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Sally's Journal
April 18th, 2005
08:58 am


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Our conservatory is leaking.

In other news, I remain confused as to why people vote for the conservatives. Well, no, I remain confused as to why thinking, feeling people who I know and love vote for the current conservatives.

We've had requiem_17_23s reasons here

rochvelleths reasons' here

and lockymcleans reasons here

So I'm really fishing for opinions from piqueen and ilanin in this post, but all the rest of you are welcome to be opinionated too.

(56 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:April 18th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
Combining -tories and Tories in the same post eh? What next?
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Date:April 18th, 2005 09:48 am (UTC)
Opinionated rant, which is not based on research or evidence of any sort:

I don't get why people vote conservative either. It seems to me to be the vote of the GCSE economist, and the one who believes everything he/she reads in the Daily Mail (the paper which can't write a single story without referring at least once to tax rises and the housing market and those EEEEEEEVIIIIIL asylum seekers). I've yet to see a single person who can convince me that the Conservatives would do a good job of governing this country. Most of the people I know who are voting Conservative seem to think that the Government shouldn't do anything to help the disadvantaged - after all, if they're poor it's their own stupid fault, they should get off their arses and get a job working as a City Banker like my daddy did.

OK, maybe a little exaggerated, but people definitely think that poorer people should help themselves rather than rely on state handouts. I can't help the nagging feeling that this is a fluffy version of 'we will withdraw your benefits and make your life hell until you find a job, you lazy arse'.
Date:April 18th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC)
Yes: this sort of thinking is why under Thatcher things like Enterprise Allowance were promoted, paperwork burden on small businesses was reduced, there were various job-skills training schemes funded, etc. – AFAICT, the Conservative approach was that people should help themselves, but they should get what support they need to do that. The things that pissed me off more from the last Conservative government were things like Michael Howard starting the encroachment into civil liberties, and the privatisation of various national things.

The current Conservatives, I've really not been able to get a coherent ideology from, though. From here, which admittedly is a different continent, it seems to be more alarmist headline-chasing than a principled strategy.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 10:03 am (UTC)
I voted for them once for tactical reasons, to try to reduce the majority of the sitting Labour MP, who was virtually certain to be re-elected. Their asylum policies then were not quite as outrageously objectionable as they have become since.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 10:52 am (UTC)
This is to say nothing about the people you mention, as they are presumably well-informed and intelligent people who have made their choice fairly.

But I was trying hastily not to get into a discussion about politics with a guy on Xbox Live (of all places!) the other night, whose two reasons for voting Tory were: they're not Labour, and the Lib Dems don't know how to run a country. He was 18, hadn't really read up on it and didn't really remember the previous Conservative government that well.

I suspect he's not the only one. And I know there are others with long-standing histories of voting Tory and believing in the Conservatives' policies... most of my family, for example. (Except I think my dad broke a lifetime tradition and voted UKIP not Tory in the last election...!)

Our conservatory leaks too, but we knew about it before we moved in, more's the pity...
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Date:April 18th, 2005 11:00 am (UTC)
There are also a lot of people who vote Labour because they don't remember the last labour government.

Longer comment to follow at some point
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Date:April 18th, 2005 11:14 am (UTC)
Given the attitude of your friends so far, there is no way I am posting anything of the sort here.

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Date:April 18th, 2005 11:24 am (UTC)
A unwillingness to even describe ones position makes the position look poor indeed.

I never considered you to be a person embarressed by his opinions before.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 01:45 pm (UTC)
Firstly, I'm sorry to see that ilanin has deleted his account :-(

By way of response on the particular point of "OK I can understand that you vote Conservative generally but why this particular Party setup?" - Very few members of political parties will ever be entirely happy with their leadership (just ask Labour!) Possibly the only party which is happy is the Lib Dems, but then that is a much narrower spectrum of political thought than either Labour or the Conservatives, who incorporate members and supporters who vary from the extremist to the centre, which is why the Lib Dems are still third nationally. What matters at such an important stage in a party's history is that we show some degree of unity because we know that eventually a very good candidate for PM will come through the ranks. Labour members and voters didn't abandon their party altogether even when Kinnock was leader, did they?

