It is 2015 and David Cameron has been returned as Prime Minister, with the Conservatives securing a majority of seats in Parliament. Despite all the gloomy polls; despite the threat of UKIP splitting our vote; despite an electoral disaster in 2010 for Labour where ‘things could only get better’ for them; despite woefully uneven constituency sizes that favour Labour’s fortunes; we won! The British people came out in their swathes to back our party and our plan for Britain to continue with the recovery and enjoy the fruits of our country’s hard work to turn the corner in recent years.
It is an important moment for our party. Many of us had feared we were fighting an unwinnable battle. Many of us wanted Cameron to change course to attract UKIP voters back to the fold; many of us wanted grand gestures and became frustrated with all those odds against our return to government.
Those concerns were proved wrong; Cameron was proved right. As with the wets who wanted Thatcher to change course in the early-80s, dangerous friction had occurred on several occasions. But as with 1983, the British people stepped up to the plate in May and saved our country from the calamity that would have ensued from a hopelessly out-of-touch, deranged, and oblivious Labour Party being anywhere near the levers of government.
The only times Labour has won elections for decades is when they have pursued a Conservative-looking agenda, sympathetic to the concerns of an aspirational, proud nation whose peoples’ instincts are generally conservative. It is amazing to think that Labour hasn’t won a single general election in over forty years for which Tony Blair was not their leader.
It is now time for the broader family of conservatives to unite around Cameron’s leadership and the Conservative Party’s battle to win the hearts and minds of modern Britain. Labour pursued a poisonously envy-fuelled campaign directed at securing the 35% of the vote needed for them to get back into government. We fought a battle across 100% of Britain to win the backing of people from all walks of life who had a common belief in Britain’s future, and who had the courage to secure it. We won that battle, and Britain will benefit from the result.
Having finally secured another majority, it is now our key political task to press ahead and ensure that we reverse the phenomenon of ‘shy Tories’, who end up backing us in the booth but fail to admit their allegiance publically. That way, more people will come to the fold – we will reach out to more voters and more of Britain. People should be ashamed to have supported Labour, not the Conservatives. Our records are starkly different, and our record is just so much better.
Going two centuries back, it was a Conservative, William Wilberforce, who led the abolishment of slavery in Britain. It was a Conservative, Benjamin Disraeli, who extended the vote to working men, and Conservatives in power who opened the vote to women and then equalised the voting age for women. It was a Conservative, Winston Churchill, who led the defence of common civilisation against barbaric fascism, liberating millions from the tyranny of Nazism. It was a Conservative, Harold MacMillan, who introduced the concept of a property owning democracy, and another Conservative, Margaret Thatcher, who realised that dream, extending the right to own your own house to people who had never dared dream of such a privilege. She went on to help end the Cold War, freeing millions of the world’s most oppressed from the clutches of Soviet oppression after years of Labour’s appeasement and sometimes reverence of this failed and miserable human experiment. We have produced the first female Prime Minister and the first British Asian Secretary of State; Labour has produced neither.
Over the last five years, we have helped with the creation of some 2 million jobs, enhancing self-worth and opportunity for some of the most vulnerable in our society. We have raised the income tax threshold so that low-and-middle-income earners pay no tax whatsoever on over £10,000 of their earnings. We have gained greater control over public finances, ensuring that families were spared from the desperate desolation that would have followed from Labour’s woeful mismanagement of the country’s finances in preceding years. We have opened up choice and raised standards in state-sponsored education, ensuring that not having enough money doesn’t necessarily preclude you from providing a better start in life for your child.
On the other hand, Labour left this country in a ruinous mess, harming peoples’ lives. We were on track to have a larger deficit than that of Greece’s under Labour; small businesses and families had been bankrupted by their economic ineptitude. Sudden public spending savings that had to be found without the preparation of time after years of Labour’s splurging of taxpayers’ money harmed some of the weakest and most vulnerable in our society. They cut the NHS in Wales, destroying services in that area of the UK; they destroyed Britain’s ability to compete in the world and to create more jobs for the unemployed; they stuck perfectly able people onto the drip of state dependency, sapping the life out of communities and families even before the economy turned sour under their stewardship.
If anyone should be ashamed of their record, it must be Labour, which has left this country with higher unemployment and a harmful economic climate every single time they have left office.
In the wake of the Conservatives’ electoral victory, it was so-called ‘anti-Tory protestors’ who disgracefully defaced a war memorial to the dead women of the Second World War. These people should be publically held to account, and the smug self-righteousness of this malicious part of the modern British Left should be exposed for what it is.
If the likes of Russell Brand and Eddie Izzard spent more of their time coming out in outrage against this type of appalling behaviour and less time making vague and imprecise attacks against ‘the Tories’, how much more the majority of us might respect them when they sincerely try to enter the political stage and attempt to argue a point.
A politics based on envy is not inclusive. A class-based politics built from hatred is not pleasant. A politics propped up by economic insanity is not benign.
Next time our country goes to the polls, frankly, I hope there aren’t any Labour supporters left. And I believe that those who are left would have every reason to be shy. Next time, I hope the Conservatives will have proved our worth to the British people, and that we will be talking about proud, not shy, Tories. We have just won the election; now we should aim to re-win the cultural battle, bringing the British people on side in an open, positive way.