisis. He died of a heart attack in 1970, at the age of 57.

Margaret Thatcher's memorial speech gives one of the greatest insights into her own theo-political worldview:

We honour the memory of Iain Macleod by continuing his life's work, the restoration of the Conservative heritage. Some of you here today will remember him; some will have come into politics after he was taken from us. So I shall begin by trying to sum up for you the essence of his contribution to Conservative politics. He was a great pragmatist in the true meaning of the word; he saw practice as the acid test, and principles as the motivating force.

He was the practical man par excellence precisely because his every thought and act were so firmly rooted in principle. So when we ask, as all of us do, what would Iain have done in these circumstances, it is to his underlying principles that we must turn first.

He was a Tory in that he saw himself as part of a continuous and growing Tory tradition going back three whole centuries to the dawn of parliamentary government in the aftermath of the civil war, and going forward into a future, presaging changes and challenges of equal magnitude. He was a Christian, for whom Tory politics were a part – a subordinate part – of a great commitment to the Good Life and service of God.

He was a national politician, who thought in terms of Britain's needs, ways, and wider contribution to the world, drawing ideas and solutions from the British context, and seeing the statesman's task as finding political solutions for urgent British problems.

It is to these dimensions of Conservatism, which he exemplified for us, that I shall devote this talk – a Tory, a British politician, a Christian.

Every generation must restate its values in light of present challenges, but also in light of past experience. There has never been greater need for us Conservatives to do so than there is today. For we have been in danger of allowing our thinking to be dominated by socialism to a point where we even define our own position in terms of how, where and why we differ from socialism and socialists. As though conservatism was primarily an alternative to socialism. This is a compliment that I for one refuse to pay this recent creed. For we are not just anti-socialists, nor primarily anti-socialists; our opposition to socialism is just one corner of our vision, in which what we are for sets the tone, not what we are against; what we are against stems from what we are for.

The Tory tradition long antedates not only socialism but also what the socialists call capitalism and I prefer to call free economy. To describe us as the party of free enterprise as opposed to state ownership would be misleading, although we believe in the vital contribution of free enterprise to a free and prosperous Britain and have good cause to fear the deadening effect of State ownership and control. For to pose our commitment to free enterprise as our main purpose and distinguishing mark would be to describe the whole in terms of one of its many parts.

Free enterprise has a place, an honoured place in our scheme of things, but as one of many dimensions. For Tories became Tories well before the modern concept of a free market economy meant anything, well before it became a matter of political controversy.

Conservatism will, I believe, continue to be a living growing creed long after economic controversy gives way to other issues, long, after socialism comes to be seen as one of the many blind alleys of history, of interest to the historian alone.

The Conservative Party is an integral part of the British tradition, not to be explained in abstract terms, but as part of the living flesh of British life over the generations. So let me begin today, as I learned to do with Iain's help, from a sense of shared history; not just Tory history, but British history.

For we are essentially a British party. We try to the best of our ability to understand Britain's problems and do what is good for Britain, while fulfilling our obligations as members of the world community. We observe what happens elsewhere, and draw lessons from it, but aware that different national traditions, experience and religious values must affect the social, political, and economic solutions.

We know that there are certain human needs and values, not simply material needs but human rights, dignity, freedom from fear. These should be accorded everywhere. But the further we proceed from these fundamentals to political and economic arrangements, the less competent we feel to do much more than pronounce success or failure.

Our sense of history imparts caution and humility on us. You will have noted how the socialist is happy to lay down the law for all mankind, past, present and future, giving marks, usually bad ones, convinced that he could have done much better. You will have noticed how they claim solidarity with socialist parties and regimes everywhere, in the name of human solidarity, while preaching hatred towards fellow British citizens of differing background or views.

You will have noted too how socialists consider themselves qualified to lay down what is good for all countries and societies, for the Chinese and the Chileans, Uruguayans and Paraguayans, South African and South Vietnamese, Anguilans and Angolans – and never does a shadow of self-doubt cross their closed little minds.

We beg to differ from them. First, I think it arrogant to claim that our generation is any wiser than previous generations. We are here, they are gone. We can stand on their shoulders, as I hope succeeding generations will be able to stand on ours. But we should not be too hasty in judging them, not simply because we shall be judged in turn, but because to judge requires so much knowledge, such an effort of imagination to put ourselves into their shoes that could well be spent – barring the professional historian on understanding our own pressing problems.

Least of all do we feel qualified to offer advice to more successful nations, on whose bounty this government's spendthrift measures have made us dependent.

But we are more than just a British party. The Tories began as a church party, concerned with the Church and State, in that order, before our concern extended to the economy, and many other fields which politics now touches.

Religion gives us not only values a scheme of things in which economic, social, penal policy have their place – but also our historical roots. For through the Old Testament our spiritual roots go back to the early days of civilisation and man's search for God.

