Hope Against Hope: Recruiting Conservatives

by Roger Hallam (first published on the 14/Jan/2024

(This article was recently rejected for publication by Unherd, a social conservative media group focused on preserving traditional values. It is dedicated to Chris Skidmore, who resigned (5th Jan 2024) in protest against new oil and gas licences, making him the only true conservative in the House of Commons).

The second most depressing moment of the last few years was being invited to be interviewed by a guy from Unherd (1). He merrily said to me before the recorded conversation, “let’s not talk about science”. Which is like talking about Attila the Hun without mentioning the killing. The fact that a supposedly serious conservative political media organisation has no interest in “what is actually going on” sums up the mess of our times. 

In many ways the interview went well as it opened a few doors. Firstly, I surprised them by suggesting the end of civilization might actually upset conservatives. Secondly, it led to a few nice chats with a Tory MP and a bigger chat with a bunch of conservatives at the Houses of Parliament. Predictably, when I mentioned that the bullet of deadly carbon emissions had already left the gun but not yet entered the head, I was told that being negative was bad for getting votes. 

The Tory MP told me afterwards I was the only true conservative in the room, and for a moment I thought I might have finally found the Churchill of my dreams. But as soon as things heated up, he ignored me. He cut himself off when Insulate Britain blocked the M25 for the ‘revolutionary’ demand of better housing insulation. He has since refused to answer my occasional emails along the lines of – “Hi, remember me? The science doesn’t go away just because you are playing hard to get” (2). 

I’ve just been found guilty of Conspiracy to Cause a Public Nuisance (doesn’t the English ruling class always have a pleasing way with words?) by a hung jury for flying toy drones at head height. By breaking the airport’s drone safety procedure we aimed to stop arguably the biggest crime in UK history – the building of the third runway. The conservatives in the room – the judge and the prosecutor, both of a certain age and a certain class – displayed an inability to think which arguably surpasses the banal evil of Adolf Eichmann. The objectivity of mass death was reduced to “your passionate views” and the tool of the mass death is described as “those wicked carbon emissions”. 

I was subjected to six hours of interrogatory nonsense around my intentions, while the judge did the classic bystander routine. The jury stared into space in bemused boredom. They listened to those representing our failing politicians, the prosecution lawyers, trying to convince them that flying a toy drone below head height and a bit of enthusiastic messaging constitutes a jailable offence. Meanwhile, the crime of destroying British society through the biggest carbon infrastructure in Europe cannot be spoken of. It made 1984 look like kids’ play. From on high we were all informed that “defence of necessity” is “not permitted”.  Can you imagine that being said to the French resistance?

I don’t know why I am writing this other than to hopelessly fail to express my utter horror and despair. It is not possible to convey the intensity of feeling signified by those two words, “not permitted”. For some reason I am comforting myself by listening to Mike Duncan’s History of Rome podcast in the evenings. It’s all happened before of course – you start off with semi decent Augustus, pass onto a paranoid Tiberius, and end up with the cesspit of Caligula. And so it was and ever will be, as social conservatives should know. Except this time round the pit is bottomless, the suffering infinite, the end final.

Maybe writing this is like the man on an island, half-starved, who lights a last fire to try to attract a passing ship. It’s pathetic, I know, but something in my soul holds onto the idea there is a real social conservative out there who is not totally morally and spiritually dead. Hope against hope.