The need for civility on the Right
By Matthew Barrett
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This is the final offering in our six-part week-long series looking at 'The Wrong Right'. In three of its parts, Tim Montgomerie looked at the malign influence of a right-wing entertainment complex, the need to update centre right thinking on blue collar Britain and why Conservatives need (more than occasionally) to say positive things about the State. In a fourth, Pete Hoskin focused on the failure of Thatcher and Reagan to constrain the state, and in a fifth, Paul Goodman asked "Why does so much of the Right treat cutting spending as light entertainment?"
One of most disheartening things for Conservatives who stayed loyally supportive of the party during the wilderness years (which, still not having attained a parliamentary majority, we have not yet entirely left) is the disparity between the popularity of our messages and the unpopularity of our messengers. It seems illogical that so much of the public will be fully behind many of our policies, but will recoil in horror upon being told whose policies they are. But much of the fault lies with the lack of civility too often shown by those on the right.
Two of the best messengers can be found across the pond: Barack Obama and former Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee famously said in 2007: "I’m a conservative, but I’m not mad at anyone about it". He holds very conservative positions on abortion and religion, but was liked by many voters regardless of religion, because of his appeal to national unity and civility. In this respect, he was much like Barack Obama. Whatever you think of his track record, his initial message of "Yes We Can" appealed to many people, as did his statement: "there are no red states or blue states, just the United States". He was not angry, and he appealed to the whole nation for support.