In response to the CPF consultation on Making The Case for Capitalism, we received substantive submissions from 70 CPF groups, representing at least 726 members from 98 constituencies plus four Conservatives Abroad groups. Over one-in-four (26%) of those who participated had not previously done so. Thank you to everybody who let us know their views.
Particular congratulations to the following CPF Groups, which submitted the most noteworthy submissions:
Christchurch & East Dorset
Broadland & Norwich
Grantham & Stamford
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
“Use another term, such as the ‘free market’.”
“‘Opportunities for all’ should be our mantra.”
CPF Groups were clear in how the Party should present its belief in capitalism:
A free-market economy with responsible regulation is the most powerful economic system for raising people out of poverty and for building successful societies. Materially, it has given us all the technological innovations that shape our world today. Morally, it offers individuals and businesses the freedom to flourish and achieve their potential without undue interference from government. It is the only system that creates opportunity, choice and the incentive to be better. It rewards hard work and entrepreneurship—encouraging aspiration, interdependence, personal responsibility and self-worth.
Private enterprise in a free-market economy provides jobs and raises taxes to support the public sector and contribute to the welfare of the less fortunate in our communities. Tempered by democratic and common-sense checks and balances, it benefits all of society and all individuals. If taxation or regulation is too severe, however, then people lose the reason to work and create. Raising living standards and creating hope, opportunity and success—this is what “capitalism” or “economic freedom” means.
In order to promote capitalism to the next generation, CPF Members’ ideas included:
Highlight international analysis showing that economically free nations out-perform non-free nations in indicators of wellbeing.
Teach in schools about different economic systems, the basic principles of capitalism and how to start a business, perhaps within the existing citizenship syllabus.
Use the private and charitable sectors to improve the teaching of maths in schools.
Support more apprenticeships and education in trades, technology and business.
Encourage wider share ownership, so more people share in the wealth created by capitalism.
Create more opportunities for young people to own their own homes, giving them a greater sense of independence and a stake in society.
The international examples that CPF Groups thought best exemplify the benefits of capitalism were Singapore, USA and South Korea, along with success stories such as Dyson, Branson and JCB. The examples identified as best highlighting what can go wrong when capitalism is neglected or abused were: Venezuela, Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba and Zimbabwe.
The most frequently quoted leaders were, together with their most frequently cited quotations:
Winston Churchill: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
Margaret Thatcher: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money” and “That is what capitalism is: a system that brings wealth to the many, not just the few.”
Suggestions of what capitalism should look like when translated into policy included:
i. Cost of living:
Small government: less intervention.
Nominate and protect strategic industries from overseas purchase, as the French do.
Include food within the nation’s security policy.
ii. Energy security:
Take a longer-term view of energy supply and energy infrastructure.
Promote competition and innovation: deregulate the market, promote development of new technologies and encourage the entry of new players into the market.
Encourage lower energy use (through volume-based energy pricing).
iii. NHS health and social care:
Embrace outcomes-based reforms across the entire public sector.
Hospital and NHS leaders need to be held to account for performance, with much more transparency about NHS performance.
iv. Global influence:
Promote the country as a business-friendly environment by reducing taxes, regulations and bureaucracy, and providing support for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Use our foreign aid and influence to support private companies rather than governments.
To get involved with Making The Case for Conservatism, be sure to contact your local Conservative Association and give your input to the next briefing in this series.