Some Tory twat just suggested on Newsnight that the Conservative Party should be renamed, The Workers Party.
He went on to say that the Conservative Party needed to be the ‘trade union’ for everyone in the UK and that as a political party it had always stood for workers rights, workers opportunity, workers jobs and high wages for workers.
The thing is the twat seemed to really believe what he was saying. He seemed to really believe that the Conservatives are and always have been the party of the workers.
He said the symbol of the Conservative Party needed to be a ladder because they were all about helping workers onto the ‘ladder of self-improvement and prosperity.’
However, I personally found it very revealing about why people who aren’t rich vote for the Tories.
They seem themselves as hard working and aspirational. They ‘aspire’ to ‘make something of themselves’, to be ‘somebody’.
They buy into the rhetoric that failure to ‘succeed’ or ‘make something of yourself’ by ‘playing by the rules’ demonstrates laziness or moral fibre.
This is guy is describing the Party of the aspiring lower middle-class who believe in ‘hard work’ as a moral virtue but who do not wish to be identified as ‘workers’ in the sense of being ‘working class’.
Hence for them voting Tory is for them a signal that they aspire and validation that they are not members of the lumpen proletariat.
Jack London once said that socialism in the USA had never gained traction as a political idea because poor Americans did not see themselves as an exploited working class but as temporaryily embarrassed millionaires.
This is the self-deluding form of Conservatism that allows millions of the victims of capitalism to vote Tory.
My father trained as a plumber but became a self-employed builder with economic and especially ‘social’ ambitions. He was a classic lower middle-class Tory who was convinced he could ‘make something of himself’ by his own sheer determination and hard work. He worked as hard as any man I have ever known and did indeed manage through this relentless slog to provide his kids with the material benefits of a lower middle-class life-style including periods of private education.
BUT he paid a terrible, terrible, price for this as the capitalist system like a school bully sensed his character defects and his emotional vulnerability and ate the poor bastard alive. A serial bankrupt, his life from his early thirties to his death was one long tragedy of stress, confrontation, rage, marital failure, financial insecurity, humiliation and mental illness. His career ended in divorce, bankruptcy and complete financial aniahlation.
By his 65th birthday he lived alone in a small rented furnished flat above a shop and his only income was the state pension and housing benefit. Three months later he died in hospital from Multiple Myloma a form of Leukemia that had rotted his spine away meaning every and any tiny movement was excruciating agony. He was in an NHS hospital for nearly three months in a private side ward and on increasingly large doses of morphine
So at the end, despite all his efforts, despite 40 years of humiliating and unimaginatively stressful ‘hard work’, this aspiring working class Tory was entirely reliant on the NHS and the welfare state that his politics told him was the domain of dispicable, lazy scroungers, and which he had so resented paying for through the taxes he could not afford to pay and sought to avoid paying at all costs. And he didn’t even get to enjoy his free bus pass or his senior citizens rail card or free pensionsers meals at the day care centre because he was dead within three months of his 65th birthday.
This is not the story of ‘aspiration’ that the Tories want to tell, but for every Alan Sugar, every Richard Branson, every self made millionaire, there are ten thousand like my poor old man who were naively seduced by the lie that capitalism will reward hard work and broken on the wheel of their ownhopes and dreams.
The workers party my arse.