The hysterical left will always call conservatives “Tory scum” and hate us with a blind, unthinking rage. It’s time to stop cowering at their attacks and apologising for our values
As 2015 draws to an end, we still have four and a half more years of David Cameron’s wishy-washy, ideologically rootless, Conservative In Name Only government to look forward to, followed by a general election which will almost certainly deliver another five years of blandness.
For small government conservatives and libertarians, this continual betrayal of principle is bad enough. But as an added insult, it also means four more years of being spat on and called “Tory scum” by demented far-left types who view David Cameron and George Osborne’s half-hearted attempts to pare back the state as the modern-day equivalent of Nazi war crimes, and who have no reservations in publicly saying so. Not very appealing.
That’s why the time has come for conservatives of all stripes to finally seize back the word “Tory” from the haters and reclaim it with pride, rather than meekly and apologetically crawling around and apologising for our values – values which saved this country from decline and irrelevance three decades ago, and can do so again if only we fully unleash them.
In that spirit, Tony Parsons’ article from earlier this year in GQ magazine – in which he “came out” as a reluctant member of the Tory Scum collective – is a great opening salvo in the fight back against the hysterical Left.
In his article, entitled “Why I’ve Become Tory Scum”, Tony Parsons calls out the Labour Party and other forces on the Left for the sanctimonious nature of their campaigning during the general election, and their utter inability to empathise with their opponents – or even entertain the thought that those who oppose them might be doing so from a position of legitimate, morally valid disagreement.
Parsons points out:
The general election was decided not by shy Tories but by us reluctant Conservatives. The millions like me who saw nothing but catastrophe in Labour’s addiction to high taxes and big spending, their loathing of success, the way they could use a word like “mansion” with a straight face and, above all, that endless pious prattle about the NHS – as though the British have no other identity but as a sickly, enfeebled, diseased people in need of having our bottoms wiped by the state from dawn till dusk.
Sadly, Parsons may be right about the British as an enfeebled and dependent people in thrall to the NHS, judging by the current exercise in mass virtue-signalling underway to make this awful song Christmas no. 1 in the charts.
But the truth is that David Cameron’s government is very much an unremarkable continuation of New Labour. Far from being a son of Thatcher, Cameron and his leadership team are very much the heirs to Blair, and would bear comparison with many centre-left governments around the world. The Conservative Party, even under Thatcher, has in many respects always been to the left of even the Democratic Party in the United States, and certainly is so now.
Of course, you would not think that the Conservatives were in any way moderate, judging by the hysteria among many vocal parts of the Left, who present David Cameron’s steady-as-she-goes paternalism and tentative deficit reduction as some kind of outrageous economic shock treatment combined with “human rights” abuses worthy of the Nazis.
Tony Parsons ponders why this is so:
Why are those of us who believe in a different economic model – one where aspiration is encouraged, where the state gets out of your way and doesn’t spend money it doesn’t have – morally reprehensible? Exactly why are we scum? History suggests that, when presented with the chance to vote for socialism the British people always run as fast as we can in the opposite direction. It doesn’t make us bad people. But the left have lost the argument and are reduced to shrieking abuse.
But then the hysterical far left have always talked about conservatives thus, and they always will. Parsons recognises this as he writes:
The loud left are as pertinent to modern Britain as blacksmiths. No wonder their protests are increasingly ugly. They react with furious disbelief at the result of a democratic election. They rave about balancing the nation’s books as if it was like drowning kittens in a sack. They scream in our faces about their own compassion while bandying around epithets like “scum” and “filth” with the vicious abandon of Nazis talking about Jews.
Since the abuse will never end, clearly there is nothing to be gained from running from it any longer. Nor is there anything to be gained by continually apologising for core conservative principles – free individuals and strong families, fiscal conservatism and a prohibitive national defence – as the current Conservative leadership sadly continues to do.
What British conservatism and libertarianism really need is their own version of Jeremy Corbyn – someone who unapologetically sticks to their principles, refusing to water them down for political expediency, and who seeks to lead and persuade rather than conform to the results of the latest opinion poll or focus group.
