The Conservative Party is the most successful British political party. Our electoral record of success surpasses that of our political rivals. The Conservatives have been in office for the majority of the time that Britain has had a mass democracy. Quite simply, the Conservatives are the governing party of modern British politics.
I thought it important that we remind ourselves of that. For weeks now there has been headline after headline and article after article on how our party is doomed, “finished for at least a generation”, and that it will “forfeit its political relevance”. With headlines like that, who needs an opposition party. I welcome the fact that there is a new energy and enthusiasm to develop fresh ideas. I welcome that there are MPs more interested in thinking than drinking – well, maybe thinking and drinking – but I do not buy these arguments of impending political Armageddon, and I am certainly not convinced that a party that has such a vibrant youth activist base is incapable of appealing to young people.
I’m fed up of all the doom and gloom. I’m fed up of us talking ourselves down when actually our party has a great story to tell. It’s time to inject some optimism. I couldn’t agree with my colleague Priti Patel more when she said to The House magazine that “The relentless negativity associated by politicians – actually, the establishment in Westminster and Whitehall – is dreadful. They should be at the forefront of being advocates of change, taking on the reins of freedom, empowerment, meritocracy, looking at what change could mean for our country.” In 1987 43% of 18- to 24-year-olds voted Conservative. Why? Because the party was entirely in tune with the aspirations of the British public.
Our party is at its best when we advocate and embrace our basic and fundamental values of freedom, liberty, democracy, capitalism, free enterprise, deregulation, wealth creation, choice, property ownership, law and order, nationhood and strong but limited government.
When we stick to our values and fight for our principles, we win.