Bob Gardiner: Why I am a Conservative

I had an interesting early life. My first memories were of Malaya (Malaysia) where my father was serving with the Ghurkha regiment. As the years went on we moved around the globe but the world imploded when I was ten – my father died.

Suddenly we were transported from Belgium to a council house in Hull. Many of my friends came from families whose lives were based on the sea, rugby league and Hull City.

I was completely lost. I didn’t have a clue what to do. I had no family members offering advice or encouragement.

One day, I was waiting in a queue in a dole office, as they were known. There was slow progress. An older guy next to me started to chat. He asked if I had been before. I hadn’t. He then told me that he could help me not have to work again and there were ways to make sure I could get good money out of the system (‘benefits’ is the euphemism). He said that he hadn’t worked for ages. He seemed very pleased with himself. Seventeen is very young but I remember feeling very strongly that what he was suggesting was very wrong. I didn’t want to spend my life in those offices and in the drab, poor back streets of Hull with those people.

Also, I hated the negativity of the Left; so many seemed to hate themselves, their lives and their country. It was all envy and blame. “We’ll keep the red flag flying” was the refrain from the Labour Party. I struggled to understand how you could have some young men, soldiers, were prepared to die for their country but that Hull seemed full of left wingers who did nothing but criticise the UK. I couldn’t sympathise at all with people whose inner core seemed to well up with venom against the country that they lived in.

Two men look through prison bars, one sees the mud, one the stars. I was of the latter kind. I wanted the country to succeed and not be dragged into some backward, Communist state. I voted Conservative and always have.


This article is part of our ongoing ‘Why I am a Conservative’ series, in which supporters of CfL talk about their beliefs and values. If you would like to take part please email blog@con4lib.

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The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty