A plea to the Conservative party’s ill-informed supporters.

by James Bolster

Paying for your own healthcare, the abolishment of the human rights bill, and the only real winners; super-rich businessmen and Eton-schooled Tory politicians; that’s what you’ve just voted for. So firstly congratulations on making use of our wonderfully fair Western democracy system that we are all so fortunate to have. As for those who voted UKIP, well done for succumbing to right-wing media propaganda largely, overseen by one of those foreigners you don’t like (Rupert Murdoch, for those wondering) so again, congratulations on the hypocrisy.

I’m not going to underline the painfully obvious ‘secret’ plans of the Conservative government to break to country down into bite size, powerless chunks with the common goal of feeding the financial elite. Anyone who has ever read anything worth reading, or watched anything worth watching with regards to politics, should have known about this way before the election. Evidently for almost half of the electorate, this isn’t the case.

The first question you might ask is ‘well it will only affect the working class, I’ll be fine won’t I?’ the simple answer, no you won’t. Take a basic look at the economic make-up of this country; the zero-hour contracts, the lack of any UK based manual labour industries, there is no real ‘working class’ anymore, there hasn’t been for generations. Thatcher saw to that before most of us were born. The lower-middle class are the new working class, those on the average wage or just above, those that are nothing more than comfortable. These are the type of families most of us are brought up in, and you can all stop pretending you are anything more than that now for the sake of pride and pretentiousness, and more importantly, for the sake of the country. Yes, according to the de-humanised, economic outlook of the Conservative party, the lower-middle class are ‘better’ than the working class. The bottom line is though, we are dispensable, and if the elites are the beneficiaries, they are only too happy to dispense with us.

If you are a student and you voted Conservative, just take a look at your current situation: You are paying a ludicrous £9000 a year in fees, you might well do a minimum wage part time job, for a huge business with a billionaire, tax-evading owner who will have you sacked if you phone in sick once or twice. You probably live in a small terraced house in an area treading the poverty line, surrounded by those people whose lives your vote has just severely affected. Chances are when you graduate, the best you can hope for is what at the moment, would seem to be a comfortable job with a slightly better than average salary, until probable healthcare insurance and rising energy bills will make it difficult for to make ends meet. If that is you, you needn’t read any further, hopefully by the time of the next election you will be able to make a better informed choice, providing you haven’t taken the understandable and non-too farfetched decision to emigrate.

Perhaps though, there is some good to come of this, the twisted and depressing reality that you wouldn’t wish on anybody. There will be more jobs lost, more benefits cut to those who rely on the system the most, people will become homeless, small businesses and more importantly, families will be torn apart. Most tragically of all there will be deaths, lots of deaths. It’s no exaggeration to suggest for at least the next five years (god forbid they stay in government after the next election) are going to be the toughest of the average working person’s lives. In case you are wondering, no, on the face of it that isn’t the ‘good’ that is going to come of this. But perhaps this is what is necessary for people to see the bigger picture, to understand the dangerous truth of right-wing politics, we’ve had our warnings, and we didn’t heed them. We are now about to pay for the elitist, materialistic, every-man-for-himself society that we have gradually built.
Perhaps a more forgivable reason for the upsurge in Tory support is disillusionment with the Labour party, completely understandable; the Blair/Brown era was hardly a success, the war in Iraq was nothing more than a tragic farce. Involvement in Afghanistan comes under continued, rightful, scepticism, and yes, the poorly planned and frankly ridiculous spending of non-existent money and the de-regulation of banks greatly contributed to the financial mess the country has been digging itself out of. But let’s not forget, the Labour government could hardly bare sole responsibility for the global financial meltdown.

It’s true that those at the top of the Labour tree have not in the main represented the working people they claim to, nor have they reflected the party’s core values. The truth of the matter is though, we live in a two party system, whether we like it or not, and that isn’t about to change. Before going into further detail, it has to be noted that in a political system with growing mistrust from the public, Labour is the significantly lesser of two evils. You may not have faith in them being able to keep to their promises, but at the very least the breaking of those promises aren’t going to severely affecting the living conditions of huge numbers of the population.

Now let’s look at Labour’s (supposed) main principles; strong community, reward for hard work and social justice are just some of the values listed on the party’s website, admirable, and one would hope reflect the beliefs of most of the population, a labour party represented by the right people would exactly what this country needs. A party is only a product of its members and those who choose to represent it, perhaps its high time more well informed and educated, but ultimately average people took a stand and properly spoke for the masses, maybe then the country could finally move in the right direction, maybe instead of sitting back and complaining about the situation, more of us should get involved. Every small contribution counts, the more people willing the speak their mind, the more will be heard, controversial as it may be, UKIP have proved that.

