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Daily Telegraph: In death, Margaret Thatcher still leads the world's conservatives

    Daniel Hannan argues 'Only one name could have brought so many political and intellectual leaders together in one place. More than a year after her funeral, Margaret Thatcher remains the queen of global conservatism.' He will be speaking at the Margaret Thatcher Conference on Liberty on Wednesday 18th June.  

    To read the full article, see the Daily Telegraph website

    "Only one name could have brought so many political and intellectual leaders together in one place. More than a year after her funeral, Margaret Thatcher remains the queen of global conservatism.  The Anglosphere is especially well represented at tomorrow’s CPS Liberty Conference: V.S. Naipaul, Art Laffer, General Petraeus, Deepak Lal, Jonah Goldberg, Jason Kenney, architect of the Canadian Conservatives’ victory, and John Howard, four-times prime minister of Australia and the most successful Rightist politician of my lifetime.

    The lady would have approved. Shortly after leaving office, she declared – truthfully enough, I suppose, if undiplomatically – that, throughout her lifetime, Britain’s problems had come from Europe, and the solutions to those problems had come from the English-speaking world.

    It’s natural that different groups should find their differing ideologies reflected in Margaret Thatcher. Anglospherists see an Anglospherist, libertarians a libertarian, conservatives a conservative, pragmatists a pragmatist. At the risk of boring readers, who tell me they have had quite enough of my lectures about Magna Carta, I see a Whig.

    In 1989, Margaret Thatcher was invited to Paris, along with other world leaders, to celebrate the bicentenary of the French Revolution. She felt in her bones that it would be wrong to go. It wasn’t just that the French Revolution had ushered in a series of wars with Britain. It was that the values of that revolution—the statism, the violence, the enforced equality, the anticlericalism—were the opposite of everything she took to be the true basis of freedom.

    François Mitterand, wiliest of French presidents, decided to host the G7 summit in Paris over the date of the bicentenary, thereby more or less obliging the British prime minister to attend. She was not happy, and gave vent to her feelings in an interview with a French newspaper:

    Human rights did not begin with the French Revolution; they stem from a mixture of Judaism and Christianity. We had 1688, our quiet revolution, where Parliament exerted its will over the King. It was not the sort of Revolution that France’s was. “Liberty, equality, fraternity”—they forgot obligations and duties I think. And then of course the fraternity went missing for a long time.

    Again, the words were monstrously undiplomatic and, again, the underlying analysis was accurate enough. Democracy in the revolutionary tradition of the Continent often led to authoritarianism. It had its roots in the collectivist philosophies of Herder and Hegel and Rousseau, and saw the state as an expression of something greater than the citizens who comprised it. In the Anglosphere, by contrast, representative government was evolved as an ally and protector of liberty and property."

    To read the full article, see the Daily Telegraph website


    Date added: Tuesday 17th June 2014