A plea to the modern ‘Conservative’ voter

Posted: August 19, 2013 in Uncategorized
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I doubt any potential Conservative voters would read my blog, but nevertheless I thought I’d write as if I was addressing one of them, for reasons that will become clear.

Of course I know a few Conservative voters, which sounds a little like claiming you have black friends to discount the idea that you are racist, but stick with me. Because above all else I’ve realised a few things about the chasm between the classic Conservative idealism and the Neo-Liberal reality we are currently suffering.

Anyway, my motivation for this particular piece is to use the golden rule of debate; that is, I will criticise the argument, not the arguer.

So, Mister/Missus/Baron/Countess etc., Conservative voter, I just wished to break it to you that the ideal you have of home ownership will not be possible for your children without your explicit assistance in the form of a significant deposit, and even then the lovely home it took you 15 years to accrue would pale into comparison with the 35 years needed for your offspring to afford a much more humble property. The modern Conservatives want everyone to be able to buy their own home, but bringing down prices or increasing wages is unthinkable for the party that no longer believes in any positive state intervention. It prefers to urge banks to repeat the same housing bubble we haven’t recovered from yet, in order to mask the fact that no one who doesn’t already own property can afford a house any more.

Of course you will be concerned about law and order, which is why you should be perturbed that the modern Neo-Lib Cons seem intent on privatising a state instrument that relies on public trust to be credible. No money for bobbies on the beat, but plenty of jobs for the boys. Who needs visible policing when you have a Police Commissioner elected on the smallest mandate in history? Who wants well-trained officers with professional pride when you could have G4S staff on zero-hour contracts responding enthusiastically to your burglary?

You may be nationalistic, though discreet about it, which is why you will be very concerned that our infrastructure, energy and water are mainly owned by foreign multinationals or governments, including the Chinese. You may even harbour a resentment towards the influence of the EU, but surely you should be more concerned with our continuing slavish adherence to failed American foreign and domestic policies.

Community and institution will probably mean a lot to you, though not to the current administration, who are planning to privatise a nearly-500-year-old institution, despite it turning a healthy profit and being essential to rural communities and small businesses. Communities are becoming more and more segmented, as welfare changes drive the poor out of more affluent areas, thus gated communities seem to be the preferred progression in Neo-Liberal utopia.

You’ll no doubt believe in lower taxes and a smaller government, as well as despising corruption, which is why you’ll be outraged at the privatisation of the NHS, with many MPs voting through the Health and Social Care Bill despite clear direct pecuniary interests, in the form of shares in private healthcare companies (particularly the Bill’s progenitor Andrew Lansley, who was bankrolled by Circle), while it remains to be seen how many direct Conservative donors will be allowed a share of the shrinking NHS budget. You’ll also be baffled at the continuing farce of railway franchising, which costs more to the taxpayer and is in more debt than it was ever allowed to be as a state asset, yet looks set to continue despite the East Coast line showing public sector railways trump private sector in efficiency and cost. This is one, if you’ll forgive the horrendously obvious pun, gravy train, which needs to be derailed fast.

I get the impression that most Conservative voters (as in support the Conservatives rather than want Labour out) see the Tories through Harold MacMillan-tinted spectacles. That Conservative party is dead. Neo-Liberalism kicked his consensus politics and left it to the wolves. Welcome to Neo-Liberal dystopia. A modern vote for the Tories is a vote for unaffordable housing, privatised justice, a worryingly burgeoning military-industrial complex, green countryside milked for profit, high unemployment, food banks and higher taxes for the many, to pay off their donors feasting on public contracts yet delivering worse public services. Unfortunately all of the major parties have signed up to this bullshit, but the first step is eradicating the notion that the Tories now dance to any tune but their corporate paymasters.

Recognise what now masquerades as Conservatism. And the ‘Labour’ Party. And the ‘Neo’-Liberal Democrats. And reject it at every turn. In votes, protest and civil disobedience. They do not represent us, but are taking everything from us.

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