The New Testament takes us on through Greek philosophy, Roman law, the Church Fathers and the great flowering of a specifically Christian civilisation in the middle ages from which our own characteristic way of life emerged.

Our religion teaches us that every human being is unique and must play his part in working out his own salvation. So whereas socialists begin with society, and how people can be fitted in, we start with Man, whose social and economic relationship are just part of his wider existence.
Because we see man as a spiritual being, we utterly reject the Marxist view, which gives pride of place to economics. However much the Marxists and their fellow-travellers new and old may try to wriggle and explain away, this was Marx's stated view and a linch-pin of his whole system.

The religious tradition values economic activity, how we earn our living, create wealth, but warns against obsession with it, warns against putting it above all else. Money is not an end in itself, but a means to an end.

The letters to the Archbishop of Canterbury (Donald Coggan) received in reply to his "call to the nation" were recently published. One of them was from a country vicar: "I am concerned," he wrote, "that I haven't enough to do my job properly. I am concerned because my parishoners, some of them at least, are not receiving what I ought to be able to provide and be glad to give them, i.e. a visit in emergencies, just because there is no petrol in the tank and no money in the pocket to buy more; or that there is petrol only sufficient to provide transport for my wife to work".

That vicar knew that he needed money, not for itself, but for what he could do with it.

The increased involvement of government with economic life has coincided with a marked worsening of economic performance.

It has heightened tensions between different groups of workers, some struggling to keep differentials, others trying to override them; between producers and consumers, landlords and tenants, public services and the public.

To observe these things is not to deny a role to government in economic life; it is not to preach laissez faire. That was preached two centuries back when manufacture and commerce were fighting to free themselves from state monopoly and interference which were holding back their development.

There is much that the state should do, and do much better than it is doing. But there are also proper limits which have long since been passed in this country.

To understand the reason and how these limits can be adduced, we must come back to the nature of man. This is a matter where our understanding and our case, based on religion and commonsense, is so much sounder than that of the socialist doctrine. Yet the socialist travesty has succeeded in gaining wide acceptance by default, even among our own people. I refer to the question of self-interest as against the common good. The socialists have been able to persuade themselves and many others that a free economy based on profit embodies and encourages self-interest, which they see as selfish and bad, whereas they claim socialism is based on and nurtures altruism and selflessness.

This is baseless nonsense in theory and in practice; let me explain why. Let us start from the idea of self. There is not and cannot possibly be any hard and fast antithesis between self-interest and care for others, for man is a social creature, born into family, clan, community, nation, brought up in mutual dependence. The founders of our religion made this a cornerstone of morality. The admonition: love they neighbour as thyself, and do as you would be done by, expresses this. You will note that it does not denigrate self, or elevate love of others above it. On the contrary, it sees concern for self and responsibility for self as something to be expected, and asks only that this be extended to others. This embodies the great truth that self-regard is the root of regard for one's fellows. The child learns to understand others through its own feelings. At first its immediate family, in course of time the circle grows.

Our fellow-feeling develops from self-regard. Because we want warmth, shelter, food, security, respect, and other goods for ourselves, we can understand that others want them too. If we had no desire for these things, would we be likely to understand and further others' desire for them?

You may object that saintly people can well have no personal desires, either material or prestigious; but we do not legislate for saints.

Now since people in their day-to-day lives are motivated by this complex of attitudes, self-regard and fellow-feeling, group and sectional interests, personal and family responsibility, local patriotism, philanthropy, an economy will be effective only insofar as it can contain and harness all these drives. Perhaps Archbishop Temple had it right when he said: "The art of Government, in fact, is the art of so ordering life that self interest prompts what justice demands."

Adam Smith, who came to economics via philosophy, (sociology – as we should now call it –) and history, described how the interplay between the self-interest of many can further the mutual interest of all. I urge you to read him, both for what he said and for what he did not say, but is often ascribed to him. He did not say that self-interest was good perse; he saw it as a major drive which can be a blessing to any society able to harness it and a curse to those who cannot harness it.

He showed how the market economy obliges and enables each producer to serve the consumers interest by serving his own.

People must be free to choose what they consume, in goods and services. When they choose through the market, their choice is sovereign. They alone exercise their responsibility as consumers and producers. To the extent that the fruits of their efforts are taken away by the state, or other coercive bodies, they not only have responsibility taken away from them, but the ability to make their wishes felt. Power accrues more and more to the politician, bureaucrat, state-owned or subsidised providers of goods and services.

Choice in a free society implies responsibility on the part of the individual. There is no hard and fast line between economic and other forms of personal responsibility to self, family, firm, community, nation, God. Morality lies in choosing between feasible alternatives. A moral being is one who exercises his own judgment in choice, on matters great and small, bearing in mind their moral dimension, i.e. right and wrong. Insofar as his right and duty to choose is taken away by the state, the party or the union, his moral faculties, i.e. his capacity for choice, atrophy, and he becomes a moral cripple in the same way as we should lose the faculty of walking, reading, seeing, if we were prevented from using them over the years.

