Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday 2 February 2013

The consequences for the Conservatives if ..

.. some Conservative MPs succeed in derailing the Coalition Government's plans to legislate for same-sex marriage. Well, it is difficult to know for certain, but what is absolutely clear is that I shall never vote Conservative again if they do succeed.

Over the past few days there seems to have been concerted action by a number of Conservative MPs who oppose same-sex marriage to galvanise opinion amongst fellow Conservative MPs so that they will vote next week to oppose the proposed legislation to allow it. They have asserted that if such a measure is approved a Conservative majority government will be impossible in future. A prominent 'spokesman' for this point of view has been David Burrowes MP (Conservative, Enfield-Southgate), for example here (published in the Telegraph on Friday, 1st February) - I heard him on the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 on Friday morning pushing this line of reasoning. Against this line of reasoning one has the Prime Minister, David Cameron, stating that he supports same-sex marriage not despite the fact that he is a Conservative, but because he is a Conservative, a point of view shared by gay Conservative MP Nick Herbert, who believes (as do I, to be clear) that: "A much bigger danger for the Conservatives is to go the same way as the Republicans in the US, losing by failing to see that society has changed and with it attitudes to gay people."

Against those Conservatives, such as Mr Burrowes, who say the 'sky will fall in' for the Conservative Party if gay-sex is legislated for (a doubtful assertion in my view) is the sure certainty that people like me, who resigned from the Conservative Party in 2001 when Iain Duncan Smith became its short-lived and disastrous leader and who has voted for the Conservatives only sporadically since or abstained, will never ever vote Conservative again if MPs such as Mr Burrowes succeed in derailing this vote and very probably will, in addition to merely abstaining (by 'spoiling' my vote) as I have occasionally done in recent elections, will very probably vote for another political party completely, specifically one that has the chance of damaging the Conservatives the most. (Point of information - I live in a part of the UK where a Conservative MP, or MSP, is never likely to be elected, except under the MSP 'list' category, however.)

In summary, I would love to be able to return to being a Conservative Party member as I consider it to be the best manager of the UK economy in the long term, but nor will I be so masochistic as to support a Party when, even today, too many of its members seem to despise gay people. Demographics clearly show that opposition to same-sex marriage is highest amongst older voters, whereas younger generations are much more favourably inclined toward it, or at worst indifferent. My hope is that sufficient Conservative MPs will see where their own long-term interests are by reflecting more accurately the views of British society as it is now, rather than what it may have been 30+ years ago and what they wish it still was, and instead voting overwhelmingly for the legislation supported by the Prime Minister, by voting for the future and for the personal liberty and freedom that has been the hallmark of progressive Conservatism over the decades.

Logically the Conservatives should have won a handsome majority 2010, against one of the most unpopular (Labour) governments and Prime Ministers (Gordon Brown) in living memory, but did not do so because of the residual memory of the Conservatives as the 'nasty' party, because of some of its retrogressive policies - despite the desire of people like Mr Burrowes to resurrect the failed socially conservative policies of people like Iain Duncan Smith and others who think like him, the electorate has clearly rejected this course. People like Mr Burrowes are, to be realistic, 'flogging a dead horse' electorally speaking - it's time they recognise this.

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