- I don’t care about voting, but I think politics and direction action matters
- I like diversity in political positions and I am not trying to persuade people to vote Conservative.
- Primary reason – My personal interest in getting involved in the Conservatives is the influence that I could have and the benefits that could come to that towards various, mostly progressive aims.
- Secondary Reasons
- Alternative way of looking at Climate Change
- Immigration and how we can have more of it whilst bringing people along.
- Free Speech and Freedom of Religion, how the Tories are getting the balance better.
- How much I hate stupid “Free” higher education.
- Liking the local candidate, Dean Russell
- Brexit, obviously
- Homelessness and Labour’s commitment to it, though I have heard people in the Conservative party including Dean caring.
- Law and Order Brexit
Prelude – Not Voting is fine
As we’re nearing the election I thought I’d write my thoughts on why I am supporting the conservative party. A couple of things about this generally. Firstly its about why I am supporting not voting for the conservative party. As a long time proponent of political apathy I don’t really care who votes what way and think voting doesn’t really matter on an individual level. I don’t care about voting and I resent people using peculiar moral arguments to get people to do so and I think the treatment of Russel Brand was awful. If you care about that at all, Slavoj Zizek’s book on Violence gives a good argument for how political apathy at scale can do a great deal of good. So this isn’t about me voting, this is about me supporting the conservative party. This involves canvassing, helping with letters, helping with a website, leafletting, etc. I think politics matters a great deal, but direct action matters a lot more then who you vote for.
Diversity in political positions is good
Secondly this is just about my own thoughts about why I am doing what I am doing. This is not a call to vote for the conservative party. There are specific people who have sat on the fence who I have felt should get on our side of the fence and I’ve spoken to them privately. But I like what Jonathan Haidt has written in the righteous mind about the difference between the left and the right. I like some of the concepts behind Yin and Yang and there are some Christian theological thoughts that support both those things. I believe our countries within democracies need the left and the right, they need order and chaos, destroyers and creators. I don’t want to convert left wing to the right, I want the left wing people to get better at doing their job in society. However right now, left wingers tend to think the right wingers are evil. I think that is wrong.
My Main reason – possible influence
The biggest reason why I am supporting the conservative party is that I think it is the place where I can do the most good. I think given my history, my views, the ways I interact with people, my job, my religion, my family life, etc I will be welcomed into the conservative party more than any other party right now. I have found speaking to conservatives, its more ok to disagree with people and I am someone who finds it very hard to go along with what everyone says without being honest about what I am doing. There are a couple of things I think would make the world a better place and in a very small way I can help move that forward and I think the conservative party is a vehicle for that more than anywhere else.
1) Climate Change direction
I strongly believe that the climate emergency can be looked at from different angles, not just an ethical angle. I think we can move away from fossil fuels because of national security. Oil has caused so much suffering around the world and a much more self-sufficient approach to energy production could make OPEC have much less power. I also think fossil fuels aren’t cool, they aren’t sexy or exciting. A future with a massive amount of renewables is cool if done where we aim for growth and abundance not a future of subsistence farmers such that the Green Party try and sell. I have loved seeing Elon Musk’s view of a Green future. It’s a future with abundance, with faster cars, with more travel and faster travel, its world where we can get to Australia from the UK in an hour, it has hyperloops getting me to Edinburgh in 50 mins.
I don’t care about climate change like most do, but I care about those two things and I think I could bring one or two conservative’s with me. I am currently very interested in fourth generation nuclear power stations, especially the PRISM reactor and hope that if I am to get more involved in politics I can at least understand what happened in 2014 when the NDA looked into it again. More so then Fusion I think we need a government that heavily invests in Nuclear, not the old designs like Hinkley but a government that is more likely to take risks. I think a Boris Johnson lead Conservative party is far more likely to do it. Whilst he is bigging up Fusion in the news but giving very small amounts of money to it, I think that could be a future thing after Brexit.
Secondly I am very passionate about immigration and a certain kind of globalisation. One based around co-operation with different cultures, rather then multiculturalism and large supra national states and organisations. I really really want our country to become closer to India, Singapore, China (And China to become less crazi), many African countries (such as Uganda, South Africa, Nigeria), Brazil etc. Immigration into so many western countries is hard. I’d love the idea that anyone could set up a company in London, the greatest city on earth, and then know they could hire in engineers from anywhere in the world. We need to be more open, and allow much more integration with people from anywhere. One way to avoid ghettos is to let loads of people in from many different countries.
It’s why I wanted to vote leave, and its why I eventually voted remain (As at one point it looked like a vote for leave was a vote against immigration). I would like a world that is as close to open borders as possible and I don’t think the Tory party and especially Boris is against that. Boris is definitely a liar and its hard to know which Boris we are going to get. Is it the power hungry law and order Boris or the enlightenment pro immigration Boris? But for a long time, when his own party were anti-immigration, he was presenting pro immigration arguments. He got rid of the net immigration cap so quickly and even suggested amnesty for illegals.
But I know there are a large number of people, especially from working class backgrounds who do not like immigration as much as me. I don’t want to respond with condescending them and labelling them evil racists. I think we as a country need to listen to their concerns and work diligently to meet their fears. I think quite a few of their fears are reasonable and justified and have personally found when I have presented some of my ideas on how open borders could work, some old-school UKIP supporters liked it.