Or to use a West Wing analogy, British conservatism needs a Matthew Santos-like figure, someone willing to proudly wear the “Tory” label just like Santos refused to apologise for being a liberal in the famous presidential debate episode:
Speaking up for American liberalism in a way that one can only wish David Cameron or George Osborne would do for small government conservatism, Santos says to his Republican opponent:
What did liberals do that was so offensive to the liberal party? I’ll tell you what they did. Liberals got women the right to vote. Liberals got African-Americans the right to vote. Liberals created social security and lifted millions of elderly people out of poverty. Liberals ended segregation. Liberals passed the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act. Liberals created Medicare. Liberals passed the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act. What did conservatives do? They opposed every single one of those things. Every one.
So when you try to hurl that label at my feet – liberal – as if it were something to be ashamed of, something dirty, something to run away from, it won’t work, Senator. Because I will pick up that label and I will wear it as a badge of honour.
Of course it is almost unimaginable for a conservative to ever talk this way, with such passion, partly because we tend not to make such grand claims for ourselves in reshaping the world or forcibly changing human nature in pursuance of our goals. It is not in our nature to brag about our accomplishments, because the biggest accomplishment a conservative can aim for in government is to get out of the way and help remove obstacles from others so that they might reach their full potential.
But more than this, British conservatives since Margaret Thatcher have had precious little to brag about. Locked out of office under thirteen years of New Labour, the Conservative Party which emerged under David Cameron has made so many compromises with triangulating, Blairite centrism that there are almost no genuinely conservative policy victories or changes in the country which we can claim.
What are we supposed to brag about? Remember when the Tories stood up to the growing climate of intolerance toward freedom of expression, and formally codified a British citizen’s right to free speech? We can’t say that because it didn’t happen. Indeed, under Theresa May Britain is becoming an even more authoritarian police state than it was before, with human beings languishing in our prisons simply for saying, singing, or tweeting the “wrong” thing.
Remember when George Osborne struck a blow for fiscal conservatism, rallied the country with his argument that it was morally obscene for government to spend more on debt repayments than education or the military, and achieved a real budget surplus in order to finally begin paying down the national debt? We can’t say that either, because although Osborne is happy for the public and lazy journalists to believe that the Tories are “paying down Britain’s debts”, in reality the government is doing no such thing.
Conservative supporters truly have the worst of both worlds at present. We are attacked by the furious Left for an ideologically-motivated attack on the state and its poorest dependants, while in reality almost zero real conservative reform is being enacted. We are stuck with the leftist abuse, but have absolutely nothing positive to show for it.
As this blog asked when Jeremy Corbyn was on the cusp of winning the Labour leadership contest, finally giving one of Britain’s two main parties a leader who demonstrably believed in something more than the acquisition and keeping of power:
If David Cameron’s Conservative Party was voted out of office today, what will future historians and political commentators say about this government fifty years from now? What will be the Cameron / Osborne legacy? What edifices of stone, statute and policy will remain standing as testament to their time in office? Try to picture it clearly.
Are you happy with what you see?
No real conservative should be happy with what they see right now. Assuming that the political pendulum will at some point swing back in favour of the Labour Party, we conservatives have almost nothing to show after five years of David Cameron other than a half-finished job clearing the budget deficit. We have a reanimated Ted Heath sitting in Downing Street, not a worthy heir to Margaret Thatcher.
But just as the American Tea Party lay conspicuously dormant for the many years of fiscal profligacy and budget-busting spending under the George W. Bush administration only to miraculously awaken when a man named Barack Hussein Obama won the presidency, so the hysterical British Left are now shrieking bloody murder over a set of very pedestrian, middle-of-the-road centrist policies being enacted by the Conservative Party after having airily ignored the very same governing philosophy when the now-hated Blairites were in charge.
As conservatives, we realise there is no point in launching a futile battle against human nature or the instinct of many on the Left to demonise that which they do not or cannot understand. They will continue to call us “Tory Scum” and we have no control over that.
But we do have the power to take back ownership of the label “Tory” and refuse to see it as an insult.
We do have the power to point out that there is nothing virtuous or compassionate about throwing more money at unreformed healthcare and welfare systems, or spreading the wealth around so much that wealth creation is destroyed or driven overseas.
We do have the power to proclaim the importance of fiscal conservatism, not out of some wonkish obsession with balancing the books but because running up further government debt today is a blatant act of intergenerational theft, living at the expense of our children and grandchildren. And because as we have seen with other countries, excessive national debt can become a foreign policy and national security issue too.
We do have the power to point out to anyone who will listen that the modern Left love to parade their virtue and ideological purity but have apparently given up on coming up with alternative policies of their own, and to demand that Labour produce some costed tax and spending plans rather than simply railing against the inhumanity of the Evil Tories.