This is country of hugely different cultures, beliefs and levels of wealth, and yes, there is no doubt, if working harder and showing more ambition than the majority means you are wealthier than the majority, fair enough, you deserve it, but you’ll be far more deserving of that wealth if you are happy to contribute to a society that looks after those less fortunate, the country will only benefit as a whole.

38 comments on “A plea to the Conservative party’s ill-informed supporters.

  1. non-partisan on said:

    Must be up there as one one of the worst articles I have ever read, dripping with liberal contempt for working people,,,,,,,,,,speechless…(well obviously not literally)

  2. Jack Edwards on said:

    non-partisan,

    I see where you are coming from, but I think the idea is to be hard hitting and realistic, the contempt is towards snobbery, not at all towards working people

  3. non-partisan on said:

    jack, you might be right.

    I missed the irony and sarcasm- but no working class anymore? there 25,000 people on the estate i was brought up on, most survive, with difficulty, many barely , no doubt some voted in ways i wouldn’t agree with, but the whole premiss of this article is people get what they deserve

    always the cry of the middle class and the right-

    Maybe in my ignorance i’m missing a trick, and what the author wants is to inspire us to find new solutions- isn’t that clever of him?

    And who will speak up for the masses now? REALLY?
    fuckoff

  4. Jack Edwards on said:

    Totally missing the point here, think about it. The author is using irony to highlight how stupid the get what you deserve approach is.

    As for your point about the class system, he’s looking at the overall picture, the class system interlinks, there’s no specific working class identity or unity, which Thatcher DID tear apart

    From what I can see anyway, the softly-softly approach towards trying to bring people together hasn’t worked. I think this is supposed to be deliberately provocative

  5. non-partisan on said:

    Ok jack

    he got me………

    But ”we” didn”t build this society, but then the ‘we” of the working class doesn’t exist anymore- and his conclusions about intelligent but average people speaking up for the masses?

    and there’s no doubt ‘working harder gets you more” tell that to the call centre workers doing shifts or cleaners getting the bus at 4am, or is that parody too?

    I think you being generous jack, to him, (though thanks for being so to me too)

  6. Jack Edwards on said:

    non-partisan,

    I get the impression this has a wider target audience than just us lefties. By complementing (albeit backhanded) the rich, he’s hoping to get them onside.

    ‘we’ building a society related to the whole population in general, with all classes now having the same way of thinking, again, related to snobbery.

    Trust me, I understand this type of psychological writing style, it’s very common. But you’d see it more in books than simple blog articles.

    Personally I think this is excellent, although perhaps in the wrong place on a specifically socialist website.

    Hopefully the author reads this and considers posting the article somewhere more mainstream, it does have legs.

    Although they never seem to bother to read the comments..

  7. non-partisan on said:

    ok finally

    you’ve dragged me kicking and screaming into semi appreciation of what i guess is ‘swiftian” (eating babies etc) so thanks for that………

    still not sure about it though – or is that a sign of how well its done?

  8. Jack Edwards on said:

    non-partisan,

    Well there’s no doubt there’s cynicism and anger in the article.

    Its offensive and downright miserable, but equally its articulate and calculated. Put this article to a bigger audience and it would provoke a response, on the whole in a good way.

    Ultimately, the author’s done what he thinks is neccesarry, and done it brilliantly Credit has to be given for that whether or not you agree with certain points

  9. James approached us and asked if we would publish this, his first article. We’re more than happy to do so – I don’t have to agree with everything someone says, and in fact if someone is broadly on the same side as me (as James is), I’d quite like to read stuff from them that doesn’t fit with what I normally think. That’s a good thing, cos it sharpens our own arguments.

    So in that spirit, if people have strong disagreements with the article, what would be great is if they directly challenge James.

    As it happens, I do think James is wrong to sneer at people for “falling for propaganda”. It does imply that people are thick. But the working class frequently acts against its own interest, largely because of the massive, constant flood of warped ideology out there – workers who think it’s their duty to come in during strikes, in order to “help” the public; workers who think they and their bosses are on the one side, and the unions are on the other; working class people who strongly believe in ‘aspirational’ politics and think that the Tories represent the best chance for them. It’s important to recognise that there is a huge amount of ideology, hidden in plain sight, present in all class-divided societies; as they might’ve said in The Usual Suspects, the greatest trick the ruling ideology ever pulled was convincing the world it didn’t exist.

    But what I think James mostly gets wrong is, once you take into account the decent estimate of 14-15% of the population which is eligible to vote but isn’t even on the register, it turns out that only 20% of the population voted for the Tories. 1 in 5. That’s tiny.

    So I’m not sure the Tory vote represents much, to be honest. The Ukip vote represents much more, and my feeling on that is it’s at least as much of an anti-establishment, “have a go at them” vote as it is a racist vote.

  10. James Bolster on said:

    Just to clear a few things up this was not meant to undermine anybody, I’m simply making the point, this is a democracy, and regardless of whatever our disagreements with the system, they won, fairly, and I think some sort of responsibility has to be taken for that.

    My point about the working class is this, histrocially they were very powerful, and a force, they stood together and fought anything they disagreed with. But that doesn’t exist anymore, what’s left of the working class stand on their own in the main, again though, this is nobody’s fault but the Tories. Thatcher’s heavy punishment for anyone who stood up for their beliefs meant people felt as though they had no choice, not to mention, merely having a job at all these days is a privelidge, people cannot risk that.

    The idea of the harsh irony though is specifically so people read it and disagree with it, then realise how ridiculous the whole ‘look after yourself’ ideology is

    The point I am making is though, people still have power, and the middle class will be affected this time just as much as anybody else, and hopefully those in the rich bracket who have a heart will fight against this as well.

    I’m not suggesting we force a government out, that would be dangerous and offer no stability. But if people at least fight against the awful policies they are going to introduce, and at least get them to water to them down, making the next five years slightly easier. In an ideal scenario By the time of the next election, ideally people will see the Tories for what they really are, and a Labour government represented by the right people will be able to get things back on track

  11. Mark on said:

    Tony Collins:The Ukip vote represents much more, and my feeling on that is it’s at least as much of an anti-establishment, “have a go at them” vote as it is a racist vote.

    Anyone would think there had never been a working class Tory vote (a substantial proportion of which has now headed in UKIPs direction). Or a BNP/openly racist working class vote (nearly all of which now belongs to UKIP). Or a working class Liberal Democrat vote, which in many urban areas was consolidated as an explicitly anti-Labour movement vote with a bit of dog whistle racism to keep it loyal. Put all those variants of reaction together and there isn’t much of a so-called ‘anti-establishment’ vote to be found.

    For example: Of the Birmingham City Council seats (leaving aside the distinct case of the Sutton Coldfield Tory seats), Shard End ward (in Liam Byrne’s Hodge Hill constituency) has the highest absolute UKIP vote in the city (2594 votes – almost 30%). In this working class ward, the Tories get close to 20% on top of that. That’s 4200 right-wing votes (about 50% of the poll).

    Is this a “have a go at them” vote? An example of confused voters wanting the Labour establishment to be more radical and plumping for UKIP as the ‘outsiders’?

    A quick comparison with 2010 votes in the same ward (also held alongside the General Election) shows a right wing vote of about 3660 or 42% of the poll. Only this time, it is the BNP(+2 fascist fragments) with 1200 votes (20%) and the Tories on 1980 (22%) – UKIP bring up the rear with just 300 votes.

    Sure, there has been some movement. But its very clear that UKIP has mopped up what was always a strong and open racist vote, and has then consolidated a right-wing electoral constituency with a (surely obvious) agenda of racism and xenophobia.

    In my opinion, the vast majority of UKIP voters know very well what they are voting for.

    Anti-establishment my arse.

  12. Andy Newman on said:

    Mark: But its very clear that UKIP has mopped up what was always a strong and open racist vote, and has then consolidated a right-wing electoral constituency with a (surely obvious) agenda of racism and xenophobia.

    In my opinion, the vast majority of UKIP voters know very well what they are voting for.

    In one regard yes, UKIP voters know they are voting for a racist party, though UKIP are relatively good at the dogwhistle thing, rather than the outright racism of the BNP.

    Whether UKIP voters buy into all the climate change skepticism, and social libertarianism (legalising drugs and guns, for example), I am not so sure

  13. Andy Newman on said:

    Tony Collins: The Ukip vote represents much more, and my feeling on that is it’s at least as much of an anti-establishment, “have a go at them” vote as it is a racist vote.

    No, I really don’t buy that, having had literally hundreds of doorstep conversations over the last few weeks, I think that Kippers are generally embittered people, but they can only be considered “anti-establishment” if you widen that term to include misanthropy.