In a letter from a person who responded to the Archbishop of Canterbury's "call to the nation," this point was beautifully put:

"We wish to be self-reliant and do not want to be dependent on the state, nor do we want the state to take so great a proportion of our money in rates and taxes to decide for us what we shall have and not have … I may be wrong, but I think it weakens character when little by little our freedom of choice is taken from us."

And another person said:

"I am a middle-aged woman, wife of a lower-paid worker. We have struggled through the years to buy our own house, old though it may be. We have asked for nothing. We only had one child, so no child allowance. What we have achieved we did ourselves. When we look round and see all the handouts people are getting from this welfare state, we sometimes feel so sad that what should be a wonderful thing has really turned out to sap the goodness and initiative from so many of our people.".

So let there be no mistake: economic choices have a moral dimension. A man is now enabled to choose between earning his living and depending on the bounty of the state, a choice which comes about because benefits rise and remain tax-free, while earnings rise more slowly if at all, and tax is high at very low income levels.

A man must choose between spending and saving, between housing himself or depending on the state to house him at his fellow-citizen's expense, between paying for his children's education and accepting whatever the state provides, between working for a wage or salary and setting up on his own, between longer hours of work or study and spending more time in leisure with his family, even between spending more of his money on himself and more on his family, between joining a union and not joining, even if it means persecution by union and state.

The Socialists would take away most or all of these choices. A man would do what he was told by the state and his union, work where work was "found" for him, at the rate fixed and degree of effort permitted. He would send his children to school where the education authority decided what the children are taught and the way they are taught, irrespective of his views, he would live in the housing provided, take what he could get, give what he was obliged to give.

This doesn't produce a responsible or a moral society.

This does not produce a classless society; on the contrary it produces the most stratified of all societies, divided into two classes: the powerful and the powerless; the party-bureaucratic elite and the manipulated masses.

And are these rulers better fitted to make choices on our behalf or to dispose of resources? Are they wiser, less selfish, more moral? What reason have we for supposing that they are? As the French economist and critic of socialism, Claude Frédéric Bastiat, asked a century and a half ago, how can the socialists, who have such a low opinion of the people's ability to choose have such a high regard for their own?

I quote his own words:

"Since the natural inclinations of mankind are so evil that its liberty must be taken away, how is it that the inclinations of the socialists are good? Are not the legislators and their agents part of the human race? Do they believe themselves moulded from another clay than the rest of mankind? They say that society, left to itself, heads inevitably for destruction because its instincts are perverse. They demand the power to stop mankind from sliding down this fatal declivity and to impose a better direction on it. If, then, they have received from heaven intelligence and virtues that place them beyond and above mankind, let them show their credentials. They want to be shepherds, and they want us to be their sheep."

We know from experience that these self-appointed guardians use their power to perpetuate it. We have seen how the economic considerations which in a market economy are decisive, are increasingly subordinated in a controlled economy to the party political interests of politicians, to the group interest of state employees, and to workers in some nationalised industries. We pay through the nose in prices and taxes and take what we are given. In that sense, we don't own those industries, they own us.

And have we not seen at home, and particularly abroad, how some socialist politicians soon come to adopt the very "ruling class life-styles" they rose to power by denouncing?
In a market economy, people are free to give of their money and their time for good causes. They exercise their altruism on their own initiative and at their own expense, whether they give directly and personally through institutions, charities, universities, churches, hospitals. When the state steps in, generosity is increasingly restricted from all sides.

From the one side, the idea is propagated that whatever needs doing is best done by the state.

Since the state knows best, causes it does not support must be of questionable worth. On the other side, since the state takes more and more of peoples earnings, they have less inclination to give what money they still have left for those needs which the welfare state fails to meet.
When people give, directly, personally or through an institution, they respect, they feel that the sacrifices they may make in giving, and the effort in earning is worth while. People have always accepted the responsibility to sustain the young and the old, the unfortunate and the needy. But when the money is taken away and spent by government, the blessing goes out of giving and out of the effort of earning in order to give.

This contrast is borne out by historical experience. The Victorian age, which saw the burgeoning of free enterprise, also saw the greatest expansion of voluntary philanthropic activity of all kinds. The new hospitals, new schools, technical colleges, universities, new foundations for orphans, non-profit making housing trusts, missionary societies.
Dr Barnardos Homes was founded in 1866. It cares today for 2251 children in residential accommodation.

The Soldiers, Sailors and Airmens Families Association was founded in 1885 and now, with 12,000 volunteer workers helps countless families.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which now handles some 80,000 cases annually was founded in 1884.

