Tuesday, 6 July 2010

I've got a dirty little secret and I need your help!

Well, you see, I’ve got this, um, friend. Not me, you understand, but a friend, a very good friend as a matter of fact. Known him a long time. All my life actually, he’s like a brother, except, well, he’s not. And, er, he’s done something, something that perhaps he doesn’t feel too proud of, but he doesn’t know why. It felt right at the time. God knows, he’s been feeling that way for a long time, visited by thoughts and feelings which perhaps he couldn’t explain to himself, but it certainly didn’t feel exactly wrong as such (in fact, after such a long time of denial, it felt positively good!). And still he doesn’t know why what he did was so wrong, he doesn’t think it was wrong, but everyone that knows about it seems to think it was. Society has weighed him and measured him, and society has found him wanting.

So what did my friend do? He voted Tory at the general election, which for some reason is about as socially acceptable as cracking a paedo joke on a council estate.

Now let me get to the point. I want your opinion for an article I’m writing about the stigma of voting Tory. Why should this be? Why is it that voting Labour or Liberal Democrat is something people can do freely and admit to without a second thought – indeed some will boast of as a badge of honour - but voting Conservative is something dreadfully furtive, to be conducted in shameful, self-conscious secrecy, rather like that thing the French do when they stuff tiny songbirds in their mouths whole, bones, beaks and all the filthy buggers, with a teatowel over their head?

And let us make no bones about this. It could be that because of his job and background, my friend, ahem, naturally knows people who are generally more left-leaning than the average, but there most definitely does exist a taint to being a Conservative supporter.

Consider the election of 1992: while returning the Conservative government with a clear overall majority, many thousands of Tory voters couldn’t bring themselves to tell the truth to a complete stranger, according to exit polls.

Or indeed, consider the most recent election: In my constituency, the Liberal Democrat and the Conservative vote were for the second time very close, yet to judge from the front-garden billboards in the area – a sea of orange, interspersed only very occasionally with a speck of blue – the Liberal Democrat candidate should have swept in on a surge of support with an utter drubbing for the Tories.

So come on people, what’s the problem with voting Tory? Is there some residual inherent mark of Cain left over from a more class-stricken age, when grotesque privilege equated to outright exploitation? Or is there perhaps a natural bias in the protestant work ethic? Is it Thatcher? Or do we just dislike Tories as a group, on general principles, rather as my grandparents distrusted anyone who wasn’t white, British and working-class?

As I said, this is something of a crowdsourcing exercise (albeit not exactly scientific, given the sample group) and I really would be interested in getting as many answers as possible. So if you would, leave a comment, send an email, dispatch a courier pigeon etc etc, I would really value your opinion. Please feel free to make it anonymous if you want. Rest assured, I shall treat what opinions are expressed privately in complete confidence.


  1. Many of us are, at heart, snobbish in our leftie anti-Con-snobbery. In our anti-snob paranoia many of us fear the anti-snobbery of our peers giving us sideways glances and suspecting us of fox hunting and reading the Daily Mail. Despite not having a particularly good or personal reason to dislike the current Tories, to the point of being ashamed to even admit voting for them, many people who grew up prior to the late 90's still find it difficult to completely cast off the class hang-ups and bad memories of the Thatcher era. Possibly in much the same way that in years to come people who grew up in the 00's but are too young to remember the previous Tory government may have a deep-seated but not entirely rational distrust of Labour.

    I'm happy to say I voted Lib Dem, and that even though I would only sheepishly admit it if I'd voted Tory instead, I kind of did end up voting for them the way it turned out anyway.


  2. Rather than echo the points eloquently raised by the ubiquitous Anonymous, I'll just provide further illustrations for Methuselah's original observation - specifically the strangely influential world of celebrity endorsement/association. Who are the first celebrities that spring to mind when you think of the Tory party? For me it is Paul Daniels, Phil Collins, Jim Davidson, Peter Stringfellow and Jonathan King. All of them, I'm sure you'll agree, are deeply unfashionable. But I'm equally sure that they can't be the only blues out there in celeb-world. Furthermore, when someone like Paul Weller (back when he was the uber-cool leader of The Jam)stated that he would vote Tory, it was written off as the impish tattling of a young provocateur. Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, "I Just Wanna Sniff Some Glue" hitmakers Ramones declare their support to the GOP.
    On the other hand, Labour (sorry, I mean New Labour) rode in on the Cool Britannia wave on the platform of merely not being Tory, in spite of ridding themselves of most of their grass roots philosophies. They were the party that could unite Blur and Oasis, the warring giants of Britpop.
    When thinking about the LibDems, only John Cleese springs to mind.

  3. .... I love Paul Daniels... I was originally hiding my identity for the irony, now it's because of my soft spot for Wizbit.


  4. Had I been a UK resident I would certainly have voted Tory. If Thatcher was so terrible how come she was in power for so long? As Shakespeare says 'The bad that men (woman) do lives on after them the good is often interred with their bones'. Sure she was going off at the end but she changed Britain for the better in many ways. I was not proud to be British pre Thatcher but Britain certainly imroved its world standing. Many young people who decry her were children or maybe not even born at the time. There are many myths about the Tories. The new coalition is in a similar position to her Government, they have come to power to sort out the mess that Labour has got the country into.
    True Blue

  5. A comic once said that he didn't vote Labour as he really hated poor people. However he added that he simply wasn't that much of a cunt to vote Tory.

  6. Many good points raised in this fine diary, Methuselah.

    I think I know the poor chap whereof you speak. He has lost his way a little from when I first knew him, as a rough&tumbling rocker. By losing his way, of course, I mean he has settled down, got married, spawned offspring and purchased property. These things do have a bearing on one's political inclination.

    As for the social stealth involved in voting Tory, I cannot offer a satisfactory explanation, but do like the parallels FalcoZappa draws with the music scene. Much deep insight can be gained from projecting these analogies, if you will, onto the more abstract Freudian matrix of the Oedipus complex: Paul Daniel is the weakened father figure, whereas Blur and Oasis represent the ripe milky nurturing maternal bosom. The infant feels a natural bond toward the magical teat of love and nourishment, apparently uninterested in the infernally twatty Daniels and his pathetically out-of-date box of tricks. (Evidently, in this model, Peter Stringfellow represents the fear of symbolic castration and repressed homosexual desires, inevitable in the moulding of one's social persona.)

    Anybody who's listened to "What's the story, morning glory" knows exactly what I mean. I'm sure you've heard it all before...

    However, as time goes by, the young infant, wipes off his milky tash, stands on his own two feet and realises that life isn't all about sucking on tits, but also about providing a home for these tits. And matching crotchless panties, perhaps. Yin and yang. Life and death. Paul Daniels and the lovely Debbie McGee.

    Or to briefly recap: university days = sucking on mummy's tits; getting a job and providing for one's family = maybe Paul Daniels isn't such a twat after all. But who, in their right mind, would openly admit to that?

    ...So maybe this Freudian explanation isn't such a shit stab in the dark, after all...

    We don't own up to voting Tory because we love our mummies too much, even though their milk has soured and her ropey old tits have lost their appeal.

    Simple Simon
    Professor Coitus Emeritus
    Marx Plank Institute

    PS: I do hope this makes sense. I prescribed myself a lot of cocaine while coming up with this theory and there's something very un-bourgeois about my totem pole right now...

  7. Spent hours projecting the musical analogies of FalcoZappa onto the Freudian model of the Oedipus complex, only to have this infernal contraption delete it, in what can only be described as a uniltateral act of rampant fascism. Even the message informing me of this censorship was in German.

    I know who I'm voting for next time and that's BNP!