For as long as many of us can remember, Conservatives have always upheld the great traditions, ideals and symbols of what has defined the United Kingdom. The sense of unity, traditionalism and continuity of our national story, has been unwaveringly upheld by Her Majesty The Queen. There was a time when the Conservative Party was synonymous with the meaning of historic traditions and our institutions, but we have failed to continue this course.
In recent years, starting with David Cameron’s premiership, we have witnessed a steep decline in the importance of The Crown. Education associated with the meaning of this institution and its functions is non-existent. Our national curriculum does not include its importance or the place it holds within the overall political function of our parliamentary democracy. The significance of The Crown is unknown to our youth, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Our failure to uphold the basic principles of the Conservative movement has led us to abandon the leading connection of consciousness to our primary principles, which is education and preservation of tradition. As Conservatives, we have always believed in standing at the ready, supporting the people, and governing with an even-handed temperament, which is why we have been so intrinsically connected to The Crown and the steadfast example it sets for the nation. For the past few decades, we have witnessed a reduction in respect to the upholding of these unifying institutions. We as people and collectively as a party, have ceased being a movement based on our principles and have become a badly organised single-issue entity, seemingly based on Brexit. As seen in the recent local election results, the further we trek down this path the more damage we will inflict upon ourselves.
Recently, many members would have seen the episode of Channel 4’s “The Great British School Swap” where a teacher proposed the question “What does Britishness mean to you” to a room of pupils. The responses were quite damning of the education system and the overall understanding of British traditions on the whole.
It was absolutely shocking that not only did they not know the words to the national anthem - they didn’t even recognise it.
They feel the Queen only represents white people and furthermore, they have no understanding of why the Queen, let alone The Crown, is a vital part of the system of governance that this nation is known for. The concept of this programme has shown exactly where we as Conservatives have let down our guard in respect to educating about the importance of traditional and self-identifiable traits which make us all British subjects.
As British Conservatives, each year we celebrate The Queen’s official Birthday and we watch this pomp and pageantry, as well as partake in its deeply rooted meanings. However, we have lost sight of what these symbols truly mean and how they are part of the fabric of our Conservative identity.
Conservative members should be mindful, that in a time of uncertainty and frustration, we must remember the principle of preserving tradition and that in the United Kingdom, tradition emanates with The Crown.
Alexander Shayler, Chair of the British Monarchists Society