Updated: Jan 16, 2022
You can take the title one of two ways. Perhaps you have always voted Conservative for various reasons but are you really, truthfully signed up to Conservatism in a political sense?
Or maybe you have never voted Conservative – again for all sorts of reasons – but actually deep down, perhaps you should as your political instincts really lie in that direction. It may be that you have never really thought about what Conservativism is.
Perhaps a better question is ‘how Conservative are you?’ After all it is a political spectrum and none of us fit exactly into a political tribe. So why not try the quiz below?
Give yourself 2 marks for every definite YES,
Give yourself 1 mark for a 'sort of' and 0 for a definite NO
How do you score out of 20 - the higher the score then the more Conservative your tendencies.
1. Do you believe that it is important to preserve and respect traditions? YES - The word ‘conserve’ is in the name Conservative. A conservative believes in respecting the traditions and wisdom of the past. Perhaps you worry that the world is moving too fast and society is changing too quickly. A conservative is for instance more likely to support the House of Lords and the Royal Family. Or NO - perhaps you are happier with change and are energised instead by the thought of shaping the future rather than going back to the past
2. Do you believe that there is and should be a hierarchy in society? YES Some members of society have higher expertise – by birth, inheritance or education - and thus they should take positions of authority. You might use the word ‘meritocracy’ and suggest that the cream will naturally rise to the top. Hierarchies are just a fact of life - some people are just better than others. Or NO Do you think that we should do more to ensure equal opportunities – level the playing field as it were to ensure that advantage of birth does not fully determine the future.
3. Do you believe that part of the role of government is to enforce moral values? YES For some conservatives this ‘conserving’ and appeal to tradition also extends to moral values and society’s role is to enforce these values. You may have strong views on abortion, or gender issues etc. Perhaps you worry about political correctness going mad. Or NO - perhaps you disagree and think that people, provided they are not harming others, should be free to live however they choose
4. Do you believe that competition is a good thing? YES The idea of a natural hierarchy also comes into a Conservative’s economic thinking. Life is to some extent a ‘competition’ and some inequalities are inevitable. There will be winners and losers. That's unfortunate but that's how life is. Competition is a good thing as it leads to efficiency…
5. Do you believe in the law of efficiency? YES Society needs to run efficiently – competition between businesses helps this. Businesses that are unprofitable (or we can find a cheaper option) shouldn’t survive. So the fate of coal mining in the 1980s – cheaper imported coal came in and British mines closed. We can now import food efficiently, (without worrying about animal welfare or environment!) what consequences might this have for British farms and factories? That's not our problem! or NO - perhaps you disagree and think instead that governments ought to intervene to support British industry even if it is less efficient.
6. Do you believe in small government? YES - This means that the government tries to reduce spending – by privatising industries and services and reducing benefits etc. Conservatives tend to favour minimal state intervention in the economy and also favour private business over state owned industries and services. This would typically mean that you would support lower taxes and accept that this means the state is providing less. Or NO - perhaps you are willing to accept paying a little money tax to improve services. Perhaps you wish to re-nationalise some industries eg) railways
7. Do you believe in Free Trade? YES Do you want business to have as few rules and regulations as possible? These would enable businesses to get on with the job of making money and providing a good service. OR NO - Alternatively - you might worry that free trade is not always Fair Trade. You might instead feel that some level of regulation is necessary to protect worker's rights, customers, animal rights, environment etc.
8. Do you believe in personal responsibility over society's responsibility? YES The state should do less and individuals should take responsibility for themselves. Again this is linked to ideas of competition. There is an emphasis on the individual rather than society as a whole. When Mrs Thatcher said ‘there is no such thing as society’ this is what she meant. We are lots of ‘I’s and that is more important than the collective ‘we’. 'People should help themselves' rather than expecting society to help them. We should spend less on benefits. or NO perhaps you worry that not everyone is equally able to take responsibility, what about those for whom life is more challenging. Perhaps you think that society - the 'we' is more important than the 'I'
9. Do you believe people need firm guidance? YES Thinking about law and order, a conservative tends to be more negative about human nature than the liberal or the socialist. People need strong and clear guidance from wiser authorities. The word ‘Paternalism’ is sometimes used to describe this. Law and order is primarily about protecting society and punishment of offenders. OR NO - people are basically neutral or good and we need to improve their environment. We should focus on the rehabilitation of the offender as one of our aims in punishment.
10. Do you believe in putting your own house in order first? YES A conservative tends to focus on the national not the international? They are cautious in foreign affairs: they have a preference for national security over international cooperation. So putting our own country first. Or NO - perhaps you think this is unrealistic in an age of globalisation and it is important for Britain to play its part on the world stage and to cooperate with other countries.
How did you do? Just how conservative are you?