Social Conservatives, Please Don't Vote Conservative Today

Today across the United Kingdom is election day. Voters up and down the country will  be electing their local councillors, deciding in referenda whether they want town and city mayors, and in London will be settling the Boris v Ken battle for executive power over the capital for the next four years. In previous years I would have been working at a Conservative party headquarters somewhere in a key constituency, helping to run the Get out the Vote programme for critical seats.

But not today. For the first time in seven years I will not be working to get Conservatives into local or county councils, or into Parliament (Westminster or European). For the first time in almost a decade I will be watching the results come in and will not be wishing the blue figure to be as large as possible.

Today, social conservatives, I urge you NOT to vote Conservative. Why?

We have been betrayed. In 2010 we were offered a Big Society that looked to faith groups to share in the care of our society. In 2010 we were told by a potential Prime Minister that Parliament would get a free vote on reducing abortion. In 2010 we were bribed with the promise of clear recognition of the value of marriage in the tax system.

We got none of it. Instead we got a Government that has done nothing to defend Christians from expressing their faith (and indeed has even gone to the European Courts to stop us being able to wear crosses). We have had absolutely no support for the reduction of the time limit on abortion and instead have had key campaigners for this moral cause lampooned from the dispatch box. We have had no attempt by the Government to use the tax system to value that one single family relationship (marriage) which best supports children and provides them with optimal life outcomes.

We have been used and abused. We have been taken for granted. We have been ignored and sacrificed on the altar of political convenience and liberal dogma. Instead of supporting societal structures that research demonstrates time and time again are best for children, this Conservative Prime Minister has launched on a campaign to devalue traditional marriage, to redefine it so it becomes nothing more then gender-neutral civil partnership and to strip away all reference to bearing and raising children. We have a Government who peddle us a legal nonsense of a difference in the courts between “religious” and “civil” marriage, and when confronted on this take a laughable  “well, we’ll just work out how it all fits together later” attitude.

But we don’t need to take this lying down. We don’t need to feel powerless. A ComRes poll for the Sunday Times over the weekend demonstrated the shocking truth for the Conservative Party of 2012, that almost a third of those who voted Conservative two years previously now no longer intended to, and that of those who had switched their allegiance a third said that same-sex marriage made them less likely to vote Conservative. Compare this to the only 10% who said same-sex marriage would make them more likely to vote Conservative. A quick bit of number crunching and the Sunday Times estimated that this desertion of the Conservatives by social conservatives just like you would cost the Tories 30 seats at the next General Election and put paid to any hope of a Conservative majority in 2015.

And only yesterday came the news that in David Cameron’s own backyard of Witney, 75% of those who voted Conservative in 2010 are opposed to redefining marriage. Even in his own constituency, a Tory stronghold, David Cameron has seriously misjudged the mood.

So what to do? For most of us we need to wake up and realise that we have power in our vote and that we can use it to send a message to the current leadership of the Conservative Party that they cannot take our support for granted. We can do this by removing our support for Conservative candidates up and down the country and either abstaining or transferring our vote to other candidates who share our concerns and passions.

We should do this for the sake of our natural party. We should this to indicate to the Tory Party that it needs to think again about the direction it is taking and the huge natural supportive constituency it is alienating and offending. We should do this for the sake of a Conservative Manifesto in 2015 that isn’t revisionist, that listens to the people of the country and the hard evidence on family outcomes rather than just being blindly led by liberal dogma.

In one or two places you may have personal relationships with the candidates in your local area. If that is so then vote for them, but do so on the basis of that personal connection rather than a simple desire to automatically vote Conservative, and as you do vote for them let them know by email or letter or phone call that the only reason you are voting for them is because of your personal connection and were it otherwise they would have lost your support because of the national leadership’s stances. If however you are part of the 99% of electors who never meet the people they vote for, why back someone who you don’t know, whose party has turned it’s back on you? Furthermore, tell your local Conservative Party the reason you are not voting for their candidates – let them know what effect their national leadership has on their local efforts to be elected.

For the sake of the Conservative Party, please social conservatives don’t vote Conservative today.

Update – Read the comments on these two Conservative Home pieces by Eric Pickles and Andrew Lilico. I am not alone in my sentiments.

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  • jillfromharrow

    Well I didn’t vote for Boris.  He was my second choice, after the UKIP guy, as I don’t want Ken to get in.

    I got a phone call the other day from a nice young man from the ‘vote Boris’ team who asked me if I would be voting for Boris, and when I told him I wouldn’t he asked why.  I think he wished he hadn’t – I gave him both barrels.  He probably had to go and lie down in a darkened room afterwards.  He now knows all sorts of things that he didn’t know before about the likely outcomes of gay marriage.  I told him I would not be voting for the conservatives while they support this travesty.  I mentioned the word ‘betrayal’ too.

    • cerebusboy

      He now knows all sorts of things that he didn’t know before about the likely outcomes of gay marriage.  I told him I would not be voting for the conservatives while they support this travesty.  

       LOL! What “outcomes” would those be? Paedophilia? Bestilaity? Both at once? Or some other item from the anglican downstream alarmist menu? Did you point out, to use one of your own recent examples, that male-male female double anal penetration shows the horrors of the “gay lifestyle” (!) ? Not to burst your bubble, but political campaigners tend to be more than used to dealing with the tinfoil hat brigade who, to riot in understatement, are not exactly strangers to the conservative party. And gay people were not exactly unknown in the Tory party in the (say) halycon 80s, however much the Matthew Parrises of this world had to tolerate their more wingnut down-with-buggery fellow party members.

       As to Peter’s original post, perhaps it’s more pertinent to note that library closures in England that perhaps show that  the “Big Society”, as feared, is cover to move public services to “volunteers” (and who has the time and money necessary to volunteer in most cases? Why, the wealthy. What are the odds?) who, when they can’t deal the demands, get replaced by private companies (you are I’m sure aware of such companies who provide library services in the US).  Given that not even a Tory of Tebbit’s stripe would have ever dared call *publicly* for the abolition of public libraries perhaps this is one example that, silly “Christian” Institute scare stories, the “Big Society” is not exactly a capitulation to “liberalism”?

  • Quinquagesima

    You’re dead right, Peter. I saw the writing on the wall, and got out of politics a few years ago – everything I feared has happened, and worse. Having once been a Tory activist, Constituency Chairman, local councillor and Parliamentary candidate, I voted UKIP at the General Election. In this Council ward, there are only Tory, Labour, LibDem and Green candidates standing, so I’m just off to spoil my ballot paper. I wouldn’t vote Tory now if they paid me (which, of course, would be an electoral offence…)

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  • http://twitter.com/GodandPolitics God and Politics UK

    Hmm. Left a comment earlier and now it’s gone!  I agree with your sentiment Peter, but my rhetorical question is how annoyed do we need to be with our first choice party before we deceide we’ve had enough and vote for someone else.  It sounds like you’ve reached that point with the Conservatives.  I’m not seeing anything better from the Lid Dems and Labour though.

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