Why painting conservatives as racists is not fair

William Hague, accused of "Naked Racism" by Tony Benn. Photo thanks to BBC.

It is very easy to paint the UK Conservatives as racists.  Indeed, it has to be noted that they do rather lend themselves to it.  A Guardian comments article today has a look back at Tory racism over the last year, highlighting case after case of Conservatives making terrible racist comments.  I have blogged before about how the Tories sit with racist and homophobic partners in the European Parliament.  Yet all of this needs some clarification.  There is nothing inherently racist about voting (or at a push) being a member of the Conservative Party.

The Tories, top brass present themselves to be as clean as a whistle, commenting that racism is a thing of the past for the Tories. Sadly, as the above mentioned article suggests, this is not the case.  There appears to be a correlation between those active in the party and a certain level or racism.  This is obviously not absolute (I know some very open and accepting Tory officials) but it does appear to set a rule of thumb. Elected Tories often have an entrenched form of racism at the basis of their politics. 

This has to be separated from the mass of Tory voters.  I honestly believe that there are many Conservative voters who share similar feelings to me.  I come from a long background of “blue”.  Growing up in rural Gloucestershire in a middle-class family I have been exposed to all the highlights (and many lowlights) of a true blue up-bringing.  I feel in many ways that I am a conservative at heart – I do not like things to change.  I like drinking tea and going for walks.  I find protests uncomfortable and noisy.  When people advocate change you never know what’s going to happen. I like many traditional aspects of life and I want to irrationally hold on to them.  Just because I like tea when served in fine china, it does not mean I am a racist.  There is nothing inherent about liking the traditional aspects of life and being a racist.  It follows however, that if you share these sentiments then you to have to consider whether a Tory vote really represents your values.  Just because you like a quiet life, does that mean you can back a party dripping in racism?

Despite Cameron’s PR game trying to paint them as the cuddly party, there is still a nasty side to them that personally means I could never support them.  Despite what Cameron peddles about racism, it has been shown his party is endemically racist.  Despite what Cameron would say about opposing the death penalty, many of his MEP’s voted against the EU position on the death penalty at the latest Strasbourg session.  Despite what Cameron would say about equality we can see that his party is dominated by the Eton élite who get upset if asked to sit in standard class on the train!

These guys do not represent the “levels of common decency” that are key to my moral make-up.  These guys represent something that is alien to me, xenophobia, racism and a massive sense of homophobia.  I am going to vote Green at the next election because they are there to preserve, to look after and care for many of the things that I care about (the countryside, my old age, the disadvantaged in society, the NHS, schooling etc).  I cannot support the conservatives; yet let’s not start accusing every other conservative voter of being a racist; this simply is not the case.

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4 Comments

Filed under Far-right politics, Politics

4 responses to “Why painting conservatives as racists is not fair

  1. Alan-a-dale

    Another vote for your excellent post Steve.

    I’ve never voted Tory and I’ll be joining you in May in trying to break the awful stranglehold the two main parties have had on post-war politics in the UK by voting Green.

    Obviously, all Conservative voters aren’t racist but there is a cultural and political perspective that they share (that’s why they vote Tory presumably) which makes them more likely to lean towards racism, jingoism and homophobia than those who vote for the left-wing or liberal parties.

    And for many of them, their newspaper of choice is the Sun, the Mail or the Express. If these awful right-wing, establishment rags influence their thinking (which, sadly, they seem to do) is it any wonder that many of the country’s more extreme and disturbing attitudes are attribute to them?

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  2. Rusty

    That Grauniad article is the biggest pile of dredged-up, reactionary toss I have read in a long time. Well done for writing something far more balanced – although there are towers in Pisa that are more balanced than that ridiculous bog-roll-in-waiting.

    For the record, I agree with you – this is a strange position for me to find myself in, and I have had to pinch myself several times, but still the feeling remains. I’m very definitely a conservative, but the Conservative party don’t represent me in the slightest. They have too much marketing and too little integrity.

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  3. James Pople

    Good blog Steve. I tend to agree with the majority of it. Of course it is wrong to label every Tory voter as a racist, because this is simply not true. Many people, particularly in Gloucestershire, will vote Conservative at the next election as their policies will always favour middle England. People will vote for them to look after their own interests, particularly if they are wealthy.

    However, the party and their background have never sat comfortably with me. Their elitist approach and motives, their sheer lack of understanding (in my opinion) of those living outside of a middle-class, ‘blue’ background (as you put it yourself) angers me. I also happen to find their recent leaders (Hague, Duncan-Smith, Cameron) completely laughable characters – ones who I feel are still well out of touch with modern society. I haved never voted Tory and I never will in the future – they oppose so many things that I believe in (and I, too, am from a similar background to you).

    I have many friends who will vote Tory at the next election, and they are certainly not racists. However, for me, it will be a sad day if/when they occupy Number 10 again.

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