I HAVE JUST RETURNED brimming with optimism from my first ever National Conservative conference at the Grand Plaza Hotel in Rome. As the research director of the Bow Group, one of the events main sponsors, I had two roles to play at what Viktor Orban (pictured) rightly called Conservatism's answer to Davos.
The first was to connect with social conservatives across the continent and beyond, to meet with brilliant young writers like Francesco Guibilei who has authored on European Conservatism and founded a publishing house while not yet 30. To discuss modern conservative thought with Sweden Democrats and Law & Justice Poles over dinner and to listen close up, from the front row, the experiences of Orban and Marion Marechal and the brilliant new thinking from Yoram Hazony (of the Herzl Institute). Douglas Murray was there too talking of the need to resist the denigration of populism by the so called "pink police state" of political correctness where every identity is acceptable accept the inclusive identity of the nation state.
This was essential for me to see and hear these people first-hand. The media has accused the conference delegates with a wide variety of smears but all I heard was love of loyalty, of common endeavour to rebuild our nations and above all an intense and deep rooted respect for each others' nations and differences.
The second role was to appraise this philosophy of National Conservatism and ask how it could integrate into a new politics for Scotland, a Nova Scotia of loyalty to each other, pride of worth, common sense, and to extend the politics of nature to human nature, of the conservation of the environment and also the human environment, the unique habitat of each society being as precious as every other ecosystem. Also to accept and challenge the fact that militant leftists, militant Islamists, and moral relativists have spent far too long chipping away at the bonds that bind us without opposition.
As we leave the European Union our initial challenges in Scotland must be to show loyalty to our democracy, respecting the referendums we have recently held, and to champion the vulnerable in our societies as being integral to them.
Each nation in Europe has faced differing and similar challenges. The European Union was created to extinguish the nation state and so as unionists and nationalists one and all we must face the inconvenient truth that the European Union is not the salvation of Scotland no matter one’s political position – but its main threat in the modern world. Sovereignty is the freedom of expression of the love and loyalty to one's nation and only outside the EU is this possible. Further loyalty means respecting the choice of our people to live within the United Kingdom after being offered independence through the division of our shared island home.
As Scots within the newly independent United Kingdom we are sovereign but not satisfied. As Scottish secession was defeated so too must be the status quo that has seen the erosion of the institutions of civic society while the wealth of the union has drifted ever further south and east of too many of its people.
From the individual through the family and nation Scotland now has the chance and right to return to its true self away from the corrosive effects of progressive politics, of the greater good as defined by our betters, and from charlatans and creeps who wrap themselves in tartan – or in ermine – and treat Scotland as a landed estate defined only by its border with England while showing scant regard for the welfare and wellbeing of its families and their own precious values.
Prime Minister Orban told the conference of his own Calvinist faith and how he saw Christian Democracy as the bridge to his people who are Catholic in their majority. He described the transfer of power from the welfare state to the workfare state while creating huge numbers of jobs and restoring common sense and pride to his nation. Finally he told us of his friendship with John Paul the Second and that now is the time to push back against the globalist liberalist establishment.
He told the room he was looking for allies.
I don't doubt he will find them.