“Fairness” is something every political Party should hold close to its heart. The principle of fairness underlies everything we do, as members of our community and as politicians. How do our action effect others? Do they hurt one group more than another? Are our policies truly fair? It’s something I think about a lot, and if you’re a politician as I am, I’m certain you do too.
For too long, the Left have claimed they are the champions of fairness and equality. The Left, a group where most of them have never had a woman leader, tell us they are the final arbiters of fairness and equality. They are not. As our Prime Minister said only recently, it is the Conservatives who are building a stronger, fairer United Kingdom that works for all of us, while Labour mires itself in antisemitism and purges those who aren’t loyal enough to the baying mob that now controls their party. Conference, I don’t know about you but that doesn’t seem like the actions of a champion of fairness to me.
Throughout my lifetime, the Conservative party has been the champion of merit, of getting stuck in and working hard so you can build a better life; for you, for your family and for your community.
We are the party of the first woman MP to sit in Parliament; the Party that first made a woman Prime Minister, and the second as well. Meanwhile Labour can’t even get a woman as Leader of the Opposition – something we also managed, by the way.
We are the party that made marriage equal for everyone, when the Left wanted a separate process to keep gays and straights apart. As Home Secretary, Theresa May fought stop and search being used to harass people based solely on the colour of their skin. She also brought forward the Modern Slavery Act, to fight the plague of people-trafficking. That’s fairness and equality in action.
So when the Left claims the moral high ground on fairness, I honestly don’t know what they are talking about.
But we can’t be complacent. There are still “firsts” to be had on the road to full equality. We still need to demonstrate full fairness; and that means representation for the widest number of people and communities in Parliament. Representative Democracy works best if those who are being represented have someone like them in the Commons, arguing their case from experience rather than passed-on information.
And let’s face it, if the Left get there before us, we will never hear the end of it.
So let’s look to the future. How do we make our country stronger? How do we make it fairer? By sticking to our Conservative values. Promoting family. Promoting work and the free market as the only way to raise people from poverty. By opening the UK up to free trade, both with the Commonwealth and outside it. We are doing all this already; but we need to go further. We need our local politicians and our activists in the community to do it, too.
We need more house building, in the right places, to make it possible for young people and young families to own their own home; to feel they have a stake in their communities. We need more investment and initiatives in the areas where families haven’t worked in generations, to bring them jobs so they can work. We can do that in our communities – we are doing it already, but we need to go further. That’s how we, together, can make the United Kingdom stronger, and fairer, now and into the future.