Thomas Byrne is a Conservative Party member and politics student at York University. Follow Thomas on Twitter.
It's a bizarre thing that we have come to rely on a Liberal Democrat for honesty. We were promised by Conservative ministers that the relaxation of restrictions on supermarket trading were not going to be a Trojan horse for permanent change, but perhaps spending too much time with Nick Clegg has given the Prime Minister a taste for dishonesty. To push the changes through wouldn't be a declaration of war upon Christianity, the damage has been done there by the changes in 1994. This would a sticking up of two fingers to wider society and the soft Christian outlook that they hold - and for what? Something that will only tighten the grip of supermarkets over the small business owner, the employee and their families.
Tim Montgomerie was right to say that we can and should be Tesco Tories and celebrate the role that supermarkets have had to play in cutting the cost of necessities for the average man on the street. £5,000 a year on his count, and, being a cash-strapped student ever reliant on budget food, it has probably pushed my bills down even more. While celebrating what benefits they bring, and continue to spread to us all, we can't allow ourselves to capitulate entirely to their needs and demands.
Yes, as Conservatives we value business, but we balance that with the other values we consider important for the common good. We value strengthening families as a bulwark against pure individualism. As David Willetts said in his Bright Blue speech (pdf) "We are not libertarian loners. There is more to life than the pursuit of personal freedom and independence". By preserving Sunday trading laws, we are not infringing on personal liberty as some free market libertarians would claim, but ordering our liberty using the law, in order for us to balance the other needs that pure individualism cannot bring on its own. Capitalism, and the power of capital thereof, while not the only driver of what we do, as some on the left claim, is still a powerful force over us all.
Sunday before 1994 was a day in which families were, for a while, set free from capitalism and were able to join together as a family, or as a community, knowing that they were all equally able to set aside their time for this task. Those claiming that religion should have no say over what they do are attacking a fiction. The law was widely supported because it was a privilege that was universal.