  14. James Bolster on said:

    This is what I am saying about the right wing media, they went along with, and promoted to portrayal of them claiming to represent working people. when in reality they are about as far right as you can get away with.

    Bottom line, people bought their crap, and that’s very naive

    Andy Newman: In one regard yes, UKIP voters know they are voting for a racist party, though UKIP are relatively good at the dogwhistle thing, rather than the outright racism of the BNP.

    Whether UKIP voters buy into all the climate change skepticism, and social libertarianism (legalising drugs and guns, for example), I am not so sure

    Andy Newman: In one regard yes, UKIP voters know they are voting for a racist party, though UKIP are relatively good at the dogwhistle thing, rather than the outright racism of the BNP.

    Whether UKIP voters buy into all the climate change skepticism, and social libertarianism (legalising drugs and guns, for example), I am not so sure

  15. Mark on said:

    Andy Newman: Whether UKIP voters buy into all the climate change skepticism, and social libertarianism (legalising drugs and guns, for example), I am not so sure

    Yes, I agree with that. Exposing all similar policies to the light of day plays a role in weakening UKIPs appeal. But it won’t seriously dent their base, which is built on racism.

  16. Vanya on said:

    Why is there a contradiction between being “anti-establishment” and being racist?

    To many working class people “the establishment” is a bunch of middle class do-gooders who force political correctness down their necks, represented not so much by the rich and the bankers (with whom they have no contact whatsoever) but by the likes of social workers, teachers and housing officers.

    When I was at school in the 70s, the height of rebelliousness for many of my fellow students was scrawling NF on walls and blackboards or wearing NF badges and refusing to take them off.

    Mind you, I often got into as much trouble for selling / wearing rock against racism badges.

    That’s one of the reasons I refuse to get too excited by rebellion for the sake of it.

  17. John Grimshaw on said:

    Vanya: Mind you, I often got into as much trouble for selling / wearing rock against racism badges.

    Were you keeping the money for sweets?

  18. John Grimshaw on said:

    Mark: Or a working class Liberal Democrat vote, which in many urban areas was consolidated as an explicitly anti-Labour movement vote with a bit of dog whistle racism to keep it loyal. Put all those variants of reaction together and there isn’t much of a so-called ‘anti-establishment’ vote to be found.

    Mark I think this is spot on. If you take the case of Tower Hamlets both past and present then it mirrors exactly what you say. In the 1990s the Lib-Dems took over the council for a period of time. It was well known that the Lib-Dems had been taken over by racists and in some cases the NF. This was so well known that in the end Paddy Ashdown had to come down to “sort” them out. The Lib-Dems curious policy of dividing the borough into “neighbourhoods” or towns was designed to facilitate ethnic segregation amongst other things.

    In the recent GE UKIP unfortunately got a sizeable vote, about 6%. Only 1% behind the Greens and more than the Lib-Dems. The only people I spoke to in the run up who registered an interest in UKIP had two things in common, namely that they were all white and working class, and that they didn’t like Asians. In other words UKIP got the vote of whites who are reactionary. Hardly a bunch of anti-establishment rebels letting off steam.

  19. More to the point, some people in Labour understand what just happened:

    Dianne Abbot:
    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/13/ed-miliband-leftwing-labour-not-paying-attention

    Len McCluskey:
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/13/labour-did-not-lose-election-because-it-was-too-left-wing-says-unite-chief

    Has Labour responded yet to any of the really terrible shit that the Tories have been coming out with since the election? Like repealing the Human Rights Act?

  20. John Grimshaw on said:

    JN: Has Labour responded yet to any of the really terrible shit that the Tories have been coming out with since the election? Like repealing the Human Rights Act?

    I suspect that the Labour leadership clique wouldn’t know how to tie its own shoes at the moment.

  21. Jamie on said:

    Like any of this would be any different if Labour won the election. At least the Tories will do their thing unashamedly and competently. Labour austerity would have been just as bad but with the added disadvantage of ruining the economy.

  22. Matty on said:

    John Grimshaw,

    In my CLP, they were knocking up people who said they last voted Labour back in 1997 and 2001. Several of these told me that they were now UKIP. Without doubt, the old racists of the BNP and many Tories voted UKIP but I believe a proportion of the UKIP vote came from people who could potentially vote Labour. According to this http://www.may2015.com/parties/how-have-2010-voters-shifted-in-the-past-two-years/ there was a significant leakage of Labour support to UKIP during 2014.

