Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Young Tories are hardly a protected species

There's a general rule with headlines on right-wing newspapers which are phrased as a question - the answer, no matter the question, is always "no".

Indeed, the article featured on The Tab entitled 'Don't hate me because I'm a Tory' begun with the killer questions: "Is it time to give Conservative students a break and stop using outdated stereotypes? Could it be damaging democracy?", both of which have an obvious reply.

Though what really exacerbated me most about the article was the sense of victimisation that many Conservative students seem to exemplify; some young Tories believe that they are a special but oppressed group, a protected species which is 'vilified' by the student populus.

I very much admire the wit and humour of Yamir Ash, the author of the piece, however I can't help but think that it fundamentally misunderstood attitudes to Conservative Futures, especially from our friendly Labour Students lot. Some radical people do indeed intensely dislike Tory policy - there is a genuine and often unexplored ideological argument that their policies seriously deplete the opportunities of the poorest in our society. Alas, you'd be unlikely to find a single Labour Club which is sponsoring the sort of verbal attacks that are claimed in the article.

There is another part of this piece which I find quite interesting:
"Louisa Townson added that many student Tories are ‘incredibly liberal people’ with the UCL Con Soc, ‘overflowing with feminism, pro-immigration stances and pro-gay marriage sentiments’."
The premise of this point is essentially that not all Conservatives are anti-feminist, racist and homophobic; in other words, the subtext is: "hey look, we've got women, foreigners and non-bigots too!" In the Labour party, we don't feel the need to point out that there are liberals who support these stances, since they are naturally good attitudes to maintain.

It's also unfair to decree that Tory students are 'feeling intimidated and endangered simply for their beliefs' - this too seems a bit beyond belief.

Though the sort of stigmatisation that they talk of concerns others too; I am sometimes brandished as a 'commie' because of my support for the Labour party. However, to be completely honest with you, I don't take the accusations of being a vegetable-eating, Guardian-reading Waitrose-shopper to heart. As such, I completely reject the notion that 'such predilections in the electorate could surely be decreasing the level to which people are being politically represented.'

In fact, it merely represents a desire by all human beings to categorise people - it's what we all do. Characterising people by their beliefs is not uncommon, whilst caricatures like Boris Johnson don't exactly help the stereotypes. On the other hand, the same could very much be said about a certain Marxism-influenced intellectual from North London, who happens to be the leader of a very major political party.

The irony of the Tab piece is that it reinforces the Tories' position as class conscious and constantly being defensive of their ideology. Tory students have simply stopped making the positive case for Conservatism, rather resorting to attacking the most radical of people who strongly disagree with them - as a result, the Progressives will win the arguments in the world of student politics.

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