A group of Conservative MPs have launched an astonishing attack on liberal values. Their new publication is skeptical of free trade, making them less free market than the current Labour leadership. The front-man of this Tory Taliban grouping, Edward Leigh MP, has previously courted controversy by saying that he wears his anti-gay stance “as a badge of honour”.
Tory MP Alan Duncan recently wrote that:
“Our achilles heel, though, has been our social attitude. Censorious judgmentalism from the moralising wing, which treats half our own countrymen as enemies, must be rooted out. We should take JS Mill as our lodestar, and allow people to live as they choose until they actually harm someone. If the Tory Taliban can’t get that, they’ll condemn us all to oblivion.”
Yet a tidlewave of social conservatism is currently bombarding Conservative MPs. The main proponents are the Centre for Social
Fascism Justice and Conservative Home, a website run by an associate of the Centre, Tim Montgomerie. The risk for the Tories is that if they go fascist authoritarian, the more moderate Tories will defect to Liberal Democrats, where some quite prominent members of the party are openly talking about moving to a more economically liberal position.
Indeed, the Liberals advocated the abolition of the “corporatist” Department of Trade and Industry in the run up to the last general election. The party’s Trade and Industry spokesman Malcolm Bruce said: “Abolishing the DTI and transferring its useful functions to other departments will be the biggest single act of deregulation in history.” The Tories opposed the move.
The Lib Dems, if they want to kick the Tories into third place, should be praying that the Tory Taliban is successful.