I was born in the socialist heartland of north east England and come from a long line of peasants and pit ponies. I inherited my politics at birth the way many inherit their religion. As a young teenager in the 1980s I witnessed the miners strike and saw what “for the many, not the few” actually meant in practice. I heard about the men who, putting their families before party interests, were smashed up in the car park behind the Labour Club; the kids bullied and spat at in school; women turned away from shops with their “scab” money.
A “scab” was the pejorative term given to men who broke the strike picket line and went to work. The official correctives to this were intense campaigns of community ostracism, intimidation and worse, as in the case of Welsh taxi driver, David Wilkie who was murdered when two comrades dropped a concrete block from a footbridge onto his taxi whilst he was driving a “scab” to work. Arthur Scargill, the leader of the miners union, had called the miners out to strike and they had no choice but to follow party orders. Those who tried to assert their free will, or even assist them, were taught a brutal lesson. Socialism isn’t about free will, it is about the party will. For the many not the few. Or woe betide you.
A couple years later I left school at 16 with zero qualifications and a recommendation from the ‘careers’ advisor to get a job at the cheese counter in Prestos. It was that or the crisp factory. I wanted to go to college to get some qualifications. My feminist, Labour Party activist, full time employed, union representive, single mother said, “No!” I was working class. When you left school you went to work. That’s why it’s called working class. For the many, not the few. “Who do you think you are,” she asked, “the Queen of frigging Sheeba?”
The media indoctrinates today’s adolescents with a similar script and they learn it verbatim. They are outraged, we learn, to be stuck with the economic, environmental and moral debts from a previous, non-university educated generation. They are arbitrary called out on “school” strike by an unofficial environmental union. Every Friday, they are torn away from the alienating oppression of their textile design, climate catastrophe and gender theory classes in their state sponsored schools and colleges to protest at the imposition of this debt, whilst still being tax drainers not contributors. Irony is not on the syllabus.
But here, an important note should be made: the inchoate anger of youth, their hormonally induced, free floating angst and fear have been weaponized and reorientated by ideologues since the dawn of civilization. Once they were cannon fodder in actual war, now they are cannon fodder in a post-modern ideological war - both of which have the same outcome in barren, childless human drones sacrificing their evolutionary legacy for an ideology. The young and naive have been the human ingredients, the ideological cannon fodder for millennia. They always will be. Look at the ideologically possessed and weaponized Greta Thunberg for a stark and bleak example of youth's blind passion for political positions they know nothing about. How could they, they're kids?
For many years of my life I remained loyal to the Labour Party whilst living the poverty stricken but very individualistic life of a transient bohemian. I continued to vote Labour but never actually delved into the history of political philosophy. I carried around the vague definitions of Labour and Conservative I had been told as a child - that Labour cared about the working class and the Conservatives only cared about the rich. For over 10 years this was my guiding political philosophy. I voted out of habit, not out of any appreciation of the complexity of issues. It was a black and white issue, a zero sum game of good guys and bad guys. My young and naive self had no appreciation of the essential antagonistic pressure that both left and right place on the other to keep each of their excesses in check. I had no idea of the bloody history of how our current political institutions developed over time. That our regular democratic elections didn’t come into being arbitrarily, but were a result of hundreds of years of political experiments across the globe to find a solution that would lead to the peaceful transition of power - peaceful being the operative word. Though fraught with stress and passion, such mechanisms work at keeping the peace. Most of the time. We forget that at our peril.
I didn't know back then, that an intrinsic element of this mechanism, of the peaceful transition of power, was that it was an ongoing process and every voter would get another chance four years later, at least in the Western world. The game was never over. The fat lady never sang. We all lived to fight another day. I knew, in fact, nothing about what politics is and what our political processes and mechanisms guard against. For most of history, the losing side, has never survived to fight another day but now they do, as Churchill famously stated, of the many ways to run a nation, democracy is our least worst option. The other option is chaos.
Now I am older and no longer under the spell of my historical indoctrination, I do understand. I can see how the efforts to revoke the biggest democratic franchise in British history might topple this whole enterprise. I voted for Brexit with some reservations, but would have accepted the result had it gone against me, trusting the democratic process would allow me another crack of the whip at some future point. Those wishing to subvert that process do not appear to have any understanding or respect of the mechanisms they would so casually revoke.
Who deserves to govern the UK? In my humble opinion it is certainly not the radicals and revolutionaries who would dismiss the hard won victories of our past political achievements. The people who should govern ought to be those dedicated to upholding the principles of classical liberal, representative democracy, equality of opportunity not outcome, limited government, family and community values, national sovereignty, free speech and due process.
I’m voting for these principles not personalities, with my heart and my head, drawing on instinct and life experience. I’m voting Conservative. In spite of my natal political assignment. In spite of the narrative that we are a divided people, I think we have more in common than not. Most of us are working people who just want to get on with our lives without infringing on others. This is a basic classical liberal premise. Live and let live. Unfortunately there are many other people who want to infringe on that simple goal. How should you vote? Think about your core values and principles. What do you care about? For most of us those things will lie close to home. So vote for you. Not the many. Not the few. For you. And our common human nature will do the rest.