ROBIN POPLEY is the chair of the Britannia Alliance – A Conservative Group hoping to catch the imagination of fellow Tories. Robin writes exclusively for Politicalite.
I am a High Tory… yeah, I know what you think.
Some people still believe in traditional values, like Church, Crown and Country?
“But… it is (insert year)!”
Sometimes I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle to try and keep the flag of Toryism flying high. In an ultra-modern liberal-world, where everyone can turn on their iPhones, to learn the latest news story – which used to be only available in print journalism – you can even now talk to your phone to ask it to take a selfie of yourself without the real need to exert too much energy.
Whilst I do not decry modern technology, in fact, I often champion it and use it myself: I have to be honest. All this 100 mph new-world thinking we now have at our fingertips somehow feels a bit uneasy to me. Almost like we have too much information at the touch of a button.
I’m often caught discussing my beliefs with fellow Conservatives – with some of the New Right telling me that I am a ‘socialist’ because I believe in Communitarianism. If I had a £1 for anytime I must have had this conversation, I’d be well on the way to becoming a millionaire now.
The problem I have is a lot of people conjure up imagery of Margaret Thatcher, a lady who I admire for breaking the glass ceiling of politics at a time when women were still often derided for being a woman in a ‘man’s world’ but, beyond that, my Tory values conflict with her more Classic Liberal meets Libertarian outlook on the world. I know ‘social Liberals’ will hate me using that word in conjunction with a person they so often like to bemoan in passing but the fact of the matter is, her hero was William Ewart Gladstone, Liberal Prime Minister and champion of the Free Trading world – alongside Adam Smith, another liberal Free Marketeer from the 18th Century.
I don’t deny that trade has opened up a lot of dialogues which once were far-flung ideas but, I fear sadly the things we’ve given away to unfettered free markets have been our undoing. Remember that old chestnut, “British Jobs for British Workers?” Under the new order, that sort of saying is mere lip service and hardly likely to come to fruition, yet I speak out in favour of protectionism – as is the Tory way – and yep, you’ve guessed it… On to a proverbial hiding, here I come.
It’s not that I am against trading with other countries but I believe in fair trade and to secure that you have to be pragmatic and also be somewhat protectionist in order to get the best deal for your country. Very often, we have got into this mindset where it doesn’t matter where we get it, as long as it’s cheap but what sort of culture does that create? Especially for people trying to get their break?
Because something is cheaper, doesn’t always make it better.
Again, because I want to conserve British interests, also gets me a fair share of criticism. Apparently, it is ‘backwards’ to want to see your country “leading the way”. I laugh it off as best I can. Anyone who really knows me, will, in fact, concur with the notion that I am inherently supportive of national identities: whoever and wherever they are in their origin. Notwithstanding, I do fear that given our country’s imperial past, people now feel like they have to say sorry about anything patriotic – even if it is at the base level. Being outwardly proud of our country has again been seen as taboo.
When did it get so bad that we have to feel ashamed of who we are?
That’s when The Britannia Alliance became a bit of a blessed relief for me.
Founded by Matt Gravill in Autumn 2017, the group has already grown to a very strong contingent indeed and boasts the fact that we pride ourselves on being a High Tory conservative movement. Something for the more traditionally conservative, if you will. We won’t deride you if you prefer the old ways. I know I certainly do. Anything worth preserving takes years to perfect.
I am flattered to have been asked to chair, The Britannia Alliance. In my capacity as Chairman, I get to meet many fellow High Tories who may or may not agree with some of my views – especially on trade (that will remain a sticking point across the entire party I am sure, as certain as I am that the night is long).
However, we are unequivocally united on core values of Toryism – which include; communitarianism favourable of an organic society (not socialism, which brings it back to class) – with richer and poorer living side by side and staving off greed and self-interest, the need to preserve core units and institutions like the family, church and the law and above all else, being unashamed of who we are: Britons.
I might be fighting against a rampant tide, but, fight on – I will.
High Toryism is worth fighting for… even if it is (insert year!)