Most countries in the world are undemocratic: many have economies fuelled by corruption with political systems which are sustained through fear.
Britain stands proud; our economic order is underpinned by the rule of law, our freedoms guaranteed by statute and a freely elected Parliament.
Britons can think what they like, read what they want, vote for whom they choose and, within sensible limits, say what they feel. Our island nation shaped these guiding principles of good governance through history and our armed forces have defended freedom whenever called upon to do so.
We stand for freedom. But to confuse a love of liberty with libertarianism is a confusion derived from a defensive acceptance of socially destructive contemporary assumptions.
Too much of our popular culture celebrates the kind of individual excess characterised by everything from computer games like ‘Grand Theft Auto’ to crass reality television programs and websites dedicated to so-called celebrities.
A dangerous sensationalist fiction has become fact in some parts of Britain, where too many young people, robbed of the security of a loving home, are lost to feckless selfishness.
It isn’t freedom of choice that they lack, but a sense of the meaningful social obligation essential to the maintenance of stable communities.
It is through compliance with the lessons of history, the expectations of others and our hopes for those born later that we discover the perspective necessary for our sense of worth and pride. Freedom without purpose is the seed corn of social decay.
It is only in the context of moral reflection that true freedom can be found. I come from a working-class family.
My parents were hard-working, generous and, most of all, secure in their views and values: free from guilt about their patriotism and certain about right and wrong. Perhaps because of my background, I am sure that society has a higher claim than individual preoccupations.
Each of us is composed of society’s organic matter – of manners and memories passed on through families and neighbourhoods.
We need a politics that is noble and ambitious, rooted in hope and confident about Britain. It is time to reward people for doing the right thing: forging commitment through marriage; raising a family; working hard for a living; and giving time to neighbours.
As Pope John Paul II said: “Only the freedom which submits to the truth leads the human person to his true good’.