Jaydan Pratts: Why I am a Conservative

A Tory living in a territory comprised only of left-wing parties might seem like the plot of an unpublished Ayn Rand novel. However, it is in fact a common occurrence in the British Territory of Gibraltar, a territory whose political spectrum is a lacklustre, monochromatic shade of dull grey. Despite this, anybody who values their democratic freedom and self-determination must, regardless of the dissonance, realise that there is only one political party who have truly supported the British Overseas Territories: the Conservatives.

Being born into a comfortable middle-class family, one might assume that my leanings towards the Conservative Party were both natural and inevitable. Yet, my formative years in Gibraltar were relatively apolitical. Gibraltar’s constant territorial disputes with Spain painted an odd political landscape. It was a political scene in which confrontation and reconciliation occurred in an almost cyclical fashion. When the disputes had raged for too long or too fiercely, political capital could be achieved by reconciliation and diplomatic peace missions. At times, the opposite was true. Yet, despite the constant disputes, the strangling of Gibraltar’s only border, and endless political rhetoric, there has been one thing which remains unchanged: For over 300 years, Gibraltar has remained British.

It was at the beginning of my A-level in History that I began to take a genuine interest in politics, not the microcosmic politics of Gibraltar, but rather what enabled us, along with the other 13 British Territories to self-govern in the first place. The answer to the question is not particularly illusive and any individual with a rudimentary knowledge of recent history can answer it. Since the end of Britain’s role East of Suez there was a growing disinterest with anything related to the former British Empire. Whilst Harold MacMillan’s ‘Wind of Change’ was sweeping across British Africa and planned, organized transitions to independence were being carried out, the Labour Party adopted a different policy – the abandonment of British overseas citizens. Beginning with Michael Foot’s refusal to respond to the invasion of British sovereign territory by an Argentine military junta, the Labour party began to show its true colours. One might argue that the Labour Party was correct in its stance, after all, numerous military analysists claimed that the Falkland Islands could not be retaken. However, if their doubt in the military capability of our armed forces was the reason for their actions. How would one justify Tony Blair’s entering joint-sovereignty negotiations with the then-Spanish President Aznar without the consent of the British people? Similarly, how can one justify Corbyn’s wish for a power-sharing deal in the Falklands, a ground of islands which was under the de facto control of five different countries before Argentina’s claims were first founded.

Once one has given serious thought to the history of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories, only one conclusion can be made: the Conservative Party has been the only party in contemporary British history to consistently support the rights and wishes of its British subjects, wherever they might lie, and this why despite the local politics of Gibraltar, not only I, but a multitude of Gibraltarians are Conservatives.

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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