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May 11, 2015 / politicsbitesize

Talking to the Tories

VotingAfter the election result was called on Friday morning, the philosopher Rebecca Roache called for fellow left-wingers to defriend anyone on social media who supported the Conservatives. Her view, that she is ‘tired of remaining engaged with such people in the hope that [she] might be able to change their views through debate’, was shared on Oxford University’s Practical Ethics blog.

Dr Roache’s view is that it is perfectly reasonable (from a left-wing perspective) to become disheartened by an electorate that have leant support to a party that, to date, has withdrawn ‘support from the poor, the sick, the foreign, and the unemployed while rewarding those in society who are least in need of reward, that sells off our profitable public goods to private companies while keeping the loss-making ones in the public domain, that boasts about cleaning up the economy while creating more new debt than every Labour government combined, that wants to scrap the Human Rights Act and (via TTIP) hand sovereignty over some of our most important public institutions to big business’. Agreed!   But to close off an avenue to ask those voters why they chose the party they did seems a little short sighted.

What the left need to do now is to ask why, not how, did the Conservatives win their majority? What was it about their campaign or policies that swayed the British electorate to vote for them? Not so the left can simply copy them, but so that we can understand how to present a viable alternative, and one that people will listen to in the future.

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