So why don't I vote Lib Dem? Generally because in the past they never had a coherent political philosophy which I could identify (apart from higher taxes, proportional representation and always agreeing with Labour!) and now they are even more left wing than Labour are!

I would also point out that the Party membership did not choose Michael Howard as leader. William Hague was elected by the MPs in a contest; Iain Duncan Smith was elected by the membership in a contest. Michael Howard's accession to leadership was unopposed, partly because at the time no-one else seriously wanted it and partly because I suspect the MPs didn't trust the ordinary Party members like me to vote in someone who wasn't one of their own.
Date:April 18th, 2005 02:18 pm (UTC)
From my membership card :)

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community and in which no-one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.

To me, the central philosophy of the LibDems (and before that the Liberal Party of my parents) is freedom, equality of opportunity, and getting stuff done. It's about balancing the freedom of individuals against their effects on other people's freedom and opportunities. It's about pragmatism rather than dogmatism: what needs to be done and what's the effective way to achieve that.* It's about delegating control to the appropriate level: local councils for pavements, Europe for pollution laws. By contrast, both Conservative and Labour governments have been massively centralising power for at least the last 15 or so years. The LibDems are also the only main party to have environmental issues as a priority: climate change and pollution are detrimental to people's health and thus their freedom of opportunity.

* My councillor parents used to tell me that you can always tell LibDem councils by the pavements being maintained. It's what people always complain about when being canvassed.

I don't agree with them on everything, but on enough things to be a member and as much of an activist as I can afford the time for. More, I like their way of doing things, which even within the party is as decentralised, democratic and pragmatic as possible.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 03:40 pm (UTC)
My parents vote Conservative because 1)they allways have 2)the current government suck 3)they are rich(ish) and believe that they 'deserve' to be so and don't like paying tax.

But I think that the big reason is "Family values" - the conservatives are homophobic arseholes who think women ought to look after babies so they provide for the stay at home mother and the straight couple. Dad thinks that this government is 'anti-family' because they took away the married person's tax credit and said the gay people could have rights. There are many people who vote conservative because they are *socially* conservative.

I don't really understand social conservatives, I can understand some of the economic arguments about taxes and such like (arguments which aren't *dire* in the scheme of such things) but I can't understand the hatred of the 'not me'.

Oh, and they are right - immegration controlls aren't racist, we can't fit the whole world's population in here, we need some control - however *their* plans for what controll we need *are*.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 03:52 pm (UTC)
The current Government talks a lot about family values and the family. It's probably one of the biggest turnoffs for me. I don't think people should get tax credits for having children.

I also dislike the misleading comments they make about these policies. e.g. I heard Blair say something like this...

...We considered raising the personal allowance by more than inflation but this would only result in a £#(small number) weekly increase in take home pay for affected individuals. By channeling it through the tax credit system we can increase each family's weekly income by £#(large number)

The implicit information was - we're only giving this money to people with children. If they had *said* that I would have had some respect for them but they didn't draw attention to the fact they weren't comparing like with like.
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Date:April 18th, 2005 04:50 pm (UTC)

An unsolicited comment from a non-conservative voter

Conservatories are great.

One of the reasons I have never even considered voting Conservative is that my parents (both teachers) have always told me how much better things are in the education system under Labour. This boils down to "yes more money is being wasted under the Labour government, but that's because there is actually money around for schools and helping difficult people".

This doesn't really change my mind on them either.

I really don't know about the immigration issue. It seems deeply distasteful to me to run a campaign playing on people's xenophobias, and even turning away economic migrants seems morally dubious - these people are only looking for a quality of life somewhere in the same league as that we enjoy, but it's implied that they are selfish and grasping, whereas we have a perfect right to two cars and a tumbledryer. But I'm not an economist, so all I am sure of is "I'd rather pay more tax than let people be sent back to be unjustly arrested or murdered in their own countries".

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Date:April 18th, 2005 07:19 pm (UTC)

Re: An unsolicited comment from a non-conservative voter

To be fair, the Indie isn't exactly politically neutral itself.

