I’ve not hid it that well to be fair; given that I’ve been a party member for the last year along with when I was at university, and I also have conservatives listed under political views on my Facebook profile. However more recently I was perhaps a little more public by standing for election on May 5th!
I managed to secure almost 17% of the vote and came third as was expected: Leeds council Moortown ward results.
I’m hoping to find the time to write a bit more about it and, in particular, the human side of politics, such as the impact on those losing their seats that we generally don’t think about. However, that’s not the topic of this blog post (the first for some time) which was inspired by watching this week’s BBC Question Time. It was a show full of audience comment/reaction of negativity about the “nasty” party, ideological self-interest, destroyers of public services and haters of the NHS etc. Comments like these are actually why I rejoined the party a year ago. For the avoidance of doubt, this isn’t because I believe in these things and so wanted to be part of it, but because I was tired of sitting on the sidelines listening to such misunderstanding and lies.
The title of this post reflects the nature of being a tory. It seems strange that supporting something that over 36% of the UK voted for (and more England) should feel so difficult, but it does. On election day the wife of one conservative Councillor was concerned about wearing a rosette and I felt the same. I couldn’t imagine members of the other main political parties feeling like that. There seems to be such anger and hatred of the party from some that I really can’t understand.
The hatred of the party also seems to be a view that doesn’t need facts to back it up. The NHS is a classic example. Despite being the only party to ring fence and guarantee real rises in the NHS budget, everyone is talking about NHS cuts; and of course this is for ideological reasons and hatred of the NHS! Nonsense. BBC Question Time had a great example of this with a young man talking about the wonderful NHS treatment he had had recently and asking why the party wanted to destroy it. Well they don’t obviously. This is a view fueled by media headlines and sound bites rather than any understanding of what is planned.
If the party really did hate the NHS then the current economic climate would be an ideal time to actually cut the budget without worrying about any reforms at all!
Whether they will ever consider voting for the conservative party or not, if I can convince a few people that it isn’t something to hate with so much passion then I’ve done what I set out to do.