I don’t know which way it will go, but the evidence right now, with the most ethnically diverse cabinet is that a Boris lead government could mean net immigration going up. Having said that I have sometimes heard rumblings of him focusing on reducing numbers again. I don’t know which way it will go, but the labour, lib dem approach of ignoring controls on immigration and calling people who don’t like it racist doesn’t work for me, and I don’t think it will work for the country.
Free Speech and Freedom of Religion
Thirdly I do care a great deal about freedom of speech and enlightenment ideals. I think the left has poisoned a great deal of discourse. I am very unhappy that whilst we had Islam be a protected religion where no one was allowed to criticise it, I had friends who disliked Islam being threatened with the sack whilst drawing the prophet was outlawed with extreme social pressure. We have now, in Europe, swung insanely far the other direction and now have people banning the Burqa and forcing women to take off their clothes on the beech. Whilst I do not personally like the Burqa, I think it is hypocritical for me to focus too much on another religions over policing of what women wear when we as Christians do much of the same stuff, but to a lesser extreme. There is no way I think any liberal enlightenment country could reconcile forcing a woman to undress as reasonable and if you are worried about terrorism, the main source of terrorism is most certainly not Muslim women in headscarves. This is awful, awful, awful. And whilst I don’t think it was good for Boris to use the “Letterboxes” word, the point he was making in that article is correct. We need as a society the freedom to verbally disagree and mock strongly, pretty much anything, but we need to protect diligently the freedom of people to do what they want.
I’ve seen in some conservative circles a greater emphasis on freedom of speech and liberalism that is good. It’s not perfect, and sometimes becomes merely a vehicle to say what you want without getting criticised or becomes one way where they only want to protect the speech of people you agree with. I got in trouble with right-wingers for supporting Jo Brand’s right to say the comment about acid attacks on Nigel. However, having said that I currently think there is much more openness to this kind of speech in the Right than the Left and Boris helps that, but Corbyn will make things worse.
Stupid “Free” education
Fourthly, I truly despise free university education. Its the one thing I dislike about Bernie Sanders and even Andrew Yang. I will only accept free university education if it becomes something that 100% of the population go to. But as long as mostly poorer people aren’t going. Free higher education seems like the working class poor paying for entitled middle class kids to mess around for a couple of years. There are so many forms of free education that I’d be ok with. We could have a free government funded open university open to everyone, we could mandate all state supported universities lose control of their intellectual property and have to put their reading lists and lectures online , we could make journals all open access or at least not fund any research that goes into a closed access journal. We could stop the weird rule where the terms of the Student Loan can be changed by the government at any point. We could have a graduate tax, a fixed interest amount so rich people who pay it out in one go still contribute to the pot. We could expand our libraries to make cheaper mini-universities that could open up some of the social experience to literally 100% for an affordable amount. I don’t mind but not mere “free” higher education.
Fifthly, I like our local candidate. From the one hustings I attended he came across much more earnest and honest then the rest of them. The others (especially the labour guy) would regularly twist the words Dean said to make it sound way worse then it was even though I literally just heard the exact words Dean said. I’ve seen the left do this time and time again and I think Dean is earnest. I like the working class background of Dean and the different roles he’s had and things he has gotten involved with. Both in tech and in businesses. I like his policies, his focus on mental health, investing in the hospital, and of course that he voted for Brexit. But there is some sense when voting for a local MP, I think character trumps policy because I’m sure, when he is much more directly involved as an MP his policy focuses will change. But his character will be roughly the same. So it helps that I liked the guy before I knew he was a candidate.
Sixthly is obviously Brexit. It’s been done to death and I’ve talked about it a lot. I am persuaded that the conservative party with Boris’ deal is the way to go, not the Brexit Party. Whilst I wouldn’t mind a clean break Brexit. I don’t think it will ever be as simple at TBP are trying to make out. Boris’ is a compromise in the direction I am ok with and whilst I am uncomfortable with the future of Northern Ireland, I think the way he has made it work is democratic enough.
There are some concerns with supporting the conservatives. Here are a few:
The biggest thing on Labour’s manifesto that I liked was a pledge to end homelessness. This MUST be a solvable problem, and I think I’m focusing more on sleeping rough then individuals in temporary accommodation (though both are bad). Labour suggests they were pledging £1.1 billion to end homelessness and this is something that absolutely should be ended. Utah started with the housing first initiative and it seems to be something that would work. I haven’t yet done the research and it has been a while since I last got involved with homelessness stuff so I don’t fully know the current state of things.
Dean has spoken out against homelessness and has had friends who were homeless. I’ve met others in the local conservative association who are furious about homelessness and want to do something about it. AS a general principle, I think if you can get the right to care about progressive values, there is more likely going to be change and so hopefully this is something that we could see movement on.
Law and Order Boris
There are multiple side to Boris and the law and order side to him makes me nervous. I don’t mind a greater number of police but I’m nervous about things such as the extreme rules against travelers and increased jail sentences. I don’t like filling up our jails.
Tax Breaks for the mega wealthy and Austerity.
I didn’t like the rising of the maximum tax bracket from Boris. Whilst I don’t think Corbyn’s plans to merely tax the rich will work, I also don’t know if I think we need to back away from the current amount we’re taxing the rich. It feels like he’s just giving a bonus to his mates rather then something specific he is trying to do with a positive effect. I am not sold on the argument that income tax is “stealing” and immoral nor that the welfare state is inherently immoral that some on the right argue for.
Mostly I don’t like the Centrists but I think I am when it comes to taxation. I also haven’t yet figured out what I think of austerity. Was it necessary?