Monday, 4 May 2009

The Tory/SNP vortex

The Conservative Party are not the embodiment of "what Britain wants". They certainly aren't everyone's cup of tea, a large number of voters blindly hate them (e.g Scottish people who still can't get over Thatcher) and would never vote for them regardless of whatever change or policy they announced.

Every political party has a policy which invokes the "I could never vote for them because of..." reaction.
The Conservative Party have quite a few, to be honest. However, with the European elections coming up, I'll focus on the Conservatives policy on Europe.

I am still unconvinced on Britain's involvement with the EU, European Parliament etc. I think we reap a large number of benefits from increased involvement, while also losing control over issues which I feel we shouldn't do. I believe we should be involved, but maybe a less central format would suit us (and all other Europeans) better.

However, I do believe that Britain as a whole is pro-Europe. Sure there are the ridiculous elements like the constitution and pounds/kilos debacle, which we all think are nonsense, but they are to Europe what Lembit Opik is to the Liberal Democrats - just a silly bit that we have to put up with while receiving all the other stuff, the good stuff. I do believe that if Britain was asked, do we keep going with our 'Europe policy' as it is, or do we completely backtrack, pull out and say 'Non!', we'd overwhelmingly say "maintain".

However, the Conservative policy on this (along with various other issues) is at odds with the majority. The Conservative Party, who are due to be our elected Government very soon, have a policy and approach to Europe which we as a nation would not be in favour of. Iain Dale has done a (admittedly not very scientific) poll on voting intentions for the European elections and the Westminster election. The figures say quite a lot...
Tory vote for Euro election - 53%
Tory vote for Westminster - 73%.

Now these numbers may not be representative of the nation and are just a straw poll of bloggers, but they do show a trend that the Tories are less favoured when the topic is Europe.

However, despite this, and it's not as if their views on Europe are particularly secret, they will undoubtedly form the next Government and will probablt get the largest share of MEPs. If the Conservative Party had their ideal, we would be much, much more distanced from almost everything to do with Europe and this would have a massive impact on great swathes of Britain.

"We should be less involved - we should get out"

To me, sounds a bit similar to the ruling party in Scotland.

Yes, I'm saying it. The SNP and the Conservative Party are pretty similar.
The Tories would want more independence, the SNP want independence.
The Tories' views are at odds with the majority of the voters. Same with the SNP.
The Tories are about to become the Party of Government. The Scottish National Pary ARE the Party of Government.

So what do I conclude from this odd post? Two things.

1) The people don't care if they disagree with a political party on the really big issues, as long as they believe that policies they disagree with aren't going to be steamrolled over them onto the statute. It's a game of trust, like the European Constitution, where to quote Nick Clegg, "old fashioned decency" comes into it. Labour, on various occasions, have broken this trust which has hammered nail after nail in their electoral coffin.

2) As long as day-to-day we believe that you are going to be up front, honest, hard working and with the best intentions, the people will give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm yet to be fully convinced about independence, but would I vote for the SNP in the next Scottish Parliament election? I'd say 95% yes. I'm yet to be convinced by Cameron, and don't believe their policies on Europe are necessarily the right way to go, but will I vote Tory? Probably.

Winning an election right now, in the face of Labour disappearing with the Winter months, is pretty easy. The Labour Party have disintegrated and are nowhere near their climax of self-destruction, which I fear is yet to come. Across the UK (no offence Nats), yes, 'working class Glasgow-types' will always vote Labour. 'Posh types' will always vote Tory. But those in the middle are the ones that are their to be won and if successful, they win you election. The SNP knew that. They said "we believe in independence" but also want to make Scotland's hospitals better, our schools better, the bits that people really care about and notice. And that is why, despite their flagship policy being (for now) against the general view, they are still climbing in the polls and gaining approval from all angles and islands of Scotland.

Even with a leader that people are still sceptical about, the Tories, by promising decency, hard-work, honesty and to make progress on the things that matter, are going to walk this election.

They aren't even liked by the majority of people, but these days, politics and government is about 'in the cold light of day, who's going to do an all round better job?'.

The answer, to yet another question, is not Labour.


subrosa said...

Excellent post PD. I would disagree about only the 'middle classes' would vote SNP. Where I live used to be one of the safest tory seats in the UK (so is it a posh area - maybe on balance) but it's been an SNP constituency since 1997. Quite a few Scottish tories are torn between wanting independence and voting for the party where they feel they belong.

My opinion about the EU, for what it's worth, is we should have an arrangement like Switzerland and the Scandanavian countries.

Political Dissuasion said...

Thanks Subrosa.
I just think that people are less and less linked to "a party where they feel they belong". In the modern age, we're all too close and similar as a society to have discernable categories (aka parties) that we all fall into - one of my many arguments against a party based parliament. And on the EU, the more 'aloof' style of Switz etc certainly appeals, but simply because we're Britain, I'd be worried of any fall out that followed it up. Like the French, everyone likes to have a wee kick at the British.