DEBATE: Is the call for a collaborative, cross-party consensus what Britain needs at the moment?
YES – Rupert Myers, barrister, writer, and associate fellow at Bright Blue.
As market confidence teeters, growth stalls, house prices topple, and the value of the pound continues to waddle in a slump, it’s time for grown-up consensus politics to drag us from the edge of the abyss. The expressed democratic will of the people was that no one party achieved overwhelming confidence. This should focus minds on the need for cross-party work for Britain’s immediate future, given that the alternative is likely to be another election. Britain is experiencing enough uncertainty without the need for another tumultuous vote. It should be the responsibility of sensible MPs to work to find common ground. Huge issues like the funding of social care, housing post-Grenfell, and the mother of all issues – Brexit – require what voters perhaps had in mind when they went to the polls. Politicians need to meet in the middle, engage with business, and work from the centre to propel Britain towards a brighter and more prosperous future. Voters have said that no one party holds all the answers, and politicians should listen.
NO – Tim Knox, director of the Centre for Policy Studies.
Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have unashamedly reintroduced ideology into British politics. Over the last two years, they have put forward openly socialist policies which, while they would do great damage to the UK, have appealed to many voters. In contrast, today’s Conservatives have failed to set out clearly what they believe in. The latest General Election campaign has been lampooned for its endless repetition of “strong and stable”, its multiple U-turns, and its failure to highlight the economic illiteracy of Labour’s proposals. The effective way to combat an ideological opponent is to campaign with a vibrant ideology of your own. The Conservatives have a great advantage if only they would use it. For at the heart of Conservatism lies an optimistic conviction in both the moral and the practical benefits of liberty, personal responsibility, low taxes and free trade. So to avoid economic catastrophe, Britain should avoid the mush of cross-party consensus and collaboration. It needs two parties offering the electorate clarity over the choices ahead, and to be confident that the best ideas will win.