Sir John Major fleshes out the Tory "moral mission"
Sir John Major delivered a speech yesterday at Conservative Campaign Headquarters. He was invited by Party Chairman Grant Shapps to launch a new apprenticeship scheme. This was an honour indeed for Sir John, coming 17 years after being ousted from office by the electorate. Margaret Thatcher wasn't invited to CCHQ to rouse the faithful 17 years after being knifed by her own colleagues. No doubt the then party chairman Francis Maude was far too concerned with decontaminating and re-branding to risk a virulent whiff of Thatcherism.
Sir John Major put some flesh on the Prime Minister's "moral mission", which His Grace would like to fisk a few extracts:
"We exist as a political party to help people reach their ambitions and to make sure our country is safe and secure militarily and economically."So does Labour.
"Look at our policies: Education reform to make sure that people are being better educated in order to maximise their abilities, Opportunity, by creating jobs. And we should bear in mind that – when we are creating jobs and wish people to move around the country and take those jobs – they need houses to move to as well."So does Labour.
"The world has changed, it’s moving faster and in a more bewildering fashion than it has ever done before. That isn’t going to change. Science and technology isn’t going to stop so we can catch up and become familiar with it. We need to understand that, use technology in the many ways we already are, but also reassure people that behind today’s often bewildering and frightening changes there lies a political party which understands the modern world, and whose primary purpose is the wellbeing of the individual."So is that of Labour.
"That is what the Conservative Party is here for. We’re not just here to sit in parliament and become ministers. We are here to improve the lives of those who put us in parliament – as well as those who voted against us. That is our job. That is our mission."As is that of the Labour Party.
"We Conservatives want people to help themselves. To make their own opportunities. To create something better for themselves, for their families, for their community and for their country.So does Labour.
"I don’t believe that the Labour Party can do that."Belief is a mental state, often determined by social and linguistic environment, and certainly influenced by desires, fears and intentions. It is not the same as fact, and Labour would claim the same objectives.
"The Labour Party is the party of class warfare and class division. They set people against people, rich against poor, north against south, haves against have nots. If it’s for their political convenience they will sow division not unity."Um.. if it's for political convenience, so will Conservatives. Socialism embraces the foundational Christian principles and advocates a fairer society. Please don't delude yourself in the belief that Mrs Thatcher didn't sow division.
"It is an astonishing truth – but a truth nonetheless – that every single Labour government we have ever been cursed with has left the country bankrupt or near bankrupt, with incoming Conservative governments having to clear up the mess they left behind."That's true enough.
"There are people in this country who will be paying the debts of the last Labour government for a generation or more."That's also true.
"There are young people who were at school, and are now in work, whose taxes are higher, and who will have fewer opportunities because of what that last Labour government did."Quite so.
So the uniqueness of the Conservative "moral mission" really all comes down to Mammon. Pity Sir John didn't mention marriage, the family and children. Pity he didn't mention personal responsibility which stems from the Christian understanding that choice is at the heart of the human condition, and that we have the opportunity to choose between right and wrong, good and evil. Pity he didn't mention national sovereignty and the ability of the people to assert their identity and rejoice in their origins, purpose and destiny. Pity he didn't mention the preservation of religion, of Christianity, as one of the highest duties of government.
Margaret Thatcher would have done so. She once said:
I believe strongly that politicians must see that religious education has a proper place in the school curriculum. In Scotland, as in England, there is an historic connection expressed in our laws between Church and State. The two connections are of a somewhat different kind, but the arrangements in both countries are designed to give symbolic expression to the same crucial truth: that the Christian religion – which, of course, embodies many of the great spiritual and moral truths of Judaism – is a fundamental part of our national heritage. And I believe it is the wish of the overwhelming majority of people that this heritage should be preserved and fostered. For centuries it has been our very life blood. And indeed we are a nation whose ideals are founded on the Bible.Now that's what His Grace calls a moral mission.