So the country has spoken and we are at the mercy of a majority tory government for the next 5 years. I despair and let me tell you why…. It may surprise you to know, but this is the first General Election in my voting history when I have NOT voted blue. I am a serial entrepreneur, brought up in a wealthy working class family by a self made millionaire father. I was educated predominantly in the private sector and have been a self starter all my life. I have always been responsible for raising my own income and despite several financial set backs I have never claimed a penny from the state and always paid my taxes. I was tory for most of my life, it was in my DNA. My introduction to politics and voting was Margaret Thatcher and I saw the conservative party as an aspirational brand. The party that wanted me to do well, to get an education, to own my own home, to invest in shares, to run a successful business and create wealth and jobs. I believed a free market economy and individual gain were good things and my vote has been blue for over 30 years.
This ended on 7 May 2015. For the first time I turned by back in utter frustration and disgust on the Conservative party. To be fair, my political shift has been bubbling for the past ten years as I have become more and more disillusioned with the political elite, the establishment and the blatant corruption fuelled by the revolving door mentality of the minority group at the top of society in the media, big business and politics. It has left me cold. The more I know, the more I feel let down or wonder how deluded I was in the first place! On reflection, the reason for my political U-turn is multi-faceted….
1. I am more informed today. I am more politically astute. I get my facts from intellectual thinkers, analysis, real statistics and history not the Daily Mail!
2. I have had good and bad times and know the playing field on aspirations is not level and never will be without political change.
3. My legacy project Girls Out Loud places me in the heart of disaffected and deprived communities all the time and my eyes and heart have been opened to the challenges of an unequal society.
4. As I get older I have less and less patience with injustice, corruption, dishonesty and manipulation. Now I am not saying this is restricted to the Conservative party, but if there was a chart for this they would be a non mover at number one!
5. It is clear the conservative values I subscribed to originally of individualism, entrepreneurship, free market economy and personal responsibility have changed to greed and elitism with a constant deflection for all the economic failures to the bottom when it was flaws in the financial sector at the very top that led to the global crash in 2008.
6. I am struggling to subscribe to a have and have not driven society. Under Conservatives the rich just get richer, pay less or no tax, have access to more privilege and continue to do this right under our nose with our permission and no conscience!
I simply do not recognise the Conservative party anymore. I cannot see myself reflected in their policies and far from being welcomed I feel alienated by them. Cameron always makes me feel small and as though all the problems in society are my fault for over spending on my credit card when intellectually I know this is NOT the case. I am well and truly uninspired!
And I know I am not alone in my position. Cameron and his cabinet, plus his team of advisors and big business elite are totally disconnected from over 90% of the UK population. But they are clever salesmen (yes in the main men). They have convinced the electorate once again that they know best, they have convinced the working class that they are the party of hope, economic success and opportunity and that all the problems are to do with those at the bottom of our society and the affects of mass immigration.
I am pretty sure over the next 5 years now Cameron has a majority we will see more of our NHS sold off to the highest bidder then stripped of resources in the race to make profits from a public service and the NHS will not be the only public service to suffer. We will see our education system fall further behind as schools are denied essential funding to teach more than a standard curriculum that is failing many of our kids; We will see the rich get richer and the most vulnerable in our society continue to be vilified and marginalised. We will keep buying into the messages that we are broke and it is our fault and that we must turn the screw on benefit cheats and immigrants and the working people in the middle will get more and more exhorted as they become the only sector of the working population paying taxes.
I understand change is a risk and I am not undermining anyone who voted conservative if they did this in an informed way. We live in a democracy and I have to accept we do not all believe the same stuff or want the same things. I only hope that when they placed the cross in the tory box they did it with passion and clarity on what it means for the UK.
Now my turn to stand back and prepare for a political sandstorm……..