Just before the election, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook (the audacity!) about why you shouldn’t vote Conservative. It was angry, and conflated the desire to vote Tory with being neglectful. It was, as most of these statuses are, unremarkable in the fact that it declared a person’s opinion, along with a few facts about the consequences of the last five years.
Cue the Tory tidal wave of righteous indignation. “I think it’s a bit out of line.” “We’re all entitled to our opinions.” How dare you point to how my political opinion might have personal and ethical implication! Leave me and my black lab in peace.
You might think that if you’re voting Tory, you’re voting for something objective and unemotional like economic policy (which, of course, can never combine with social policy). It’s just as simple as that. You probably just believe your vote has nothing to do with pointless emotional engagement, because at the end of the day you just need to do what’s best for the country in order to create a stable Britain. Those left-wingers calling you immoral, pathetic scum on social media are making unnecessary ad hominem attacks on you and your opinions, which are just as valid as theirs.
Except, here’s the problem. When you see an expression of dislike towards you as a person because you voted for the Conservative Party, that is not a tantrum because you disagree with a lefty. It’s because the things you are voting for – the policies – economic and social, make you directly complicit in something that, like an act such as kicking a puppy in the face because you can, is wrong. It is an emotional response, because when you look at the choice you made at this general election, you need to observe the effects that choice will have on individual people, and empathise.
This is not a weakness because it is not the fucking Victorian era and you are not in a boarding school with Jane Eyre. It is not clouding your vision to make decisions because as adults, we make decisions every day that involve our emotions, without fainting. In fact, if anyone’s blind, it’s probably a load of white, cis, middle class guys telling the world it’s actually going to be all right, and that the Tories aren’t neglecting those at the bottom. When have they ever seen what it’s like at the bottom?
When I call you immoral, or a cunt, it’s not because I’m angry you take a differing opinion to me. Nor is it just because I think the policies you agree in are bad just because they’re Tory. Or because we’ve lost - if the Libdems had taken a majority (lol) I’d be annoyed, but I’d probably not call them immoral. It’s because you believe that some abstract notion that “a strong economy” without any promise of an eventual redistribution is better than helping those who have nowhere to live, or learn, or to get help. It is immoral to kick disabled people out of their houses because they have one extra bedroom, to cut housing benefits to the under 21s, to cut legal aid and the CAB so people actively can’t seek legal advice, to have 96% of your party vote so LGBT couples can’t adopt. Even though austerity doesn’t work, the Tories historically haven’t been too keen on changing their welfare policy at the best of times - see: strong economic periods in Tory rule, such as Thatcher era, when huge cuts were made to education, housing and the arts. It’s selfish, and it pisses me off.
Have your opinion, but preferably don’t have one that contributes to a poverty and inequality. So let’s make this clear once and for all: I’m calling you a cunt, not because of some abstract tribalist anger at a your Tory vote, but because the policies you vote for make you a cunt.