The St John Ambulance Association was founded in 1877 to provide a service still essential to every centre of population.

The Church Army now giving help to 14,800 people, started in 1890.

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded in 1824 and now maintains 250 lifeboats at a cost of about £3 million a year, almost entirely from voluntary subscriptions.

The Victorian age has been very badly treated in socialist propaganda.

It was an age of constant and constructive endeavour in which the desire to improve the lot of the ordinary person was a powerful factor. We who are largely living off the Victorians moral and physical capital can hardly afford to denigrate them.

You may remember Lord Acton's aphorism that while only a foolish conservative would judge the present by the standards of the past, only a foolish liberal would judge the past by the standards of the present. There are many foolish liberals in the socialist camp; we can do without them in ours.

Why then, you may ask, did socialist thought make so much headway? It is not only a fair question but a vitally important one for us. There are many possible answers.

But one obvious reason stands out. Socialists criticised imperfect human reality in the name of a theory. So long as socialism was only a theory, it made criticism of other ways easy for them. They could claim that their way was best. But now we are beyond the days of theory. For decades Socialists have extended their power until they control almost half the world's population. How has the theory worked out in practice? Disastrously. Wherever they have imposed their heavy hand, people are worse off and less free.

A leading Labour Party ideologist, Baroness Wootton, recently said proudly that during her lifetime she was glad to see that one-third of the world's population had come to earn its daily bread under socialism.

Certainly, she made a brief reference to the fact that they seem to practice tyranny and racism but very much en passant. She neither stopped to ask whether this was not inherent in socialist rule, nor what the quality and quantity of socialism's daily bread was like. Not all Lady Wootton's fellow-socialists are as frank as she is in claiming the socialist world as soul-mates, and as encouragement for their efforts to clamp down socialism here "irrevocably and irreversibly", to use one of the present government's favourite phrases.

True, not all of the Labour Party are happy to accept Communist-ruled regimes as fellow-socialists. But they are remarkably muted in their opposition to the "fraternal relations" adopted by a majority of their Party and Trade Union movement. Insofar as some are embarrassed by the behaviour of their fellow-socialists in the Soviet Union, Cambodia and East Germany, they have yet failed to produce a coherent explanation of why they believe that a doctrine which has produced such visibly inhuman results in a third of the world or more would lead us to Utopia in Great Britain.

To say that the others are not "true socialists" – no connexion with the firm next door with the same name – gets us no further. Socialism is what socialists do, and socialists do more or less the same, as the opportunity permits.

GULAG was the consequence of socialism. It was not the work of one man. It only happened because socialism demoralised the whole nation, replaced the individual conscience by the party, right and wrong by what was good for the revolution.

But, as I argued earlier, we shall not win simply by showing the dark side of socialism. That is why I began with our vision, and put it in the centre of the stage. I stress, vision, not blueprint; values and principles, not doctrines. We are really in no better position to prophesy than preceding generations were, and they always got it wrong; the more scientific they thought they were, the further they strayed. For the unfolding of human history is richer and more complex than our minds can foresee.

Yet by understanding the present and the past and adducing possibilities and probabilities as best we can, so long as we leave some margin for error, we can influence the shape of things to come.

We have learned much from the over-optimism of the immediate post-war era, when we thought Government could do it all. We need healthy scepticism, but not pessimism. We are not bound to an irrevocable decline.

We see nothing as inevitable. Men can still shape history.

Because the post-war Keynesian recipe of endless growth and full employment through high demand levels went sour, this does not mean we turn our backs on the aspirations which underlay the 1944 White Paper on Employment policy. Because we see that welfare can be abused, we do not neglect our responsibility to help people back onto their feet and to look after the handicapped.

We know that we must assure a better balance between what people receive and what they can earn, and between the hardship we see and are moved to mitigate through the welfare system and the reaction we create when taxes fall too heavily on the tax payer.

This is a turning-point in our party's history, no less than in our nation's, comparable to the situation when Iain Macleod came back into civilian life after the war. He and his generation's views had been formed under the combined influence of their heavy war-time responsibilities, the high hopes for post-war Britain generated during the war, and the stock of our electoral defeat in 1945.

Iain let none of these put him off-balance. He set to work with others of his generation to pick up the pieces, to begin from where they were. He and the "One Nation" group set the tone for much of post-war Conservative thought and action. They did not blame their stars, or the voters. They set to work to ask what had gone wrong, and how to put it right.

That was a generation back. We now stand before the new challenges: how to revive the economy, how to enlarge our liberties, how to restore the balance between trade unions and the community, how to further our European partnership while protecting legitimate British interests, how to simplify the welfare maze which often baffles those who most deserve help, how to regain an underlying sense of nationhood and purpose.

