Magazine article The Spectator

Is It Right to Aspire?

Magazine article The Spectator

Is It Right to Aspire?

Article excerpt

Sir: According to your leading article, 'The Tory party is a party of aspiration or it is nothing' (19 May). If this means that the Tory party is a party in the interest primarily of that ambitious minority which wants to rise in the world, then I should like to disagree, if only because the great majority of the nation, thank God, are not social climbers.

By which I do not mean that the great majority of the nation do not have aspirations -- to lead good and decent lives, for example -- only that they do not necessarily have aspirations to join the rat race, believing that they can lead good and decent lives quite satisfactorily on the level of society into which they were born. In other words -- unlike most of those who write about this subject -- not everyone is consumed with a burning ambition to succeed in a worldly sense.

This is very much the welfare state's doing. Before the welfare state life, except for those at the top, was pretty grim. Now, except for the underclass, life is very much more tolerable. So only congenital thrusters still feel driven to elbow their way to the top. Most of us do not want to be a celebrity, a Daily Mail columnist, a City whizz kid or, least of all, a David Willetts.

The party for aspirers: surely the Tory party can do better that that. …

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