Shy Lefties and the Tory Assumption

by George_East on May 12, 2015

champagne corkThis afternoon the place where I work is having a champagne celebration of the election result.

I don’t work at Conservative Party Central Office, but sometimes it feels like it.  I have had to endure weeks of a straight up assumption that I vote Tory and that a Labour minority government in an arrangement with the SNP would have been akin to Petrograd in 1917.   There was a general sense that the world would come to an end if Ed Miliband ended up as Prime Minster.

It is true to say that the commercial Bar is no place to be if your politics are even slightly to the left.   A member of my Chambers was loudly proclaiming the other day that he was a ‘bit of lefty’ because he’d voted Nick Clegg last time (largely so far as I could tell to keep Labour out) but that Labour’s taxation policy was ‘madness’.   A pupil dared to ask which way a member of Chambers was voting, only to be met with a ‘do you want to pay more tax?’ clipped response, as if the pupil simply by asking the question and shown that they were too intellectually feeble to succeed as a barrister.

It isn’t particularly surprising of course.  Many of my colleagues are the kind of people who would have been subject to multiple mansion tax hits: on their country piles and their fancy West London houses.   This and the commitment to raise the top rate of income tax back to 50% was perceived as an intolerable attack on their wealth and position.

It is therefore amusing to watch the explanation for the polls being so wrong as being shy Tories not willing to tell the polling companies of their voting proclivities.  In my world, that you are a Conservative is simply a given.  I wouldn’t be surprised if I was the only non-Tory voter.  I may be doing a disservice to others, but if they are out there they are keeping their heads down.

There aren’t many of us out there and nowhere near as many as the shy Tories but I suspect you’d find the same thing in city accountancy firms, the banks and the financial services industry.  A cultural assumption that you are a Conservative to the extent that it is not even conceivable that you wouldn’t be.

Of course I won’t be going to the soiree tonight.  I will make my excuses and be elsewhere but you can be sure that the champagne will be flowing by the crate. There will be much triumphant braying as they know that once again they have won.  Not a thought will be spared for those who did not.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Elliott May 12, 2015 at 1:32 pm

*Sigh*, there’s no shy Tories here either though I’m not quite as in the closet as you when it comes to my political allegiances. I’m tolerated as a slightly eccentric uncle would be, though probably not allowed to be left alone with the young, elderly or otherwise vulnerable.

And yes, I work in one of the other professional services firms you make mention of.


Ray_North May 12, 2015 at 8:35 pm

Meanwhile at the poor end of the Bar – criminal and family barristers are resigned to being utterly fucked out of sight as Michael Gove strives to remove Legal Aid altogether – no champagne in my Arse-End Chambers – just a forlorn cup of tea and a soggy hob-nob.


George_East May 12, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Bet you youve got your fair share of Tories.


John Stone May 12, 2015 at 8:56 pm

This resonates with me with many farmers on one side of the family. It’s simply a way of life to be Tory; any alternative is met with sheer incomprehension. And it makes it very hard to even raise an opposing voice. Politics as lifestyle. I’d say choice but there’s no choice ever even considered for most.

I can’t help but feel that until the left finds some sort of media outlet or communication solution to counter the constant insidious drip drip of the right wing dead tree press, we’re always up against it. As I said on a previous post, the only reason Blair won is because even the right saw that it was needed and he made it clear he wouldn’t threaten them.

Here even Telford went blue, but I wasn’t surprised given the local rag is basically no more than a propaganda organ for Central Office. It beggars belief, but when the message is pumped out so loud and so constantly there’s no doubt that it forms opinions.


Charlie_East_West May 12, 2015 at 9:31 pm

Try being a lefty in Cornwall.

I am regarded as the local eccentric.


Eddie Kaye May 12, 2015 at 9:52 pm

Try being a salesman. ‘Good’ said my sales manager ‘ on Friday morning, ‘we can all get on with making money’.

As though a Labour government would put the mockers on any and all private enterprise. I despair. Someone even told me that their family only got a phone in the 80′ s because of that nice Mrs Thatcher.

Who left the gate open at the pillock farm?


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