In response to the CPF consultation on Making The Case for Freedom, we received substantive submissions from 69 CPF groups, representing at least 698 members from 89 constituencies plus four Conservatives Abroad groups. Just under one-in-five (19%) 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 and East Dorset
Broadland and Norwich
Arundel and South Downs
Cities of London and Westminster
South West Devon
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
“I can choose better than you can how to live my life.”
“Freedom should mean minimal government, laws and regulation.”
“Would you prefer to live in North Korea or South Korea, India or Myanmar, China or Japan, Russia or Ukraine?”
CPF Groups were clear in how the Party should present its belief in freedom:
Freedom is essential to the flourishing of individuals and societies. It fosters creativity, innovation, and progress, leading to greater prosperity and well-being. It allows people to pursue their own interests and goals, make choices about their lives and realise their full potential. Freedom is a balancing act between personal rights to speak, think and act in the way we choose while not curtailing those same rights for others. It is the right to live without fear or intimidation.
Conservative freedom emphasises the ability to make personal choices for yourself and be responsible for those decisions within a society that is governed by laws that protect a person’s right to choose. It therefore seeks to protect individual liberties and limit government interference in people’s lives. It consists of three main elements: political freedom, which allows people to change their own government and prevents dictatorship; economic freedom, which allows everyone to make the best use of their talents and is the best way to allocate economic resources; and freedom of speech, which makes the other two possible. Essentially, we should be able to do anything which doesn’t harm others.
In order to promote freedom to the next generation, two-in-five CPF Groups (40%) called for more concerted action against the divisive “woke” agenda, which “is making it harder to share open, honest discussion without fear or favour.” Other ideas included:
Teach children about the importance and value of freedom.
Encourage critical thinking and respect for diverse perspectives.
Encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
Promote a type of National Service (community or charity work or in the forces).
Give families more control over their children’s education.
The Human Freedom Index (HFI) uses 83 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom to present a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It ranks the top ten countries as: Switzerland, New Zealand, Estonia, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg.
The countries most often named as best exemplifying the benefits of freedom were: USA (34%), UK (27%), Switzerland (18%), Germany (15%), South Korea (13%) and Ukraine (12%).
The countries most often named for what can go wrong when freedom is neglected or abused were: Russia (54%), China (52%), North Korea (33%), Venezuela (18%), UK (16%), Hong Kong (16%), Iran (15%), Afghanistan (13%) and Myanmar (12%).
The most frequently quoted leaders were, together with their most frequently cited quotations:
Nelson Mandela: “To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Winston Churchill: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.”
George Orwell: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Ronald Reagan: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. ... It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same.”
Other notable quotations included:
Samantha Power: “It is time to coalesce around a new agenda for aiding the cause of global freedom, one that addresses the economic grievances that populists have so effectively exploited, that defangs so-called digital authoritarianism, and that reorients traditional democracy assistance to grapple with modern challenges.” (How Democracy Can Win: The Right Way to Counter Autocracy)
George Bernard Shaw: “Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
Aung San Suu Kyi: “The only real prison is fear, and the only real freedom is freedom from fear.”
Suggestions of what freedom should look like when translated into policy included:
i. Cost of living:
Maintain a social safety net for low-income households.
Encourage competition to drive down prices and improve the quality of service.
Reduce the cost of government and the size of the state’s involvement in everyday life.
ii. Energy security:
One-in-three Groups (31%) urged for investment in nuclear power and one-in-five (18%) in fracking.
Two-in-nine (22%) called for a better balance between economic and environmental objectives while new technology is still being developed.
Carry out a serious strategic review and security risk assessment on energy and food supplies, our infrastructure programme, national grid, minerals access and contingency measures.
Break the link between gas and electricity prices and reform the energy market so that renewable energy generation can bring energy costs down.
iii. Health and social care:
Re-establish an ethos of responsibility, e.g. families taking care of elderly relatives.
Focus investment on training and recruiting UK doctors and nurses.
Reduce wastage of resources and cut excessive bureaucracy.
iv. Global influence:
Promote the reform of the United Nations. Fight for ethical standards from other member states.
Continue funding of the BBC World Service, especially foreign language broadcasts.
Start a campaign to highlight Brexit success stories, in the UK and abroad.
Other observations included:
“The immigration of the past sixty years has immensely added to our culture, prosperity, and made us a kinder and better country, just as it has in the USA.” (Cf. Immigrant Entrepreneurs and U.S. Billion-Dollar Companies)
Most new laws have some effect on personal freedom, so should be accompanied by an impact assessment before coming into force.