We do have the power to point out the many ways in which David Cameron’s pitiful excuse for a Conservative government ignores or betrays real conservative values, and to declare “not in my name”.
We do have the power to say “Oui, Je Suis Tory Scum – and I wish that our prime minister was a real conservative too, rather than a reheated Blairite with an ominous, socialist plan for every stage of our lives“.
The Left are not going to change, so we had better get used to the spitting, the vandalism, and the overwrought, emotional and short-termist way in which they discuss public policy.
But we can change. We can stop lying down and taking it every time a virtue-signalling lefty pontificates on welfare without offering a plan of their own, or seeks to win an argument on healthcare by stoking the public’s idolatry of the NHS.
We can stop fighting on the Left’s terms.
And who knows, if small government conservatives and libertarians actually succeed in getting off the back foot for the first time since Margaret Thatcher left 10 Downing Street, we might even manage to salvage something from David Cameron’s woeful premiership.
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Firstly, I assume you understand the difference between the words “Tory” and “Conservative” and how they’ve become synonymous. (I’ll leave you to do the research if not). This might help in understanding the passions raised by the ‘left’ when referring to any Conservative government and its supporters. Secondly, the concept of a ‘small government’ assumes that we live in a ‘meritocracy’, which is a myth. Privilege is inherited, not earned. The chances of a ‘commoner’ reaching the heights of wealth and power are less than those of winning the Eurolottery! The “successful entrepreneur” has to rely on a huge number of people in order to succeed. Not least public services which have to be paid for. S/he would also need consumers and workers to either provide the labour required for the services/products or simply maintenance. There is no such thing as a “self made man”. So, despite Thatcher’s assertion that “there is no such thing as society”, we are interdependent! “Small governments” would become unaccountable dictatorships serving only the privileged. How does that make for a better country? How do you propose to treat the very people who provide the labour which actually creates the wealth? Those not born into privilege and do not have free access to the highest institutions? How do you propose to treat the sick, disabled, elderly and unemployed? How do you imagine a “small government” manages foreign policy and outside (global) obligations? Conservatives have the reputation of being self-serving, narrow minded people who live in a bubble of self interest. The wider world evades their sphere of understanding simply because it doesn’t affect them personally. However, if they don’t gain a wider comprehension, it may just do so.
PS: But at least one thing I wholeheartedly enjoyed: The classification of David Cameron as Blairite. We agree on this one, fully.
I had trouble reading through the whole article without screaming in pain. 😉 I pity you, Samuel, your life is hard and full of challenges, all because you are obviously being persecuted for your political views.
Or maybe you just miss a simple fact… that conservatism and liberalism (two words that hardly go together, unless in the mind of neo cons and neo liberals) don’t work in a modern world that already sees the impact of failing wealth distribution. Capitalism isn’t liberal anymore if you cut out government. It’s an oligarchy, and the opposite of liberal. It’s also the opposite of capitalism – and conservative it is only if you like the idea of traditional monarchies, where a small elite ruled everybody, their power nearly unchallenged.
How “liberals” of your sort don’t see these very simple facts is beyond me…
Samuel, you are not scum, just disgraceful. My evidence, read your own work
Thanks for taking the time to upgrade me from “scum” to “disgraceful”, you pious, sanctimonious, ignorant, self-congratulatory, virtue-signalling bore.
Well, well. There’s my evidence!!
Call me “disgraceful” on my blog without providing any evidence, and you should expect to get hit back. By your twisted logic, anyone who believes in small government should writhe around on the floor apologising for their very existence while you prance around lording your moral superiority over them. Not playing that game, sorry.
Conservative policies are all ideological to keep the power with the few at the top, than what’s best for most people or the economy. Why else would they have done the worst thing imaginable for the economy in a recession by increasing VAT to make everything more expensive to slow down spending, as well as other tax that affects the poor the most like bedroom tax and making disabled people pay council tax from the minimum amount they can live on. Then do nothing with the extra tax except give millionaires tax cuts, while saying there have to be cuts to vital services?
It’s like when the Conservatives were in power before in the 80s, when they stole and sold off nearly everything public owned, then added tax that affects the poor the most like constant VAT increases, the first government to add tax to household bills after they privatised the energy companies, and the Poll Tax where an 18 year old in a bed sit had to pay the same as a lord in a manor.
