In response to the CPF consultation on Making The Case for Responsibility, we received substantive submissions from 56 CPF groups, representing at least 627 members from 78 constituencies plus two Conservatives Abroad groups. Just over one-in-eight (13%) of those who participated had not previously done so. Thank you to everybody who let us know their views.
This was the third in our series of consultations launched in response to a call from our members for “further discussion and debate on core Conservative values and how these can be promoted across the UK.” In the context of reflecting on our Party’s unchanging values, this series invited members to grapple very practically with the biggest challenges facing the country—namely, the cost of living, energy security, healthcare, and our place on the world stage.
As a result of discussions with the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, it was hoped that the series would also help to strengthen grassroots Conservatism and make the Conservative case to voters at the next election. This hope has begun to be realised with the publication of a CPF member-produced leaflet making the case for economic freedom—that is, capitalism. To our knowledge, this is the first CPF campaigning leaflet (as opposed to briefing documents) since the days we were known as the Conservative Political Centre (CPC)—in the last century. Our intention is to build on this by inviting CPF representatives to help develop further such leaflets.
Particular congratulations to the following CPF Groups, which submitted the most noteworthy submissions:
Thirsk and Malton
* a newly-created group
CPF groups will welcome several recent government announcements relating to their discussions, including:
Below is a snapshot of the top themes raised by CPF groups. A more detailed collation of responses has been sent to the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit, the Party Chairman and the CPF Chairman. As usual, we look forward to publishing a formal response to members’ ideas in due course.
Overview of Top Themes
“When Gandhi was asked by HG Wells to support the movement for the Declaration of Human Rights, he refused, retorting, ‘You are quite wrong about this. You should be talking about human responsibilities.’”
“‘Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.’ (JF Kennedy)”
Surveys of people from across the globe indicate that political conservatives are more satisfied with their lives than liberals. This is partly attributed to “a greater emphasis on a balance between rights and responsibilities, with group members being accountable to one another for regulating their conduct in ways that promote the group’s values and goals while at the same time pursuing their own individual interests to the best of their abilities.” Personal responsibility to instigate and manage life goals is essential for a free-market economy to succeed; and social responsibility of an individual, an institution or the state is essential for creating equal opportunities for all.
CPF groups were clear that Conservative policymaking should entrust responsibility to individuals. It should give individuals a choice, provide a positive outcome and improve people’s lives, actively putting the interest of the British people first and foremost.
One-in-three (33%) affirmed that accountability, both personal and political, is a key component of responsibility.
Over one-in-four (26%) highlighted that today’s culture emphasises rights at the expense of responsibility.
Three-out-of-four (75%) called for better education, starting in school for financial knowledge and literacy; especially around pension provision and savings.
Over half (56%) stressed the need to offer more support to families, especially parents.
Almost half (47%) highlighted how “high house prices make it very difficult for the young to gain a genuine stake in the economy”.
About one-in-three (31%) identified the “nanny state”, “authoritarian bureaucracy” and “excessive regulation and taxation” as the biggest threat to responsibility.
One-in-six (17%) expressed concern that “requirements to protect any group that claims to be marginalised are a major threat to freedom of thought and expression”.
Almost one-in-five (19%) called for review of the 45-year-old Barnett Formula “to ensure more equal in treatment of the whole UK population”.
Over two-in-five (44%) welcomed “the precedence of Energy Security before Net Zero in the new Department’s title”.
Over one-in-three (35%) again urged the development of new nuclear power stations, especially SMRs, and one-in-six (17%) urged support for fracking.
One-in-three (35%) want to see more done to encourage people to look after themselves: through diet, exercise, health checks; reduce smoking, drinking, obesity.
One-in-three (33%) called for reform of the NHS, including a Royal Commission.
One-in-four (27%) recommended introducing a modest payment for access to primary healthcare (as with dentistry, with rebate for those on benefits).
Almost one-in-three (30%) called for greater targeting and scrutiny of overseas aid.
Other specific ideas included:
Set up a free national financial education scheme, rolled out to employees via their workplace learning, with targeted workshops for the 4million+ microbusiness owners.
Set reduction targets on the consumption of ultra-processed foods, as in France.
Label medicines with the actual cost to the NHS of providing them.
More use of private health services at agreed NHS rates, including dentistry.