Why you should vote Conservative
On behalf of the Cambridge University Conservative Association
It would be easy to write yet another c.700 word opinion piece on the Chaos of Corbyn; it would be easy to point out that the Tories are the only party with any chance of having a working majority; it would be easy to repeat the line that a vote for Theresa May’s team is a vote to strengthen her hand in the Brexit negotiations. Easy, but lazy and boring.
The reality is that many of us are voting Conservative because we – largely – think positively of the Conservative party’s recent record, and positively of the prospect of another five years of Conservative governance. Corbyn, and the rest of the Labour front bench, are easy to mock: I won’t deny that CUCA is pretty keen on Diane Abbot’s interviews brightening up exam term. But I will say that many of us are casting a positive vote for the Conservatives, as well as a vote against Labour.
Many of us will be voting Conservative in a General Election for the first time. A decent number of those of us who voted in 2015 did so for the Lib Dems, either tactically or because we weren’t inspired to vote Conservative. A decent number of us are not from Conservative-voting families or backgrounds, and for many of us, interest in Conservative politics has been a University realisation.
Amongst all the negative rhetoric of this election, much is being made of being on the side of the few or many. That voting Conservative is a vote for tax breaks. This election, I will be casting a vote for the party that has taken corporation tax receipts to an all-time high, and has put the burden more than ever on the shoulders of the richest. Today, the highest-paid one per cent contribute twenty seven per cent of total income tax collections. The flip side of this is that the lowest-paid fifty per cent of earners pay less than 10 per cent to the total. I’m happy to live in a society balanced like that. I’m also happy living in a society with unemployment at its lowest since 1975. And that’s why I’m voting Conservative.
Not all of us in CUCA voted for Brexit. We didn’t adopt an Association position, didn’t campaign, and – here’s the real tell – didn’t have a party for it. We were as split as the Parliamentary Conservatives about whether or not it was a good idea. But regardless of what we thought, 52% of the country voted to leave the European Union. Things will change; whether or not they change in such a way that is maximally in our favour is the test for the winner of this election. Only Theresa May has the experience and attitude to get the job of Brexit done clearly and absolutely. She has accepted the referendum result, and now stands in a position to seize the opportunities: control over our own laws, border control, and trade deals with the rest of the world. If it’s not May leading the negotiations, it’ll be Corbyn, who has already said he wouldn’t walk away if the deal is crap: he’s more or less told the EU negotiators that whatever dish of gruel they serve up, he’s committed to eat it. And when he’s sitting across from EU negotiators who will be doing their best to fuck us over – make no mistake that the fluffy ‘European family’ bollocks will go right out of the window – Corbyn isn’t going to have his iPad on him to fact check.
The Brexit vote and a rising terror threat puts leadership right at the top of the list of election priorities. More than ever, we need to trust the party leader – the next Prime Minister – and the people at the top to represent and protect our interests in overseas negotiations and at home. Corbyn gives us some cause for concern here. His record as a public figure and MP states a very clear message: that he’s not always on our side. Corbyn has opposed anti-terror legislation and is proud of it; he has called Hamas and Hezbollah our ‘friends’. His contempt for Israel is barely veiled, and his failure to root out anti-Semitism in Labour is a disgrace, illustrating either an inability to lead his party or a lack of will. The Jewish community is one that looks at Corbyn and sees his intolerance for what it is: only 13% of British Jews intend to vote Labour at this election. We have to look beyond Corbyn, though, to his top team: a snob, a Marxist and an innumerate terrorist-sympathising idiot. It sounds like the start to a bad joke, and it could well be.
We’re voting Conservative not because we always have or always will: this election is a rejection of politics being in the blood. This time around, the choice is between a misguided fantasy and stability. Because in this election, character and leadership really matters. May is boring, robotic, and hasn’t run the best campaign, but she will get the job done.