Then by the late 80s after not spending the money on anything anybody wanted, such as more social housing or the NHS because waiting lists were the longest ever, they said they were broke, giving them an excuse to not put money into what services were left, making them the worst in Europe, still blaming Labour for what the Tories do after 10 years. It was also the Conservatives who turned us into a banking nation with nothing else to fall back on, where people’s credit rating was the most important thing in their life, which all crashes every few years when nobody can pay back the debt they’re encouraged to have. If Labour had put too many controls on all the Tories left us with, the Tories would have been the first to make a fuss, accusing Labour of being too controlling.
Look at how the Tories tried to vote against Labour’s long awaited House of Lords reform, to reduce the number of hereditary Lords. The Tories wanted their upper class friends to be entitled to be paid for going nothing, with expenses and subsidised bars and restaurants. Then when Labour brought in the first ever minimum wage, the Tories tried to vote against that too. Now they’re saying they’re for a minimum wage. Are they saying they lied before when they said that any form on minimum wage would be bad for the economy?
That party never seem with it anyway. On the same show that Boris Johnson said Germany never used chemical weapons in wars, he said an even bigger lie that nobody seemed to notice, as said there wasn’t a vote on the 2nd war against Iraq, when more Conservative MPs voted yes to it than other parties.
They’re managing to convince idiots that getting rid of human rights is about terrorists, when there are already exceptions against national security. That’s why Abu Hamza failed in his case. It’s only about taking away rights from the majority. Look at how the Tories tried to use the police as their personal army against workers fighting to keep their jobs, lying that shipbuilding would go over to third world countries, when it’s now in rich nations such as Japan.
Then when the future generations in those communities feel they have no hope apart from a job in Tescos, the Tories kick them down even more. At least Labour helped to rebuild those communities ruined by the Tories, by promoting more than ever to go to university, but now even to study with the OU it’s 5,000 a year in student loans.
We now have a government where the PM, chancellor and London Mayor all went to the Bullingdon Club, giving each other top jobs, and some think they will act in the interests of many.
And long may you continue in that vein.
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I agree that the right need a strong principled leader. We found common ground over this in the summer regarding Corbyn, albeit coming at things from different perspectives.
Where I would request a little moderation would be over your oft repeated inference that the left are inveterate spitters. This may refer to an alleged report of an isolated incident from conference season perpetrated by persons unknown, and referring to this out of context is, I suspect, for rhetorical effect.
The voice and language of the left will always be more combative in opposition. We are the dreamers, the artists and the agitators. We are not, in the natural scheme of things the rulers, the lawmakers, or the leaders. It’s inevitable that emotions run high on the left. What you refer to as ‘virtue signalling’ is, in most cases, an earnest desire to see fairness and equality of opportunity.
I will continue to argue reason from the left, and I trust you enough to present a fair and balanced view as always.
Common political ground – it’s a Christmas miracle!
Seriously though, I take your point on board. Obviously the vast majority of the Left – even those who do believe that the Tories are actually “evil” – do not resort to spitting, though I do maintain that the anti-Tory fervour brewed and then lost control of by centrist Labour will make such scenes more frequent. But it’s not a common occurrence by any means, and I’ll refrain from suggesting otherwise.
The purpose of my piece is, I suppose, an attempt to rally my own side. We lack the moral authority of official opposition, as our supposed party is currently in government, and so it is easy for us to be permanently defensive, even when we are often just as disappointed by Cameron’s government as the Left. My great fear is that the pendulum will have swung back in Labour’s favour without the Cameron government having done a single thing that small conservative governments can be proud of – that we are essentially wasting the current Tory hegemony on centrist nonsense. Hence my desire to whip up a bit more excitement from the silent minority of those who share my own political stance.
You make a fair point about the reasons for the Left’s more strident language. And legitimate criticism of the government or right-wing politics is not automatically “virtue-signalling”. But an awful lot of it is, and not just on social media. All of the Labour leadership candidates were guilty to a lesser or greater degree, as are many left-leaning commentators – starting from the position that the Tories are bad and to be resisted, and then wondering why they are failing to win over half the country. Maybe it’s personal bias or a reflection on the news I consume, but I only see a similar hatred of Labour at the fringes, almost never among the mainstream.
Nonetheless, I’ll strive to stay as “fair and balanced” as possible. You can certainly be sure that I will spend as much time attacking my own “side” as I do the Left!
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What a load of drivel. The Tories are regarded as scum because they are….simples!
Way to back up your assertion, rhodie1109. Really impressive.