The Sun may claim, just as the paper did in 1992, it was it “wot won it” yesterday, but ultimately, just like all those years ago, it was the shy Tory voters who came out in force yesterday to deliver Cameron the Conservative majority that eluded him in 2010.
I am not one of those shy Tory voters. The threat of a Labour-SNP axis looming over the United Kingdom, placing the economic recovery in turmoil and risking disuniting our nation was enough of an impetus for me to encourage everyone I know to back the Conservatives. How could I not with 2 million more people in work, the deficit halved as a percentage of GDP, the economy growing, and real term wage increases again for workers?
For me, the choice was clear this election but if anything the campaign showed that many Tories were unprepared to espouse their ideals as loudly as a certain strand of the Left do.
So, why is there such hesitancy among Conservative voters to support this record? The simple answer is that for many, particularly students like myself, it is still seen as taboo to support the Conservative Party. F**k Tories signs dotted across university, student unions dominated by the far left - who worry more about solidarity with Peruvian revolutionaries than they do about issues for students on campus - and being called a murderer for expressing right wing opinions – all combine to make it feel as if the Left has a monopoly on university life.
Nonetheless, nowhere is being a shy Tory more encouraged than on social media, specifically Facebook, where any movement away from the “progressive line” is treated as treason. Tories are seen as inherently bad. Those who support fiscal sensibility are painted as devious or tricksters who have pulled the wool over an electorate made out to be naturally left wing. On an event created to “Stop the Tory Coup” one user claimed the election was “a fix” - and started to organise a protest against the democratic outcome.
After the election such self-righteousness continued. One Facebook user claimed that someone was simply “wrong” when a friend posted he thought Britain had made the right decision. Another Facebook user claimed the electorate were “simply not ready for someone who knew what they were doing” in reference to the poor showing by Miliband’s party.
John Leisk, from Colchester, a seat that swung to Conservatives against polling, gave what he thought was the reason for him being a shy Tory: “ Supporters of Labour and other left wing parties are convinced they have the moral high ground and that any disagreement is inhumane, as a result any confession of Tory support is shouted down and abused.” Is it worth the effort? Not really.
If it’s not worth the effort to argue on social media, and on campuses supporting the Tories is seen as taboo, no wonder being a Tory is a secret kept close to people’s chest. At the end of the day, petitions written in capitals and idealistic statuses liked by 30 left wing friends do not win you majorities. Clear, coherent and sustainable policies do and that is why more people voted for the Conservatives than any other party yesterday.
As a friend's mum said, “I’m very happy the country is apparently more intelligent than social media makes it seem.”
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