If you ask a typical member of the Conservative party what they want Britain to look like, you’ll get the usual list: low taxes, high growth, strong borders, low crime, sensible regulation, green countryside. If you ask a Conservative MP how Britain might achieve these things, you’ll get a long list of excuses: it simply can’t be done, it’s a bit more complicated than that, the budget isn’t there.
And yet we know for a fact that these things are possible because we can see them elsewhere. Our neighbours are wealthier than us, our politicians promise to copy Australia’s immigration system, and Singapore and Japan show that crime is not an immutable fact of life. Somewhere in the neural wiring of the Conservative party, a link is missing. We know that other places do better and we know that we want these things. What we don’t do is learn from them.
Some Conservatives have developed a long list of psychological self-defence mechanisms to prevent them from realising quite how far they’ve allowed the country to fall. Our economic decline was inevitable; crime levels are impossible to change; it would be a bad look to cut taxes further. What works for Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, France, Germany, or Poland in whichever field they lead in simply would not work here. This excuse falls miserably flat when you consider the following simple point: there is a country which already performs better than Britain, which is filled with British people, and which sits just off the British coast. That country is the Isle of Man.
The Isle of Man is best known for motorbike racing and low taxes. What people are less aware of is that it looks a lot like the country Britain would be if it had been governed by basic conservative principles. Take the issue of crime. Weighted by severity, the Isle of Man has 40 per cent less crime than the least criminal part of England and Wales.