Circumstances in the late ‘seventies are different from those of thirty years ago. Once again we have faced electoral defeat, drawn the necessary conclusions and come back with renewed vigour.

Iain Macleod's approach then was, in essence; if it must be done it can be done; if it can be done it must be done. "We shall prevail" — one of his great speeches ended. We did; and we shall.


Blogger OldSlaughter said...

Excellent your Grace.

24 January 2010 at 11:35  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I wonder if any politician could speak like that nowadays?
Possibly Boris Johnson if he put his mind to it, but I can't think of any other.

24 January 2010 at 12:35  
Anonymous len said...

Socialism is a failed 'religion' it has bought this one great country onto its knees.Socialism has sold out this nation and bankrupted it morally, financially,and socially.
Socialism don`t work!
Socialism is squeezing the life blood out of this nation and will leave it devoid of finances, and the very moral fabric of society, having cause all this disorder they( socialists) have no idea of how to put it right.

We need to return to the values as mentioned in His Graces article.

24 January 2010 at 13:01  
Anonymous Beancounter said...

Your Grace, Excellent writing, and very appropriate reading for a Sunday. I echo the thoughts of the English Pensioner, as one who has yet to reach that age in life.

24 January 2010 at 13:12  
Blogger Ingenieur said...

Socialism now has the whole of Europe as its new plaything.


24 January 2010 at 13:13  
Blogger Gnostic said...

I hear your words, Your Grace. I also embrace them heartily for I am of the conservative persuasion. Now please, tell me where the true blue conservative party is to be found so that I can vote for it. All I can see at the moment is a pinkish fudge of a party that lurks the fringes of Blairist lunacy.

24 January 2010 at 13:23  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

This was the great re-discovery that Mrs Thatcher's Conservatives made.

'For we have been in danger of allowing our thinking to be dominated by socialism to a point where we even define our own position in terms of how, where and why we differ from socialism and socialists. As though conservatism was primarily an alternative to socialism. This is a compliment that I for one refuse to pay this recent creed. For we are not just anti-socialists, nor primarily anti-socialists; our opposition to socialism is just one corner of our vision, in which what we are for sets the tone, not what we are against; what we are against stems from what we are for.'

It is that discovery that New Labour is terrified of. I would urge you all to read Janet Daley's column in the Telegraph today to complement yor understanding of the way forward.

24 January 2010 at 13:23  
Blogger Silly Kuffar said...

The Christian Church becoming even more Pro-Mohammed.


24 January 2010 at 13:55  
Anonymous graham wood said...

If the above is a vision of true, radical and a working Conservatism, which I believe it is, then I do not recognise the modern 'Conservative Party' as being remotely connected.
Because it has completely lost its vision and moorings - having abandoned representative democracy and agreed to live in subservience to a foreign power - the European Union.
That is the very antithesis of any view of Conservatism as traditionally understood.
To vote for a provincial "parliament", shorn of all real power which has been and is, delegated to those we cannot elect or dismiss represents an abandonment of Conservatism and electoral futility.
That is the position of Socialism and 'soft' Fascism,and is completely incompatible with the great tradition of real Conservatives represented by all Cameron's predecessors, with of course the one exception of Edward Heath.

To vote Conservative is no longer possible for there is no Conservative party in existence in the UK, merely a pathetic imitation of NewLabour, and the endless drivel of 'managementspeak'.
DC has no vision - and even less understanding of his party's history and former ideology.

24 January 2010 at 14:18  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said... to further our European partnership while protecting legitimate British interests...

Having said which, she rushed the Single European Act through Parliament before the lobby fodder had had a chance to read it. Years later, and slightly wiser, she admitted that she had thought the Act was just about trade. It had never occurred to her, she said, that it would be used to introduce the single currency. Don’t worry your pretty little head, Maggie. It’s only our country you, Heath and Major mucked up. (As it’s the Lord’s Day, I thought it best to say ‘mucked’.)

@ Silly Kuffar (13:55)—The Christian Church becoming even more Pro-Mohammed.

The Right Rev Gordon Mursell, the Church of England Bishop of Stafford, said after signing the pledge [on racism] on Thursday: "We believe that real diversity actually helps create a vibrant and attractive city. The EDL and BNP think the opposite. That is why we oppose them."

There we have it. According to the BBC, the English Defence League called the rally ‘to protest against Islamic extremism’. So, of course, the dhimmi bishop, grovelling before Islam, condemns the EDL.

24 January 2010 at 14:22  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Brilliant! Would David Cameron understand it? And if he did, would he agree with it?

24 January 2010 at 14:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nuanced and rather wonderful speech. What is tragic, is that no Conservative politician would speak in those terms today. It so clearly highlights just just how far the current leaders of the Party have moved to the Nu-Lab position.

