Just because I’m a Tory doesn’t mean I eat with a silver spoon and hate poor people

There’s more of us than you think

I am a Tory. I am not at all ashamed and, in fact, I'm proud. This statement will mean very different things to different people. Unfortunately at university and in Students’ Unions across the country there is something of a negative association with the right wing.

Far too often even the utterance of the word “Tory” is met with reactions not differing too much to those in response to drinking sour milk, or smelling French cheese. As good as French cheese is, it’s as if people think my political beliefs define me in my entirety. It’s the assumption that I was born with a silver spoon up my arse and hate poor people.

Now I’m no snowflake and I have enough conviction in my opinions to take criticism – but only if it is just. Things like “never have I ever kissed a Tory”, at pre-drinks and “Tories swipe left”, on Tinder profiles are not going to offend me but are testament to the fact that people throw a political identity around like an insult.

I’m not losing sleep over it, but I’m sure people would feel very differently about it if someone was judged or insulted because of their religious views instead of the political views. On the surface they're not too different. They’re both belief systems and both can be used to label people. A harsh comparison? Maybe, but it's true.

I accept that the majority of students and lecturers are left wing, It’s always been that way and probably will be for the foreseeable future. But when around 80 per cent of lecturers are left wing and the SU is run by a group of people exclusively left wing, I can’t help feeling a little bit underrepresented. Recent stats tell us that a third of Sheffield students are voting blue in the upcoming election so it’s not as if we don't exist.

We can't ignore the fact that the country is about to vote for a Conservative government again with a huge lead on Labour. The dreamworld-that-is-university is not an accurate representation of life outside the university bubble. People wake up and smell real life and the need for pragmatism, not pipe dreams of socialism actually working.

Despite this, the image of caviar eating, fox hunting, tweed wearing, poor hating remains. It's why so many Tories at uni are so called “shy tories”, afraid of being judged for their political party allegiance.

If you have legitimate reason to criticise, then debate the issue and expend your perceptions around it. Sitting in your lefty echo chamber will do you no favours.

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University of Sheffield