Friday, 28 May 2010

Zac Goldsmith professes true Conservatism

The maiden speech season is upon us and the newly elected Conservative MP for Richmond Park, Zac Goldsmith, has used his to assert that true conservative philosophy is inherently concerned with environmental stewardship.

I am a constituent of Richmond Park and I worked closely with Zac during the final stages of his victorious campaign. He is a genuinely good man who carries deep, sincere beliefs about a better, more sustainable future and takes a profound personal interest in his (environmentally beautiful) constituency. His most striking feature is, oddly perhaps given his perceived celebrity, his quiet shyness.

I have no doubt whatsoever that he will be one of our most valuable and impressive parliamentarians. He will push the Liberal-Conservative government all the way on environmental issues and I would not rule out early promotion to the front benches.
The Conservative Party needs more MPs like Zac, who value natural environment and want to safeguard it for future generations.

The people who denounce those expressing such beliefs as "eco-nutters", "bean eating munchie nonsense" and the sort, as several have commented on ConservativeHome, are NOT true Conservatives and do not understand the true origins of conservative philosophy. They are unreconstructed neo-liberals who have a distorted, expedient perception of Conservatism as a vehicle solely  for New Right economics and irresponsible libertarianism.

Note that the word "conservative" is a derivative of the word "conserve".  A core tenet of conservatism is to conserve the best bits of what we already have.  We are blessed in the British Isles to be surrounded by some of the most achingly arresting countryside in the world.  By and large, this is not a wild environment.  As Francis Pryor argues in The Making of the British Landscape, British people have shaped the natural world around them and that world has shaped us.

We continue to shape our natural world.  Regrettably, we are increasingly shaping it for the worse.  The Conservative Party can and should lead on the environment. With MPs like Zac Goldsmith, there is a chance that we shall.

Zac closed his maiden speech with these words:
"Stewardship; looking out for future generations and recognising limits, particularly nature’s limits; providing security—these are core Conservative values. For as long as I am able to stay in this House, they are values that I will stand up for."

If you consider yourself a Conservative, I implore you to stand up for them too. 

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