A new radical consensus: trust the people
Each week the New Social Covenant Unit recognises Members of Parliament for their covenantal credentials as spotted on the green benches.
This week, the debate on the new Covid-19 regulations saw MPs from across the House venture into new political territory. Could a new radical consensus be emerging from the fall out over the restrictions?
On Tuesday night, both left and right resisted authoritarian and ‘laissez faire’ instincts, instead calling on the government to create the conditions for virtue through governance that trusts the people.
Do it for the common good, says Caroline Lucas MP
First up, here is Green Party MP Caroline Lucas calling on the government to be honour the ‘common good’ as opposed to more coercive measures.
If we want more people to be vaccinated—and believe me, I absolutely do—that is the bottom line, but we have to build the sense that vaccination is being done for the community, not to it. It is for the common good. Behavioural science clearly indicates that coercion undermines the relationships we need to build and the respect we must show one another in order to increase vaccination rates, and we do everyone a massive disservice by ignoring that science.
Trust the people, says Jane Stevenson MP
In the same debate, Tory Jane Stevenson said that a mandatory approach to vaccination defies conservative principles.
The vast majority of my constituents and the British people will do everything asked of them by the Government, without it needing to be mandated. They have been incredible throughout this pandemic; they have acted in the interests of themselves, their families, their communities, their cities and their towns.
I humbly ask the Government to get back to our Conservative principles of trusting the British people. […] I make a last plea to the Government; in order to go forward together as a nation, we have to stop passing never-ending regulations and move forward in a voluntary, community, public-spirited way.
The job of government is to create the conditions of virtue to do the right thing. That means strengthening the family, community and the nation to foster a culture of generosity and reciprocity. This is the only way to fight Covid 19.
Elsewhere, Steve Baker MP revealed his communitarian persuasions by sponsoring a debate on ‘Co-operatives and Mutual Societies’ quoting the 20th century classical liberal Ludwig von Mises:
Society is cooperation; it is community in action.
And, ultra traditionalist Sir John Hayes MP did not let us down in his question to the Foreign Secretary on the review in to the Human Rights Act:
The Secretary of State is to be commended on the statement, but will he be clear that we need to challenge the very principle of natural rights, which gave rise to the Human Rights Act? It has had the effect of emphasising individual interest above social solidarity, weakening communal will and undermining the sovereignty of this Parliament, which is and always has been the primary guarantor of Britain’s rights.
And there you have it. Three Tories from different wings of the party and a Green, all endorsing the principles of the new social covenant. This is the new radical consensus.
Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas!