The hijack of language
The duty of conservatives is to reclaim the words that are driving the culture off the cliff
The Conservative Party in Britain is in trouble. Many natural conservatives have written it off as rudderless, leaderless and useless. Tory MPs are forming silos of attitudes that they believe define conservatism but which cancel each other out in a welter of recrimination, panic and closed minds.
As they miserably thrash around, we hear over and over again the irritated complaint: “Don’t go on about the culture wars. Ordinary people have no time for all that nonsense. What they want to hear from us is how to improve their standard of living. Oh, and stopping immigration, of course. Oh, and dealing with crime. All that culture war stuff is irrelevant to them. It’s a distraction from the real challenge: saving the Conservative Party”.
This is myopia on stilts. Culture — the attitudes that shape the zeitgeist and the national conversation — is not irrelevant to politics. It drives politics. Ordinary people may regard the battles of the culture war as taking place in a weird and distant galaxy called Intelligentsia. But the issues involved have a direct bearing on their lives, their families, their communities and their nation.
If the nation and its culture finally slide off the edge of the cliff, the Tories will slide with it. The Conservative Party will only stand a chance of being saved if the nation and its culture are saved.
But how is the culture to be saved from falling off the edge of the cliff towards which it has been sliding for decades?
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