Sun - right-wing Labour
Mirror - left-wing Labour
Observer - Labour/anti-Tory generally
Independent - Lib Dem
Times - slightly Labour
Telegraph - moderate Conservative
Daily Mail - right-wing Conservative/UKIP
News of the World - Monster Raving Loony(!)
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Date:April 18th, 2005 06:58 pm (UTC)
Some thoughts that come from a Labour/Lib Dem voter:

I can see something in part of the conservative position, or rather two bits, one of which I can accept as possible but I don't think it true, and the other I find harder.

1) Less regulation on business, and indeed on most things.

There is a reasonable argument that the red tape is a major drain on wealth creation which in turn slows tax receipts and hence actually harms public services. I have seen some economic theory suggesting tax cuts for similar reasons - a smaller slice of a bigger cake is often bigger than a bigger slice of a smaller one.

I am a great believer in self organising systems - partially because they tend to be robust, partially as central planning often seems to miss some important sub cases and can be inefficient. As an ex government auditor, and now advisor on public sector procurement I have seen this.

I can therefore see something of this case, although I think that to dismiss worker rights as red tape is to mix two things together - let us say I want simple to apply worker rights to mix the two. And I am not sure that the tax levels are high enough to restrict growth - but they may have been in the past (98% income tax at high level for example).

The second part of this is lack of interference in personal choices - the lack of the nanny state. I can also see this as I would prefer my choices to remain and a bit of risk is actually beneficial for all - you learn by it and without it things can be less fun.

I can see this bit too, although it could be claimed by Left or Right, depending on the flavour of each.

2) The desire for strict rules and conformity

(Note this is actually the reverse of the second part of the above - there is quite a diversity of views within the Tory party)

In the book Life and How to Survive it by John Cleese and Robin Skinner I found a bit I was intrigued at: at different levels of mental health people can accept different things. Some people will prefer strict rules to freedom as they think the alternative is (and indeed it may be) chaos - which is worse. Therefore they find differences threatening.

Others can accept that chaos can be avoided without restricting choice and rejoice in people being different from themselves.

Difference being threatening is much harder for me to see - I am a conformer myself, but by choice. I would have resent being forced to be one. I rejoice in my freedom to choose - not necessarily what I chose.

Date:April 18th, 2005 07:04 pm (UTC)
If I vote this time it will be Conservative, reached by a process of eliminiation.

One-issue parties are out, they're pointless.

Labour are out because they clearly still have some of the old-guard socialists in there, which Tony will placate if necessary; they have pillaged the consitution and plan to continue to do so; and, despite doing the right thng over Iraq, Tony has gone back to letting his policies be decided by focus groups. And frankly I couldn't bring myself to vote for a Red party anyway.

The Lib Dems seem to think that taxation is either punitive or, at best, redistributive when actually it's about generating revenue, which they must know their 50% top-band would reduce, net; their leader is a joke (best wishes to him on the kid and all, but he is); and they'd pillage the constitution even more than Labour. They were also against the long-overdue overthrowing of the regime in Iraq and they have a nasty habit of taking different positions in different constituencies, according to what is electorally convenient.

Also I'm suspicious of depth of the above two's commitment to the monarchy, and while I hope Her Majesty continues to reign for many years yet, we can't ignore that there might be a bumpy succession sometime in the near future (not next Parliament, maybe, but afterwards) and we'll need a true blue pro-monarchist government to give the public a strong lead in order that the republicans can't get a foothold.

So it's the Tories not by a positive stand, but because the other two are unacceptable. I just have to decide whether the current Tory policies (and distressing habit of becoming almost as focus-group-oriented as Tony) make them unacceptable as well, and whether it's worth casting a vote that will make no difference, to see whether I bother going to the polling station at all.

(I know that 'the Tories always come third in Cambridge' is an out-and-out lie, and I don't want to fall for Lib Dem propaganda, and I like to dream of a Lab-to-Lib swing letting them in, but realistically, it isn't going to happen.)
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Date:April 18th, 2005 08:01 pm (UTC)
Even the tories appear to be abandoning Cambridge at the moment, but that's just my impression, so…
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