‘All countries of the world should respect the sovereignty of nations and the rules of the peace-systems where the borders can’t change by force,’ says Danny Kruger. The British Member of Parliament and former political secretary believes that Boris Johnson’s government can play an important role in resolving the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Kruger deems that conservative governments cannot ignore active support for the traditional family model. And young conservatives need to gain experience in areas other than politics.
Boris Johnson is seeking to play a leading role in resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict. How do you see the British government’s role in this new century as part of the global peace system?
The United Kingdom has always had and has a commitment to peace in Europe and in the entire world. Even we left the European Union we always said we were not ignoring Europe. We are still a European country, and we are firmly committed to the security of Europe in particular. What our government is doing now is evidence of that. We were the first country to contribute military aid to Ukraine many months ago. We are the largest single donor of humanitarian aid, and we are doing this in partnership with other European countries. These are excellent examples of post-Brexit European friendship.
You asked this funny yet serious question earlier: What makes people bite each other on the ear? ’ Are you sceptical about the future or hopeful that European citizens can continue to live in a peaceful world?
I believe we can have a peaceful international order. But the basic condition for this is that all countries of the world respect the sovereignty of nations and the rules of the peace systems, in which borders cannot be changed by force. The current situation requires us in the West to strengthen ourselves against aggressors like Putin, and to make sure that he does not have the power or the money to invade his neighbours. In fact I think we are seeing it now, partly thanks to the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people and their army, and the unity created by what the whole world is seeing happen, that people are willing to make sacrifices to turn off the finances of Russia. We are seeing the power of international cooperation. I think this is a good sign from the aspect of peace.
On another note: what do you think is the ideal approach today: should a government avoid the private sphere of citizens as much as possible, or should it explicitly support the traditional family model?
I admire the Hungarian approach, the Hungarian model. It is unlikely that we can ever fully achieve the same in the UK
This is a good and important question. I don’t think it is possible for the government to be neutral and stay out of family life. As long as the government is taxing people, as long as it is handing out benefits, these will be influencing the choices that people make. What we want from the government is to support the choices the people really want to make. To use the tax system and the benefits system to encourage the choices people wish to make. And the proof of that is that people all around the world would prefer a family-friendly government like the one you have here in Hungary. I admire the Hungarian approach, the Hungarian model. It is unlikely that we can ever fully achieve the same in the UK. But we want to have a policy that supports those who want more children, and parents who want to stay at home with their children for longer. Or, above all, women who do not want to give up family life alongside their jobs and careers, and want to find a balance. I think this is the right principle for us to support.
Another important issue for conservatives today is freedom of speech.
There is an immense attack on freedom of speech, particularly in the media and in universities. In the United Kingdom we also have a problem with activists, student groups forcing universities to restrict professors or visiting speakers from coming and addressing students. Therefore we are passing a law in parliament now to makes sure universities defend the freedom of speech and ensure that the professors and visiting speakers are allowed to speak their mind loud and free. I think this legislation will be very effective and can ensure that universities continue to be what they should be, as well as reinforce that people can be part of open debates and not be afraid to say what they think.
You were able to start your political career at a very young age. What advice could you give to young conservatives?
I think it is worth being active in politics from a young age. I would definitely encourage young people to study history. Churchill advised young people to study history and I did the same. It is a good thing to be involved in politics from a young age, but it is not enough. It is definitely worth doing other things outside politics. For example, it is important to be active in different communities, or in the military, or maybe in business. I worked in charities for ten years with young men in prison who had very complex social problems. I think that was the most important preparation for me for the world of politics.