During a General Election campaign, policy is not decided by ministers on the advice of officials and collectively agreed: it is decided by the Leader supported by political advisers unknown.

Liberty is always freedom from the government - Mises poster
Liberty is always freedom from the government

Candidates are not involved and even relevant secretaries of state are taken by surprise when policy is announced. It is perhaps the worst aspect of the democratic process and I have no reason to think it is not common to the Labour party.

In that context, before any more policy is announced, I want to be absolutely clear where I stand for the electors of Wycombe: I am for liberty under the rule of law and Parliamentary democracy. History has proven time and time again that liberty under law – not compulsion and planning – is the surest road to peace and prosperity. 

That is, when people are doing no harm, government should leave them to work through their own virtues and vices in voluntary association with other people. Government ought to provide a quality, affordable safety net, but MPs and ministers are no more perfect than everyone else and should have the humility to act accordingly.

On the basis of long experience, I am surer of this today than when I first set out where I stand 15 years or so ago:

The Conservative Party ought to be a moderate, thoughtful, professional, compassionate and resolute vehicle for these views. I know the Conservative voters of #Wycombe agree because we have been actively talking with people at home for months.

My team and I continue to prepare for a full and robust campaign in Wycombe. Alas that we do not know what will be in the manifesto. I have no doubt it will contain measures of which I disapprove. I will in the future as in the past navigate these issues as best I can to serve local people, especially in fulfilment of the principles and expectations of Conservative voters. 

This is an old problem. You can read about it in “A Politician in Sight of Haven”, Auberon Herbert (1890), here.

There is much more to be said. If you are interested what I think and why I have done what I have done, my two interviews with Nick Robinson on Political Thinking may be found here and here.

Comments are closed.