A central tennant of the Conservative Party is that of the small state. In other words: minimal governance and regulation, a belief in market forces and minimal commitment to citizens who are then exposed to exploitation and misery. If you want a more technical summary check Wikipedia.
Establishing a small state means convincing your electorate that:
- there are not the resources available to help everyone, only those who deserve help. (The order of merit is decided in Westminster, or more likely by the PM)
- the country doesn’t have the space to welcome those who need safe harbour. (Only those who can pay large sums to the Party are welcome).
- the sick, disabled or elderly have no right to expect help. They are a drain on our limited resources.
- employees should be grateful to their employers, how dare they expect to be treated with respect.
- the legal system exists to protect the wealthy.
- the education system exists to babysit the children of the workers so they can be productive to increase the wealth of the employers.
- the health service could charge the sick
- those who choose to look after the sick have chosen to be poor but virtuous (so we can clap for them)
- the media exist to prevent citizens thinking for themselves
In the UK we are now seeing the same destructive forces at work as we saw in the USA under Trump. No-one is safe, only the small minority who are seriously wealthy.
Do we need to give credence to this small state ideology? Merely asserting it as an approach helps the right to triumph by dividing opinion and leaving space for their domination. #notmypm was never your friend.
Let’s think about the reality of human life for most ordinary people and what we value:
- We have loved ones who we care for, we do not ask for financial reward. We look for mutual respect and love in return.
- We want to see others happy and secure. It makes us feel better about our world.
- We want to stop the destruction of the planet, reverse climate change and offer a better future for the generations to come.
- We understand that life is challenging. We want good decision making at all levels of society to reflect how we care for each other.
A small state cannot offer the care and safeguards we require. We saw that during the pandemic. The Tory party had to put aside their obsession with non intervention, they knew they would ultimately be held to account if they didn’t take big steps. They took those big steps reluctantly, too late and not without self interest. They had no choice but to take them, there are more of us than there are of them – even at the death rate we witnessed. Now we should take those lessons to heart and push back against the small state ideology, demand that our governments establish proper protection for all, not just those who can pay. Demand that our human rights are protected. Demand that people come before profit.