Quote of the Day: John O’Farrell on the evils of voting Tory

There’s something to be said for not having a telly. Mine blew up a couple of months ago (well, not exactly ‘blew up’. More like started making some very odd noises and then gradually gave up the ghost in a kind of “Ahh, sod it, I just can’t be bothered any more” sort of a way), and ever since, I’ve been reading like they’re about to close all the libraries.

Ahem. Anyway.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve had my nose buried in Things Can Only Get Better, John O’Farrell’s amusing 1998 memoir of being a Labour Party supporter in the 1980s and 1990s, which I first read about ten years ago. Although I find much of O’Farrell’s work very funny (he wrote for the legendary TV satire show Spitting Image at its height, and is responsible for the highly amusing NewsBiscuit website), I don’t always agree with him – for a start, his devotion to Labour reminds me why I don’t support a specific political party and won’t be going into politics any time soon (or at all!)

However, his vividly despairing description of why the electorate shouldn’t have voted Conservative in the disastrous 1983 general election bears repeating here, as it has resonances that echo through to today and the horrific policies of our current ‘coalition’ (read: Tory) government. It seems little has changed…

What did people think the Conservatives wanted to do for them? These arrogant, remote and vicious people who knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Did they have a history of helping people worse off than themselves? Did they have a record of granting more freedom, improving living standards and fighting inequality? Had they wanted the abolition of child labour? Had they wanted the abolition of the slave trade? Had they wanted to grant the right to form trades unions? Had they wanted shorter working hours or the establishment of a decent basic wage? Had they wanted universal suffrage? Had they wanted votes for women? Had they wanted the National Health Service, the Welfare State, universal state education, or anything else that improved the rights, power and prosperity of the majority of ordinary people in Britain? Of course they hadn’t. Why did people think that the Conservatives might suddenly have their interests at heart now? (p.77)

And always remember – they still don’t have our interests at heart today either…

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