Saturday, 22 October 2011

Am I not Conservative?

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Against my better judgement I queried “those who want to stay in [the EU], are not Tories”, describing it as “an extraordinarily narrow perception of what it means to be Conservative”. I could have phrased that better, but was still surprised with “no, sonny, it's MY interpretation - or do you want to control that, as well as my ability to vote on the EU?” to which another added “...it's actually not as narrow as you might want to believe, if you're a TRUE conservative”.

Ignoring the “TRUE conservative” - how do you respond to that - I described to the first how I saw it as “the rights of the individual over the state - that'd mean accepting (not necessarily agreeing with) alternate views”. To which he replied “try as I might, I cannot even attach any parts of your reply to the topic”. Mine was a poor description. What I’d have liked to say was that to decide who’s in and who’s out based on that criteria - one that in my experience has very little to do with Conservatism - seems a little prescriptive, and not unlike the actions of the European body he would decry. However there didn’t seem much point in pursuing this, so explained my reply had been my interpretation - in response to his - and apologised for any offence.

I am ambivalent about the EU, as I am the referendum. I preferred the EEC; that is I could appreciate the idea. There are euro-enthusiasts, euro-sceptics and those who are certain of their dislike. I’ve always thought of the Conservative party as the broad church eschewing narrow dogmatic expressions. I’m aware that won’t chime with some, certainly not the “other side”; yet if we do believe in the individual then it seems logical to expect a wider range of views. And since, unlike one of my correspondents, I lived - and voted - through the Thatcher years, I feel as qualified as any to stake a claim.

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