Conservative Future lash-banter.

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A journalist has gone undercover at the Conservative Future Christmas party. Read about his amusing experience in the article he then wrote for Prospect magazine.  Go read it now!

Here’s a highlight:

Meanwhile, to my left, one young Conservative is explaining his scepticism about joining the party to two CF members. “I vote Tory—you know I vote Tory. I’m just not a Tory member. I don’t like parties.” He pauses. “Well, I like these kinds of parties obviously! God… can you imagine what a Labour version of this would be like?”

“Well,” his friend replies, “there’d be a lot more ethnic minorities for one thing.” “Oh really?” the other replies. “I thought the Labour party was trying to make itself seem more respectable!” They laugh awkwardly, seemingly aware that even as casual racism, it doesn’t really work.

As I shape to leave, I hover for one last cigarette. Three new acquaintances are making idle smalltalk. “Tim is such a common name…” one of the smokers is saying. He checks himself, not wanting to offend the Tim in question: “sorry, not, you know, common… I mean ‘popular’.”

“Yah but your surname is Jenkins,” his friend says through a mouthful of teeth. “That’s such a butler’s name!”

It’s exactly the sort of stuff that makes you recall Nye Bevan’s infamous rant and think maybe he was onto something: “No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning hatred of the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned, they are lower than vermin”.

Some decry the idea that social class is a legitimate topic of political debate and are convinced that it would be a mistake for Labour to bang on about ‘Tory toffs’. I’m not so sure. I think that Labour pointing out the extremely privileged backgrounds enjoyed by the vast majority of the Conservative Party leadership is fine as long as:

a) Labour simultaneously presents a positive programme of policies aimed at eradicating inequalities in Britain and commits itself firmly to the ultimate goal of creating a classless society.

b) Labour works harder to encourage people from non-privileged backgrounds to join the party, stand as candidates, and rise through its ranks – recalling the party’s historic mission of representing the working-class.

Without these efforts I concede that ‘Tory toff’ attacks are indeed shallow and hypocritical.

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