Adam Smith examines the problems people have with identifying as a Conservative:
Hello. My name is Adam. And I’m not a Conservative.
Wow, does it feel good to get that off my chest; especially in Exeter, where the the most popular single party for university students is on the Right. But, our humble little university is going against the establishment in supporting, well, the Establishment, because it seems that that right wingers fear “coming out” to their friends and family as Conservative. And, in the midst of austerity (not to mention an Equalities Minister that is opposed to gay marriage) it’s not particularly difficult to blame them. But, here’s the million pound question: is this stigma really deserved?
Ivan Massow, in his campaign to be the Tory candidate for the Mayor of London, was quoted in the Telegraph saying that it was easier to be accepted as a homosexual than it is to be a Conservative. In the piece, he tied his homosexuality with his conservatism – saying that his involvement with the Tory party is what is stopping them from going back to how they were. But what message is that? The Tories constantly need homosexual MPs just in case they forget that the LGBTQ are members of society and revert back to homophobia like some sort of terrible factory reset?
It begs the question of why those that vote Conservative feel the need to hide it at all. A telltale Tory heart thumping away under the floorboards under a Liberal façade. Well, historically, the Conservative party have been just that – conservative. A history of rotten boroughs, corruption and Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism, railing against revolutions and, what we can now see was social progress, means the party has had a few hundred years of bad press to deal with. And, because the left wing were the plucky underdogs, history regards them, for better or for worse, in a slightly happier light. This is also reflected in the funding given privately to each party during times of impending elections; donations made to the party (excluding public funds) were significantly higher than those given to the Labour Party. And, it’s not good to be hanging with the 1% when you need to appeal to the 99%.
To paraphrase Terry Pratchett, it’s easy to be nice when you’re rich. Which is why it’s so disappointing when “so many of the rich buggers is bastards”. Money makes the world go round.
There’s a joke by Rich Hall about Bill Gates being so wealthy that if he took the money he made from Microsoft and put it under his mattress and fell off, Bill Gates would never hit the floor. So, it’s easy to see the weight of the world’s problems and blame the rich. With all that money, power, and influence, surely there should be more that can be done.
I remember an interview I did with Sarah Wollaston MP last year when she said that it was ludicrous that feminism should not be so strongly associated with the left, when there are conservative feminists. I feel this logic can apply to all sorts of different social issues where the only difference between the left and the right are economic. I’m not saying that economic policies don’t have social impact, but rather that social impacts shouldn’t be associated with parties so divided by economic policies. But they are. And, it’s this sort of thinking that make people feel afraid to speak their mind.
I think that it’s time for us to rectify this view.