The differences in lifestyle between a young Muslim girl and
a five-year-old white child whose parents were both born in Hertfordshire are
stark. The similarity between the two is that both are loved to bits by their
parents. I was born and brought up in Kuwait, so I know this first hand. Traditional
family values are global; they cross all cultural and economic barriers and for
good reason. They are deeply conservative – and that is our common link with
Talk about respect, tolerance, or compassion and you can
engage with anyone. Next to the rising price of household essentials and how to
pay for them, the welfare of our loved ones comes next. But how do you get that conversation going?
The recent move to modernise in every area possible has
alienated not just much of the party faithful but also much of our ethnic
population. Traditional values are
the bedrock of the Sikhs, the Jews and even the atheists. Somalis deeply value
family, as do the Irish, the Poles, the Indians, and the Nigerians. There’s no
country or creed ignores the life-shaping influence of the family unit for a
Voters are ripe for traditional conservative messages.
Ordinary mother and fathers are maxed out on liberal living. Sex, drugs and the
internet are pushed at an increasingly younger age to their children. Single
parent homes, despite being glamourised in the media by wealthy celebrities,
are often lonely and angst-ridden. Traditional homes, wherever possible, are
invaluable to us all. You can’t replace basic family training with state
intervention; the thousands of things that children learn over time at home:
communication, compassion, responsibility, punctuality, the work ethic, or just
simple tasks like changing a light bulb or peeling a potato.
`Correctness’ under Tony Blair was tough on conventional parents.
It started to challenge their authority. I heard it all the time as the founder
of Act Against Bullying. Tick your teen off for staying out all night and she could `leave and
get a Council flat’. Teachers suffered too. Children taunted them with
Childline if they were reprimanded. When I visited a school in North London in
2005 to give a talk, an eight year old boasted how they’d been taught about `children’s
rights’. At the local Lok’n Store a Nigerian manager told me he was sending his
child back to Africa because the schools were stricter than here.
Recent Government measures, such as the Coalition’s cap on
Universal Benefits, have started to reverse the trend of social
irresponsibility. The message that going out to work pays is a good one. But
now is the time to reflect on home issues that also contribute to standing on
your own two feet. Traditional parents deserve policies which empower them, but
which reward their sacrifice and commitment at the same time.
For too many years the ethnic community has regarded the
Tories as just the choice of the wealthy. We are also the party of the family. Get
that message out there and the Conservatives can emerge as their party to support in 2015.