24 January 2010 at 15:01  
Anonymous Philip said...

Previous two comments (1143, 1501)are extremely pertinent for Mr Cameron! I noted that on the Conservative Party MT said,

“But we are more than just a British party. The Tories began as a church party, concerned with the Church and State, in that order, before our concern extended to the economy, and many other fields which politics now touches.” How is Mr Cameron’s Conservatives doing in this? Churchill’s statement that the policy of the Conservative Party is to defend the Christian religion from all attacks on it is relevant here too. Mr Cameron supported Labour’s move against the RC adoption agencies, and messages getting to Christians from the time he sought instead approval from gay activists (‘gay pride’, apology for S28 and so on), tends to be none on the ‘main’ parties supports Christian values’. However the Conservative Party were whipped to support a Labour MP’s amendment to Harperson;’s Bill that would preserve the freedom of churches and charities to employ practicing Christians, as defined by Christians - Theresa May led on this. So perhaps a mixed record.

On some of her other comments:

“Our religion teaches us that every human being is unique and must play his part in working out his own salvation.”

Presumably this does not refer to eternal salvation, for which of course no human works can obtain as any such efforts fall short of God’s glory and perfection - it can be only be by faith in Jesus’ work on the Cross where He bore God’s wrath headed for us, and Jesus’ perfection accounted to us.

But to me the speech shows socialism as diminishing the concept individual responsibility, and of man needing to make choices and take responsibility for him and his family. I feel socialism has the danger of replacing the concept individual responsibility with dependence on the State, diminishing a sense of need for God as our shortcomings can be blamed on poverty, rather than individual fallennes to which we’ll have to give an account to God.

“There is not and cannot possibly be any hard and fast antithesis between self-interest and care for others, for man is a social creature, born into family, clan, community, nation, brought up in mutual dependence.”

“A moral being is one who exercises his own judgment in choice, on matters great and small, bearing in mind their moral dimension, i.e. right and wrong…

“The Socialists would take away most or all of these choices. A man would do what he was told by the state…he would send his children to school where the education authority decided what the children are taught and the way they are taught, irrespective of his views…take what he could get, give what he was obliged to give. This doesn't produce a responsible or a moral society.” (Compare today’s socialism which forces State schools to promote homosexuality as good and normal, and so-called liberal Clegg wants to force even ‘faith’ schools to do the same - no doubt he would give an exemption to Muslim schools)

Socialism, in taking away personal responsibility, is about control e.g.:

- it needs people in perpetual poverty to keep them dependent on it and under their control.
- It seems much more inclined to favour supra-national governance to keep nations under control
- Harperson’s Equality Bill which seeks to control the beliefs of churches and faith groups

“Men can still shape history.” Um, a bit man-centred? Isn’t God in control?

“how to further our European partnership while protecting legitimate British interests” She obviously learnt since that, these two aspirations are incompatible.

24 January 2010 at 15:10  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

The difference between Mrs Thatcher’s approach to conducting politics and Cameron’s seems to be that her conservatism mined precepts in the Bible; for example:

‘Our religion teaches us that every human being is unique and must play his part in working out his own salvation. So whereas socialists begin with society, and how people can be fitted in, we start with Man, whose social and economic relationship are just part of his wider existence.

‘Because we see man as a spiritual being, we utterly reject the Marxist view, which gives pride of place to economics. However much the Marxists and their fellow-travellers new and old may try to wriggle and explain away, this was Marx's stated view and a lynch-pin of his whole system.’

On this point, for the Marxist, economics comes before social relations. Of course, if this was the case then the formation of contractual obligations would be difficult and that in turn would hamper economic development. This can be clearly seen in countries like Afghanistan where the social bonds of loyalty are transmitted from peasant to tribal chief. In such a social structure establishing a trustworthy framework in which the poverty stricken peasant can conduct business with the stranger is inconceivable - and therefore continues to condemn its people to poverty.

Mrs Thatcher trained as a tax-lawyer, but she must have read the law of contracts in her student days and come across the thoughts of that great Christian judge, Lord Denning, and been influenced by how he and his fellow judges put Christian principles into our Common Law (and thereby learnt how to put Christian principles into politics). Take for example Lord Denning reporting how his brother judge, Lord Atkin, introduced the Christian principle of ‘love thy neighbour’. Prior to 1932 a manufacturer was not liable to the ‘end-customer’ over ‘faulty’ goods. In one case a company had carelessly left a snail in a ginger beer bottle as part of a consignment to a shopkeeper; who in turn sold it to a man whose wife drank it and was injured.

