Ordinarily this should have raised some complaints from conservative voices. After all, how on earth do you have a healthy political discussion when the gap between fantasy and reality is that big?
But the fact is that almost nobody dared. An embarrassing Akin-like figure, a Conservative back-bencher who was previously known for having attended a stag-party where one member had been dressed in a Nazi costume, sent out two tweets criticizing the Olympic opening ceremony. The full force of the Twitter mob came down on him and the Conservative party, understandably eager not to get on the wrong side of the pro-Olympics mood, sought to distance themselves not only from the backbench MP in question, but from any sentiment which came from him — particularly given the risk of being linked not only to an unwise comment by a fellow Conservative MP, but a fellow Conservative MP who had foolishly gone along with a Nazi-themed prank.
A Labour MP, Paul Flynn, subsequently referred to the opening ceremony and the overtly leftist themes of much of it by writing that, “Wonderfully progressive socialist sentiments and ideas were smuggled into the opening romp. The Tory Olympic twosome were tricked into praising the Trojan Horse. [Prime Minister David] Cameron and [London Mayor] Boris [Johnson] could not condemn the wonders.”
It only took a few weeks for a member of the Conservative cabinet to formalize this by writing a piece in which he argued that Conservatives must pass what he referred to as “The Danny Boyle Test.” That is, they must show themselves to be not only down with the sentiment on display in the Olympic opening ceremony, but must consider it a bar which they must necessarily leap over.
This is the way in which conservatives on both sides of the Atlantic get stuck. When the full-tide of left-wing smear and innuendo are arraigned against them conservatives have developed a tendency not of standing up for, or explaining, their principles, but running for the left-wing foot-hills. So what is the answer to this?
It lies simply in individuals arguing and explaining their principles as best they can. Along the way, it is worth arguing with the left on some of that ground which they have presumed to take for their own. Among the things Ms. Fluke, Mr. Flynn and all the blackmailers of conservative sentiment believe they have on their political side is a presumption of indecency on the part of their opponents.
The job of conservatives should not be to fall for this trick, but simply to explain conservative-minded policies as clearly as possible. Among them might be that conservatives are not in favour of rape or mass death. But if we are going to talk the language of decency with people of different political stripes we will have to stress that there is something profoundly indecent about running up debt for generations not-yet-born to cover your particular habits, be they contraceptive or a creakily and underperforming welfare model.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
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