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The Left has right on its side

The Left has always championed a fairer, more equal society and fought to protect the weak from the strong. But do its adherents really care, or are they just bathing in the warm glow of virtue signalling?

Let’s be honest. It’s the political Left that has society’s best interests at heart, that works for the good of all. It has always 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 that now challenges abuses of power by corporations and financial institutions. And it is the Left that seeks to build a world based on 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 hypocrisy of left-wing ideology. To flaunt your concern for your fellow man 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. It is the Right, by championing free markets, free choice and social cohesion, that has right on its side.


For the motion

Stella Creasy

Labour MP for Walthamstow

Labour MP for Walthamstow who recently won the ‘Backbencher of the Year’ award at the 2017 Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards. She is often praised as one of Westminster’s most effective operators, successfully campaigning for Jane Austen to be put on a new £10 bank note and for a change in Northern Ireland’s abortion laws.

George Monbiot

Guardian journalist, activist and polemicist

Guardian journalist, activist 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 proving that humans are by nature supreme altruists and cooperators. He is author of the forthcoming book This Can't Be Happening, a call to action on climate change to be released in September 2021.
Against the motion

Kwasi Kwarteng

Conservative MP, journalist and author

Conservative MP who has worked as a financial analyst, journalist and author. His books include Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World, an examination of the British Empire; and War & Gold, A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt, a history of the financial world, from Spain in the sixteenth century to the 2008 global financial crisis.

Roger Scruton

Leading philosopher of conservative thought

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.

Razia Iqbal

BBC journalist and broadcaster

One of the main presenters of Newshour, the flagship international news and current affairs programme on BBC World Service radio. She also regularly presents The World Tonight on Radio 4.