Lord Atkin said in his judgment:

‘The rule that you are to love your neighbour becomes in law, “You must not injure your neighbour,” and the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbour?” receives a restricted reply. You must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions which you can reasonably foresee would be likely to injure your neighbour? Who then in law is my neighbour? The answer seems to be - persons who are so closely and directly affected by any act that I ought reasonably to have them in contemplation as being so affected when I am directing my mind to the acts or omissions which are called in question.’ [Donoghue v. Stevenson [1932] A.C. 562, 580]

Our lawmakers do not need the oppressive legal values of the continental E.U. nor the fascist philosophies of the European Enlightenment informing our politics and social policies.

Mrs Thatcher understood: the Lord does provide.

24 January 2010 at 15:12  
Anonymous Philip said...

In first bullet above on control of Socialism , I meant socialism wants to keep people under socialists' / State control

24 January 2010 at 15:18  
Blogger Anne said...

I have voted for the Conservative Party all my life, and I admit to "getting on a bit" however, I also admit to be "being taken in by them” because I actually thought they wanted to do what they were paid for, which is/was to actually make our laws and govern us. What a fool I was. What fools were all those that believed their words as did I. Many still believe them even now.

After Lisbon, I look upon all three political Parties as "taking money (our Money) under false pretences". Perhaps they are cowards too because not one politician, right from the start, (1972/3) have dared to actually tell the truth of any one of the EU Treaties they have ratified. Any British Government that we are stupid enough to elect has to obey the very same FOREIGN laws we, the people have to, at least until the European Communities Act 1972 is repealed. Yet ALL three political Parties want to remain in the EU STILL. Mrs Thatcher was one of the better Conservative Prime Ministers but it seemed she had to be removed because she did not want further EU integration. In fact, she wanted to do the job she was elected to do.

We have allowed our own Constitution to lie dormant, yet it really is the best Constitution in the World-it must be because other Countries have copied it, if the people are so foolish enough to vote for any one of the three political parties that want to remain in the EU, I will look to and get my inspiration from, Clause 61 Magna Carta and not contribute financially to the EU any more, or to a British Government that deliberately puts our British Crown in jeopardy and against the Queen’s Coronation Oath that forbids being ruled by Foreigners.

I did not, along with many other people in this Country go through the ordeal of being bombed to HELL in the Blitz 1939-1945 when so many thousands died fighting for freedom and many innocent men, women children and babies died in the bombing of this Country, just for foreigners to govern the whole of the United Kingdom. If you do not think that the EU can stretch out to the UK’s overseas territories as well, perhaps you had better read EU COM Document (2009) 623 final dated 6.11.2009, (Elements for a new partnership between the EU and the overseas countries and territories (OCTs). No political Party is mentioning that much either are they? Sadly, many will not know what I am talking about regarding our Constitution and where our allegiance lies because none were taught about the last war, or about our own Constitution.

24 January 2010 at 15:31  
Anonymous Mark Blades said...

Rather more pertinent to the future of the UK is what constitutes the political/moral philosophy of the present Conservative Party, led by David Cameron.

In the present political/social climate, for 'Socialist' read 'Green', and vice versa, and the Tories have jumped on the same bandwagon.

EU Referendum, blogging about Cameron and George Osbourne, write,'... this dire pair remain insistent that, in time, "green taxes will be necessary".

Despite all that has happened in the last few months, and the very obvious signs of a change in public sentiment on "global warming", this pair have not yet cottoned on to the fact that green taxes will be about as popular as a Moslem fundamentalist at a BNP meeting.'

EU Referendum concludes, 'The only possible explanation for this is that, stupid as Cameron and Osborne undoubtedly are – they believe they are smarter than the electorate they are trying to con.'

Personally speaking, I've seen the future and it's not bright, and nor is it Orange; it's Green and Socialist.

24 January 2010 at 15:58  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Your Grace,
Thanks so much for resurrecting this. Sadly, it is, at root, extremely depressing as there is no senior conservative who even remotely echoes this philosophy. The new crop of Cameron's acolytes, ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, offer no hope. The Tories need reform NOW!

24 January 2010 at 17:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Just wow. Thank you for digging that one up.

You only realise what you had when you've lost it.


24 January 2010 at 17:49  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

In response to Old Pensioner (what would a young pensioner be?), maybe Boris could construct such a speech, though I'm not convinced he would have sufficient attention span.

There is no doubt, though, that Richard Shepherd could do so. His vision of Conservatism is, I am sure, very similar to that of the Iron Lady, and he has the required gifts of eloquence and articulation, as well as a profound understanding of history.

But can you imagine such a thing proceeding from the mouth of an Oliver Lewtwin, a Francis Maude or a Teresa May? To say nothing of Wee Georgie Osborne.

24 January 2010 at 18:14  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Oops -- I misread. Very sorry. I should have said English Pensioner. Can't imagine what I was thinking of. I must have conflated English Pensioner with Old Slaughter.

24 January 2010 at 18:17  
Blogger Preacher said...

Excellent blog Your Grace, The Lady still shows more grit than politicians half her age. She positively generates authority, power & spiritual maturity, coupled with honesty & insight.
Sadly such people are great rarities.

