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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 since 2010

Labour MP for Walthamstow since 2010. Since becoming elected Stella has served as a Shadow Minister for the Home Office and the Business Teams for the Labour front bench as well as a member of the Public Accounts Committee and the Council of Europe, and is currently the chair of the Labour Movement for Europe. She has a track record of securing change from the back benches – winning the regulation of payday lending and buy-now-pay-later companies, helping secure access to abortion rights for the women of Northern Ireland and banning non-consensual photographs or video recordings of breastfeeding mothers.

George Monbiot

Guardian columnist, environmental campaigner and author of Regenesis: Feeding the World without Devouring the Planet.

Author, Guardian columnist and environmental campaigner. His bestselling books include Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life, Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning, and Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. He co-wrote the concept album Breaking the Spell of Loneliness with musician Ewan McLennan, and has made a number of viral videos. One of them, adapted from his 2013 TED talk, How Wolves Change Rivers, has been viewed on YouTube over 40 million times. Another, on Natural Climate Solutions, which he co-presented with Greta Thunberg, has been watched over 60 million times. His new book is Regenesis: Feeding the World without Devouring the Planet. 
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

Journalist and broadcaster

Razia was special correspondent at the BBC for over three decades and from 2011 to 2023 anchored Newshour on the BBC World Service. She is currently teaching at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, where she holds the John L. Weinberg/Goldman Sachs & Co. Visiting Professorship.