By Megan Harris
I am sick to death of having to apologise for being a Tory.
At any social events when the conversation turns to politics, I fill with dread at the question; “So who did you vote for?” Let’s be clear, I’m incredibly proud to be a conservative. I believe that the Party has made some ground-breaking achievements. But its other people’s reactions that fill me with dread.
“How can you be a feminist and a Conservative?”
“You’re a traitor to your generation”.
Tory Scum? Tory Bitch?
Put the word “Tory” in front of any insult of your choice, and I can tell you I’ve been called it.
However, the worst abuse doesn’t come from those I socialise with, it occurs in the run up to election time, in the heat of campaigning. I’ve had more doors slammed in my face than I can count. A campaign poster that I had spent hours making was destroyed and left broken, surrounded by a selection of butcher knives.
This abuse from the left towards members of the Conservative Party is a frequent occurrence. Speak to any Conservative activist, campaigner or volunteer and I can guarantee you that they all have horror stories of their own to share. But this behaviour from those on the left of the political spectrum has become so normalised in our culture that many people don’t even bat an eyelid.
There have been so many cases of this abuse in the past couple of years but one that resonates with me greatly were the “Hang the Tories” effigies. Last September, outside the Conservative Party Conference a display was erected to greet delegates. The display consisted of a banner emblazoned “Hang the Tories”, and manakins dressed in suits with noose’s round their head and hung from the bridge. Conservative MP Michael Fabricant called the creators of this display fascists, and there was much outcry in the mainstream media about it. Is it not worrying enough that conservative delegates must be constantly reminded to remove their Conference pass when outside the Conference arena- for safety purposes?
This visceral hatred for Tories is made worse by those in positions of power and influence. Labour MP Laura Pidcock recently claimed that she sees Conservatives as the ‘enemy’ and that she has “absolutely no intention” of being friends with “any of them”.
I am under no illusion that there are some nasty people in the Conservative party. But the same can be said for Labour, SNP, Greens, UKIP, Etc… I struggle to grasp the ideology that the party one supports determines the moral integrity of an individual.
The only thing left to do is to embrace this hatred from the left. Embrace the names and the insults because this wild gesticulating is a dialect from a party which is so fractured by in-fighting, that the only thing they can unify on is a hatred for Tories. To me, every shouted insult from those on the left is a demonstration of a failing grasp or understanding of facts. One only resorts to name calling, when one has no coherent argument left to argue.
This was demonstrated yet again last weekend when Jacob Rees-Mogg’s talk at the University of the West of England was interrupted by protestors. The masked protestors stormed in at the start of his speech, hurling insults at him such as “Nazi”, “fascist” and “racist” and declaring “No platform for Tory scum”. When Rees-Mogg walked up to the Protestors to have a Political discussion with them and address their concerns, all they were able to resort to was insult throwing. Rees-Mogg said himself that; “They didn’t want to talk about politics”.
Most of my friends are Labour supporters, and that’s fine. My University seminars are brimming with socialists, and that’s fine. I live with a proud Jeremy Corbyn lover and that’s fine too. My own mother, stepdad, Uncle and sister are card-carrying members of the Labour Party and that couldn’t be more fine!
Do I wish they shared my ideals and voted Conservative? Of course. Do I try and change their minds every election? Absolutely! But they’re not scum, I don’t hate them.