  23. Matty: In my CLP, they were knocking up people who said they last voted Labour back in 1997 and 2001.

    That sounds exactly like my experience in North Swindon in 2005. Thankfully things have improved since then

  24. Jamie: Like any of this would be any different if Labour won the election.

    Not to idealise Labour at all, but when you’re talking at the level of national government I think fairly small differences can become major in their effects. So yes, an Ed Miliband led Labour government would have been greatly preferable to a Tory government with UKIP nipping at it’s at heels and ‘opposed’ by a weakened Labour under the leadership of some totally unrepentant Blairite.

    For all his flaws and pandering to the right (“controls on immigration”, as if there weren’t already), I doubt Ed Miliband would be talking about repealing the Human Rights act, the motives for which I think are pretty obvious:

    1) British nationalist/ reactionary posturing, and
    2) The reduction or removal of rights from humans. Specifically: workers and trade unions, immigrants and refugees, Muslims, possibly LGBT people and people with disabilities (in terms of re-legalising forms of discrimination).

  25. Matty: I believe a proportion of the UKIP vote came from people who could potentially vote Labour.

    Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean that the answer is for Labour to keep echoing anti-immigrant propaganda. UKIP’s success, like that of the BNP a few years ago, has been greatly facilitated by the consensus amongst the Tories, LibDems, and Labour (and the mainstream media) that immigration is basically a problem and a threat to the people of this country. Once that is agreed, all that remains is for UKIP to step in and say “we’re the party to deal with it”. Half their work has been done for them.

    The more Labour try to match the Tories, the further the Tories will go to outdo them. And that is much more the case with UKIP, who are unconstrained by any desire (however ambivalent) to remain in the EU. To compete with the Tories and UKIP on terms that they have set can only ever be a losing game for Labour.

    Say you’ve made up you’re mind, and you’re completely anti-immigration: who are you going to support? The mealy-mouthed ambivalent fuckers led by someone who is themselves the son of an immigrant (IE: Labour), or the straightforwardly racist bastards (IE: UKIP)?

    Say you’re unsure on the issue. There’s a good chance that you can be won over by a party that has the guts to make the argument.

    Say you don’t have a problem with immigration, but you do have a problem with racist bullshit and scapegoating. Labour’s UKIP-lite rhetoric can only alienate you, and make you less likely to support them.

  26. Feodor on said:

    @ #28 and 31–another thing I very much doubt Miliband would have done, is attempt to change the law with regards to balloting for strike action, which is another thing the Conservatives will try to push through Parliament in the near future, seemingly oblivious to the irony of a government elected on just 36.9% of the vote demanding far higher thresholds for votes which, in big picture terms, have nothing like the significance of a general election.

  27. JN: Say you’ve made up you’re mind, and you’re completely anti-immigration: who are you going to support? The mealy-mouthed ambivalent fuckers led by someone who is themselves the son of an immigrant (IE: Labour), or the straightforwardly racist bastards (IE: UKIP)?

    Added to which, whatever the moral and political arguments, when Labour politicians do take a firm stance on immigration, racist voters don’t beleive them anyway.

  28. The truth of the matter is though, we live in a two party system, whether we like it or not, and that isn’t about to change.

    To paraphrase Diane Abbot, if you think that, you haven’t been paying attention.

  29. John Grimshaw on said:

    It would appear that the inevitable in-fighting in UKIP has started following Faridge’s un-resignation.

  30. John on said:

    Andy Newman: Added to which, whatever the moral and political arguments, when Labour politicians do take a firm stance on immigration, racist voters don’t beleive them anyway.

    This is a very important point. One of the many malign influences Blair has had over politics in this country is the belief that trying to be all things to all people makes for good politics. It does not. What it does is narrow and skew the nature of political debate and policy to where it is relevant to the lived experience of a an ever-narrower constituency of people.

    Andy Burnham’s opening leadership statement was desperately disappointing in this regard. Shying away from taking a firm ideological stance may appease the Tory and liberal media, but it does nothing to instil a sense of conviction and inspiration within the working class. Witness the impact when this is successfully achieved in Scotland, where the SNP, by no means a working class party, benefited from the huge support it has received from Scottish working class communities.

  31. Andy Newman on said:

    John: Andy Burnham’s opening leadership statement was desperately disappointing in this regard.

    Well we haven’t seen the full list of candidates yet, and I am hopeful that we will yet see a strong left voice, the trouble is the gatekeeper role played by the MPs, and 35 needed to nominate.

    Remember, this is an AV election where second and subsequent preferences count.

    I think Andy Burnham’s opening pitch was OK, but a strong left contender would change the terms of the debate, and improve things