Why I’m a Conservative

I am often asked why I am a Conservative. It is a good question with no simple answer but, ever since I began being interested in politics as a teenager, I have felt a closer affinity with the Conservatives than any other political party.

Above all, Conservatism reflects my general outlook on life. I want to see a country in which people are free to achieve all they can because freedom is held dear. But I also want a country with a strong civic life that offers mutual support. To me, Conservatism offers a society in which individuals value their independence but are rooted in strong communities.

At a more detailed level, there are three key reasons why I am a Conservative. The first is a deep interest in history. I first realised I was a Conservative through studying history. I was attracted by the fact that Conservatives have so often been on the right side of past debates. Disraeli showed how important it was to tackle social problems and to strengthen civic life so that industrialisation would bring benefits to all. Churchill held the country together at its most dangerous moment and helped to stop western Europe falling in to the hands of a tyrant. And Margaret Thatcher was fighting to save the British economy and to retain our place in the world while Labour were pushing for EU withdrawal, advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament and publishing a manifesto described as ‘the longest suicide note in history’.

Although I was already a firm Conservative, the true importance of Conservative values was brought home to me most vividly when I worked in Romania during 1992 – I saw the horrors perpetrated by the Communist regime, but I also sensed the joy felt by people who were enjoying their first taste of freedom. To me, this was powerful confirmation that we were right to maintain our values through the Cold War.

The second reason why I am a Conservative is that I have had many advantages in life, including a good education and a strong family. I have always felt that the opportunities I have had should be available to more people and that public service is the best way to achieve this. To me, Conservatism should reflect all that is best about human behaviour: individual aspiration; a social conscience; and a sense of reciprocity. Our political opponents too often propose policies that would, in practice, pull up the ladder of opportunity from those who come behind.

Thirdly, and most importantly, I am a Conservative because Conservative principles and policies seem to offer the best answers to the big challenges of the future. The recession is deeper and more damaging as a result of Labour’s massive public debt. We need greater fiscal responsibility. Disadvantaged groups, like the million young people not in education, employment or training, are facing bigger barriers than ever before. We need new opportunities for them. We are falling behind other countries in terms of education. We urgently need more good school places for children of all ages. Across the board, Conservatives seem to me to be offering better solutions to the problems of our day.

Many years ago, a Conservative MP declared: ‘The Socialists can scheme their schemes and the Liberals can dream their dreams, but we, at least, have work to do.’ That sentiment rings truer than ever today.


  1. Dear Mr. Hillman,

    Although you’ve given reasons for deflection towards Conservatism, you haven’t stated in a concisely exactly what you are going to do if elected to represent Cambridge. I direct you to Julian Huppert’s website that has his objectives listed in a systematic manner, although his objectives are provisionally absurd.

    I believe that for anyone to vote, the agenda must be stated; and hence I will refrain from voting if an easily digestible manifesto for Cambridge is forgone.

    Thank you for your time.

    Buyun Zhao,
    Christ’s College

    • You, sir, are a charlatan.

      Not only have you renamed this page to “Why I’m a Conservative”, you’ve also removed the subsequent posts left here by your henchmen.

      Such a move is cowardly but I suppose it is in apposite alignment with your vacuous manifesto.

      Clean up your mess and grow up.


      Buyun Zhao,
      Christ’s College

      • Thanks for your post but I don’t know to what you are referring – the ‘charlatan’ and ‘henchmen’ comments are particularly mystifying!

        I might have removed something offensive or libellous, though I don’t immediately recall doing so. You’ll find people who disagree with me on here and I would not remove a post just because someone has a different point of view. I note your original post from April 2010 is still available for all to see.

        Any reordering of the website, which did not include deleting lots of stuff, occurred over a year ago (though of course I reserve the right to change the website in future). As far as I can recall, the name of this section has not changed, though the route to the page was, I think, altered once after it was first established. Perhaps you’re muddling my site up with someone else’s?

        If you look around the site, you will see it was primarily set up for the 2010 general election. As I am now a civil servant (a special adviser), it would be inappropriate to keep the site running at full pelt. So if you want to contribute to debates about the future of Conservatism you may be better off looking at ConservativeHome (www.conservativehome.org), though I also recommend Cambridge Conservatives’ website.

        Alternatively, if you want to know what I am up to, do follow me on twitter – @nickhillman.

        As an alumnus, may I wish you all the best for the rest of your studies at Christ’s.

  2. The facts are clear and simple: the initial comment addressed the issue concerning your manifesto (or lack thereof) which should have been on this particular page.

    Posts left by an inside associate directing me to an ad hoc construction were also left here.

    Since then, you’ve edited the title of this page from “Manifesto” into a “Why I’m a Conservative” and have also deleted the posts leading to the aforementioned ad hoc external links.

    I am merely commenting on the distasteful nature of your conduct concerning website management and your attempts to selectively delete comments that reflect you and your employees in bad light.

    Hence they are henchmen and you are a charlatan.


    Buyun Zhao,
    Christ’s College

    • Thanks, but:

      1. I don’t have any employees.

      2. I don’t recall ever labelling this entry ‘Manifesto’ as I stood on a party-wide manifesto. I could be mistaken but I don’t think it’s terribly important anyway as websites are living things which tend to change and evolve (even though this one is quite static for now).

      3. I don’t delete posts. I would if they were deeply offensive and I reserve the right to do so, as most websites do, but I find it’s not really necessary.

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