There’s a reason I cannot and will not vote Conservative, and like most people’s apparent motive for voting tory it is also a selfish one. As someone employed in the public sector, working to ensure the greater good, I’m a member of an increasingly endangered species.
Ah Matthew, I hear you say, you’re trotting out the old “the turkeys have voted for Christmas” line. Well no, like I said, this is purely selfish. When you mark that X in the box, you tend to think about yourself only. Never mind the turkeys (for now).
The rhino analogy is apt, you see. The conservatives are not shy about their ideological pursuit of a small state. They want as little paid for by taxpayers as possible, the functions of our community solidarity provided by unaccountable private companies. They are the poachers.
To a poacher, the hunting of a rhino has a logic that cannot be seen by the outsider. There’s a value to the kill that blinkers the poacher, makes them unable to see the wider ramifications of their blood lust.
They are big game hunters. After the last election the Conservative-led coalition published a list of every public servant paid over £100,000 - their list of the trophies they were going after. Several people working in the organisation I worked for at the time were on that list. I didn’t begrudge them their salaries. I thought they were by-and-large worth it. It made me aspirational; after all, that’s what big salaries in the private sector are supposed to do aren’t they?
But instead the Tories made an argument not dissimilar to that made by the most deluded of poachers - something along the line that by keeping the number of rhinos down, poaching somehow benefits the rhinos.
The conservatives argue that a talented worker in the public sector should have no trouble finding work in the private sector. There are captive rhinos too. Traded between zoos (private companies) with their reproduction rate kept low so as to preserve their value. The poachers might point to these rhinos and say “what’s the problem, it’s not as if they’re extinct?”
And so that’s my “selfish”, slightly egocentric reason for why I couldn’t vote Conservative. I like being a rhino. I’m a pretty good rhino. I’m aware that as an analogy it contains its own ideology. I think that ideology needs to be communicated, debated, and refined, perhaps in a future post.
I know that I may be worrying about nothing, that my job might be safe. But there are plenty of people out there whose jobs are not safe now, or who have jobs that will get more stressful, or less secure. I feel their worries as though they are my own.
I’m also aware that there are other reasons for voting and plenty of room for discussion about what the alternative to the conservatives should be. As you can imagine, I’ve thought about that a lot in recent weeks. It’s just a matter of getting it all down so that it makes sense.