24 January 2010 at 18:44  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

I think I prefer the sermons.

24 January 2010 at 18:54  
Anonymous Happyness Stan said...

To be fair to Cameron.

We don't really know what he thinks about conservatism. It would also be true to say that we did not really know what Thatcher thought on the subject prior to 79.

The proof of the Thatcher pudding was in its eating. As Cameron's will also be, or not as the case may be.

Things may seem to be tough now, but they were back in 79, some say "MUCH worse." They certainly seemed to be at the time. However, who can really say for sure? Perceived reality is a highly subjective mattter. The TRUTH however, is simply The TRUTH.

Given the above, I agree with the general conclusions reached by the majority of comments. That the signs are not at all good, and that Cameron has much to prove.

Of course the proverbial N in the woodpile is the EU, and all that goes with it. Which unfortunately gives all national governments a rational excuse to be fundamentally nasty, or horrifically authoritarian, as well as criminally incompetent.

We must not allow Cameron to use The EU as an excuse for ANY of these things. He must govern this nation in the interests of its people. Therefore if, or indeed WHEN the EU gets in the way of him doing so, he must ignore, marginalise, or simply leave it.

IMO, if he does not do so, all hell will inevitably break out, and very much deserve to do so.

A national TAX strike, at least. The signs of which are already waiting in the wings.

24 January 2010 at 18:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a tragedy for the Conservative party that Iain Macleod died just days after Heath's very unexpected election victory in June 1970.It was the first election I was able to vote in and I can still recall the excitement I felt at the return of a Conservative government after the usual Labour misrule.Macleod was to be chancellor of the exchequer; instead we got the disastrous Barber.The rest is history. Edward Sutherland.

24 January 2010 at 19:56  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

"It would also be true to say that we did not really know what Thatcher thought on the subject prior to 79."

Mr Happyness Stan,

Er, this speech is from 1977...

24 January 2010 at 21:25  
Anonymous Happyness Stan said...

That is as maybe, however how many people who voted for her had read or heard it before doing so?

We were far, if not infinitely more interested in burying our dead, and cleaning up the streets.

I did not read or hear this speech, yet I voted for her in 1979, which was indeed the first time I had ever voted in a general election.

Cameron may not have the sort of script writer Thatcher did, nor an audience that would understand much of the theorising. But he DOES sound like many if not the vast majority of the Conservative members I am personally aware of, which is many.

This is for better or worse, and most likely for worse. However it is still a fact of modern Conservative Party life all of the same.

Thatcher was of her time, and Cameron is very much of his.

Again I state.

The proof of Cameron's pudding will be in its eating.

If he turns out to be Tony Blair mark2, or even much much worse anything resembling Brown, then please rest completely assured. I will be his most harsh critics, in fact one of his worst possible nightmares.

24 January 2010 at 23:10  
Anonymous Anne said...

We may not know what Thatcher thought on the subject before 79 'Archbishop Cranmer' but what the others knew that lodged in the House of Commons at that time and thought from the early 1960's is all recorded in Hansard. Sadly, there was no way of the people finding out THE REAL TRUTH unless they could read the bound red Books of Hansard-presently held-and before internet-in Reference Libraries.

Mr Gaitskell then reminds the Prime Minister (2nd August 1961 column 1498) what Macmillan said in 1956 when Chancellor of the Exchequer, which was, “Finally, we must recognise that the aim of the main proponents of the Community is political integration. We can see that in Article 138 of the Treaty, which looks towards a common assembly, directly elected. The whole idea of the six, the coal and steel community and Euratom is a movement towards political integration. That is a fine assertion, but we must recognise that for us to sign the Treaty of Rome would be to accept as the ultimate goal---to accept as the ultimate goal--political federation in Europe, including ourselves".

24 January 2010 at 23:21  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Thankyou for this article your grace it was both a pleasure , engageing, enlightening and beautifully written .

I hope that many of the new MPs will comprehend it .

The relevence of it to todays circumstances is acceptable for another 5 years of Labour or for that matter lib dem socialism lite , would mould a whole generation of sheep and continue under the rule of the self appointed shepereds .

There are of course some modern circumstances which are the ends of much longer operating ideas , some based in socialism , these are perhaps at first glance , standing from afar and realising the shape and structure of the economy.

There is also the busy revolving daily ammount of information many have to deal with , and its own mental beaurocracy with the workings of the mind , and its resultant spirtual malnourishment.

The theory of socialism is so engrossed , so many busy in darkness , mind control is not the same as loving christ . For in loving christ we are more than selfish unit. I find it strange that the socialists having being forceably selling us such a poor copy of christians in action rather than the unreproduceable of the transforming nature of christ in a persons life .

25 January 2010 at 00:24  

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