When I was younger I was far more actively interested in politics than I am now. I certainly take an interest in current affairs, and I do keep up with politics; but it’s more like popping my head in to another room every now and then, to check what’s going on, rather than proactively immersing myself in it. When the general election comes I think about it a bit more, and have conversations and debates, and then I put my cross next to the Conservative Party.
I was speaking to my brother the other day about the title of this article. We both had a good chuckle. He is a Conservative voter too, but he was once a hard line socialist. In the early Thatcher years he was a proper militant, going to student meetings to plot the downfall of capitalism. I loved my brother and looked up to him, but his angry socialist days were like a vaccination to me.
His constant anger and bitterness was extremely off putting. He hated anyone who disagreed with him on politics. He didn’t just disagree with other political parties, he wished them dead. We lost him for a few years, our family, because of his enraged contempt at the fact that our aspirational working class mother and father were Conservative voters. This was an outright challenge to everything he believed, it was a pricking at his bubble.
It was his side that represented the working class and had their best interests at heart. Why did his foolish ma and father, a shop worker and a labourer, not understand they were being manipulated by the right wing press? Why did they not realise they were being oppressed and needed him and his friends to protect them? Why did they aspire to be middle class? For goodness sake, why did they instinctively vote Conservative at every general election?
Worst of all – how could they cast their vote for Margaret Thatcher?
We both now know why now. They were quiet, dignified and patriotic people. They had the characteristic British suspicion of politicians and government. They were never interested in picket lines and were disgusted with trade union militancy. They didn’t understand all the socialist grievances and bitterness. They just wanted the freedom and opportunity to work hard, kick on, climb the ladder and enjoy the fruits of their labour and they wanted their same for their family.
My resentful brother didn’t understand it and had a massive chip on his shoulder. There he was dreaming of revolution and his dear old ma and father just dreamed of buying a nice new house and saving up enough to leave behind. My ma said that she thought Britain was going to the dogs until Thatcher put a spring back in the nation’s step.
For me, my brother became a symbol of what it was to be “left wing”, and I steered well clear. I was never interested in being any kind of political “activist” and I was definitely not interested in being left wing. I wanted a good job, a solid family, a strong country and to be left to pursue happiness in my own way.
I worked in sales and began working for a fantastic little company founded in the late 80’s. It was another lesson for me. My brother had been, naturally, anti-business (what with hating capitalism and all), but I found – and find – business exciting. Commerce is a natural part of human society and trading, providing services and generating wealth makes the world tick and spreads money around.
For me, that was always a positive thing.
This little company was a fantastic little enterprise. There were only a few of us really, in an industry bossed by huge companies run by big banks. I know quite a few of the staff there felt insecure in their jobs, and were desperate to earn bigger salaries. Through the joint creativity and business acumen of the team the company expanded rapidly. We employed more people and as we grew further the salaries rose and the benefits increased.
To take on the big bank run dinosaurs in the industry we innovated, provided better customer service and monopolised niches in the market. As our market share grew we forced our stagnant competitors to raise their standards.
In the last decade the business has grown at an incredible rate.
Now nearly thirty years after the company was founded, thanks to the incredibly hard work of everyone involved, we have over 500 well paid, highly skilled employees and we are expanding month on month. This is a success story, one that can never be told in a socialist country, where profit is a filthy word and everything belongs to the government.
My brother changed his ways eventually and outgrew his socialism, he laughs about it now. He voted for Blair in 1997, but I didn’t. I sat out a couple of elections, the Tories were looking a sorry lot- but I don’t vote Labour, because I’ve seen what makes that party tick. I know what it’s all about, it’s just not me.
Now look, they’re back to their old ways again. My brother assures me that Corbyn is the real Labour Party. It’s the Blairites that were the intruders, and now they’re out the way Labour is just doing what Labour does. He’s right, of course.
It’s strange, almost nostalgic, after all these years to be hearing those old tunes again. Anti-capitalism, anti-business, anti-middle class, anti-Britain, anti-nuclear, all the classics.
I just hope they get the same reaction they got the last time they were played.
I don’t think my late father would think much of David Cameron, though my ma thinks he seems like a nice, “calm” man. What I do know is that my father would never vote for a man who refuses to sing the national anthem, sympathises with the IRA and Islamist terrorists, wants to dismantle the armed forces, surrender the Falklands, abolish the monarchy, and have the government take control of the economy.
And neither will I, because I’m a Conservative through and through.
David Shore is a Business Development Manager for a fleet management company.
This article is part of our ongoing ‘Why I am a Conservative’ series, in which supporters of CfL talk about their beliefs and values. If you would like to take part please email firstname.lastname@example.org.