I’ve said it before but I genuinely believe that the people who should feel most betrayed by the current Tory leadership are Conservative voters. Generally, I think most Conservative voters share my ‘values’, we just differ in some of the ways we feel those things can be achieved. I also feel there is a stark distinction between Conservatives and Tories or, at least, those we would now identify as Tories.
Take the Queen. Tories know that the Queen is popular with Conservative voters, so they make all the correct cooing noises about her but what do they do in practice? Cameron’s embarrassing comments about her ‘purring’, Gove’s grubby attempts to politicise her during the EU referendum, Theresa May attempting to hide behind the Queen’s skirts when May embarrassed herself over Trump.
The Tories know that most Conservative voters would never dream of voting Labour and the Tories exploit it. The Tories use that antipathy to Labour to couch anything they want to push through. Conservative voters won’t particularly want to hear it but we see this with the way Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party has been demonised; the narrative is simply that Corbyn is the bogeyman and you should fear him so much that you will accept anything the Tories are doing because, however bad you think they are, they can’t be as bad as Corbyn. A similar example of that attitude in practice is the way the Tories demonised Scotland during the 2015 general election. The Tories stoked English nationalism for votes, nothing more, and then led us into their EU referendum mess on the back of it. When historians look back on this period, the Tories’ recklessness, driven by self-interest, will be a large part of the explanation for people choosing to vote Leave against their best interests. Scotland didn’t vote Remain as a dig at the Tories, they voted for their best interests.
The worry I have, as a non Conservative voter, is that Labour’s current leadership will be unseated and replaced by Labour’s equivalent of the Tories. I think that is the main thing that is obstructed from the public is that the Tories do not represent Conservative values or views and neither do, what was, ‘New Labour’ of Labour voters. Labour voters like me don’t so much support Corbyn as oppose what has been trying to retake Labour and would replace Corbyn’s leadership. What, from the outside, looks like a fevered support of Jeremy Corbyn, a cult of personality, is simply Labour voters getting rid of non Labour leaders and wanting to keep them away. Needless to say, our billionaire media barons and their caste would very much like to be in a position to swap between one political leadership who represent their interests with another, giving the British people the illusion of change without changing much of anything.
It is the greatest irony that Conservative voters and Labour voters have more in common with each other than either have with the Tories or ‘New Labour’ respectively. Through good fortune, Labour broke the leadership away from ‘New Labour’ and have held them off through an invigorated membership; we can only hope that the Conservative Party can do likewise from the Tories, hopefully sooner rather than too late. The politics of the majority of British people is conservative (small ‘c’) and neither the Tories nor ‘New Labour’ before them represent our values; in that, we have a common foe (and it’s not the LibDems).