CITY OF LONDON, United Kingdom – British Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove yesterday stated the case for diversity within the Conservative Party, and offered his support for the idea of the nation state.
Gove, who was introduced to the Centre for Policy Studies’ Liberty 2014 conference as, “the man who is hated by all of the people you hate” commented on the expectations of conservatives on a panel entitled, “What does it mean to be a Conservative?”
The Education Secretary was the toast of the last event of the day, celebrated by National Review Editor Rich Lowry due to the condemnation of him by Britain’s National Union of Teachers. Lavished with praise, Gove tried to remain serious looking in front of the the mainstream media photographers.
Gove told an anecdote about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who he met last month. Christie was told by local activists that he “wasn’t welcome” in a district that vote against him by 97 percent to 3 percent. The activist remarked that Christie was a “divisive” figure, to which the Governor replied, “Divisive? Ninety-seven percent of people voted against me… you’ve never been so united!”
“You can be a Whig and in the Tory party, you can be a Manchester liberal and the in Tory party,” said Gove. “The reason why we need to be so broad is that the conservative position is nourished by many currents and rivers of thought.”
He channelled Edmund Burke, who noted that “society is a contract between the dead, living, and those yet to be born.”
He went on: “Conservatives like the quirky. The appreciate that diversity, proper diversity, means that things will be different in different parts of your country and different parts of your realm.”
Uniformity, he said, is “unconservative” because it undermines the “rights of local communities”
“The Conservative Party must be a national party or be nothing”, he said, remarking upon how the Tories need to appeal to the many number of political visions across the country.
Speaking on nationalism, Gove was in favour. He said: “Nation states are the best way that rule of law, representative democracy, and social solidarity can be held together in an emotional and meaningful way.”
Lowry, from National Review, made the point that conservatives should be positive, as opposed to their enemies on the other side of the political spectrum. “We should be joyful, let the left be dour and humourless,” he said.
The conference in London was organised by the Centre for Policy Studies in honour of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Former First Lady Nancy Reagan sent a message of congratulations to the event organisers, who also attracted keynote speakers such as Niall Ferguson, Roger Scruton, Jonah Goldberg, Daniel Hannan MEP, Dr. Art Laffer, and John O’Sullivan.