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Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tory Menace, Republican Farce

[MASSIVE LEFTY WARNING. Likely to offend those not quite so Lefty.]

I'm not sure which kind of right-wing folk I'd want in this country right now - our current UK Tory government, or the US Republican party.

Our Tories (because let's face it, for a long time, there's been no coalition) aren't the kind of frothing-at-the-mouth conservatives that you seem to get in US politics. They might appear similar in many ways - predominantly male, predominantly white, predominantly fairly wealthy, predominantly possessed of ties to businesses of many stripes.

US conservatives, however, seem to be conservative to the point of comedy, in all areas. Especially religion and personal freedoms. Being vocally and publically terrified of homosexuality, decrying their opponents by making things up about their personal lives, deliberately trying to come across as downhome and uncomplicated by not bothering to fact-check, blaming immigrants and welfare recipients for everything that has gone wrong since they got into power, being so overtly against worker's rights that in order to be MORE against those rights they'd have to walk into the workplace and actually physically assault people.

Lets face it. So few people in this country would vote for that kind of politician. They'd have their supporters, no doubt - some voters are, well, a bit weird - but they'd never have the kind of support that would lead to them running the country. We just don't operate like that as a people - I like to think that we probably find that in-your-face lack of education on the female body to be an insult to schools everywhere, and that unless one is a total homophobe, the Republican attitude to gay folk to be more repugnant than gay rights ever could be.

Which is why I'd rather have the Republican party opposing Labour here, rather than the Tories.

Why? Because for so long in this country, most parties have been racing to appear as middle-ground as possible. We're not big fans of extremism in this country. Most of us anyway. There's some blips on the radarwhere the BNP and the EDL are concerned, but probably only with as great a percentage of our population as those with serious mental disorders.

So in this country, the face of Conservatism - of austerity, of regular folk picking up the slack to make imaginary numbers balance, of privatising the things which were once ours as a nation and to hell with the needy - has to adopt a more acceptable face; it has to don a mask. It becomes insidious.

Because it is less extreme in several areas - in fact, the one thing I believe our Prime Minister has done right is to take a positive attitude toward gay marriage - it is seen as acceptable; and thus people vote for it, and see it as similar enough to any other political party that they will still view them all as on a similar level. I cannot tell you how often I've heard otherwise intelligent people tell me "They're all the same really".

Yes, except...under the last Labour government, we muttered that over ASBOs, or relations with the US. And under the Tory government, we mutter that while we lose our jobs, and the only people doing well are those buying out our public services - them, and debt collectors.

All the same, really.

Well done, Tories. Just middle-ground enough that people will still vote for you - still right-wing enough that you'll happily string up your people.

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