The Left has right on its side

Wednesday 21 February 2018, 7pm | Emmanuel Centre

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The Left has right on its side

Let’s be honest. It’s the political Left that has society’s best interests at heart, that works for the good of all. The Right, in their view, are ‘the nasty party’ – the defenders of privilege, the friends of the overdog. Of course right-wingers will argue that the poor and oppressed will be fine under them, because they will be propped up by the free market and the profit motive. But that, say the Left, is bunk. It is and always has been the Left that has struggled to protect the weak from the strong, that has fought for workers’ rights, for sexual and racial equality, for the welfare state. It is the Left which now challenges the abuses of corporate and financial power. And it is the Left that seeks to build a world based on fairness and mutual respect, not individualistic self-seeking. It is the Left, not the Right, that has right on its side.

Yet according to conservatives, it is precisely that self-regard, that attempt to monopolise virtue, which exposes the shallowness and hypocrisy of left-wing ideology. To flaunt your concern for your fellow man, to parade your desire to improve the world doesn’t make you right – it just gives you the smug glow of virtue signalling. In fact, by expanding the state, overtaxing the rich and splurging benefits on the poor, the Left has always damaged society by crippling people’s natural instinct to better themselves through reaping the rewards of their own hard work. The crucial insight of the Right is that human society only flourishes when it is incentivised and when cooperation is uncoerced; that this happens through free markets and free choice, and through traditions of mutual tolerance and respect built up over time. It is the Right, by championing freedom and social cohesion, that has right on its side.

Left or right? Could you ever switch sides? Join us on February 21st 2018 and decide for yourself.

Speakers for the motion

George Monbiot

Guardian journalist and polemicist, whose bestselling books include Captive State: The Corporate Takeover of Britain; The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and most recently Out of the Wreckage, which argues for a new politics based on scientific findings which prove that humans are by nature supreme altruists and cooperators.

Remaining speaker to be announced.

Speakers against the motion

Allison Pearson

Award-winning columnist and chief interviewer on the Daily Telegraph, known for her outspoken views. Her bestselling 2001 novel I Don’t Know How She Does It defined modern life for the working woman and was turned into a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker.

Roger Scruton

Britain’s leading philosopher of Conservative thought. He has published more than forty books on philosophy, aesthetics and politics, including How to be a Conservative; Where We Are: The State of Britain Now; and Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left.


To be announced.


Speakers are subject to change.