I was 18 years old before I met my first Tory. I grew up in Wales, you see, and the sight of a true-blue Conservative would have been akin to seeing a white rhino or a giant panda. Except a panda wouldn’t have roused a lynch mob. Wales didn’t so much have ‘Shy’ Tories as ‘I-like-my-nose-the-way-it-is’ Tories.
In any number of former industrial communities in South Wales a shaven baboon could get elected provided it was wearing a red rosette…and in a few cases I’m not entirely sure this didn’t happen.
Time and again the loyal red minions would march into the polling booths and faithfully do their duty, striking a blow for country, community and class…by sending an overpaid trade union bully boy or a polytechnic social sciences lecturer to spend five years in London gorging themselves at the expense of the taxpayer while pontificating on poverty.
The recent ITV YouGov poll that put the Tories 10 points clear of Labour has certainly ruffled a few feathers. MPs, AMs and dozens of local councilors who believed they had a job for life might need to make some very swift career plans.
The assorted no-marks who run Labour in Wales are furiously scratching their heads as to why the public are turning their backs on the party that has dominated Welsh political life for hundred years.
The answer is simple. After 20 years the Welsh people know all too well what Labour does in power. And they have had enough.
Labour has been in government for a generation in Cardiff Bay and in that time they have done virtually nothing. Nothing to alleviate the deprivation that afflicts the principality, nothing to revitalise the Welsh economy, nothing to end the huge overreliance on the state and nothing to improve the NHS, a service which has gone backwards under Labour.
No, instead they have sat on their thrones, congratulating themselves on any number of massive vanity projects which have had next to no impact on ordinary people’s lives, while schmoozing with lefty celebs and enjoying corporate hospitality at the Principality Stadium watching the rugby/football (whichever national side was winning at the time).
For decades Labour has run Wales as its own private fiefdom, with their comrades in the Welsh BBC happy to brush their terminal inadequacy under the carpet on a daily basis. Nationalists often complain about Wales being treated as an English county, but it’s worse than that. Wales is more like a Crown Dependency, with everyday corruption and a complete lack of accountability taken for granted and a populace deprived of the rights enjoyed by others in these islands.
I doubt the Tories will be 10 points ahead in the final reckoning. There is enough residual support for Labour in the Miners’ Welfare and Working Men’s Clubs to ensure a ‘Dead Cat Bounce’ and the YouGov poll itself might mobilise a few reluctant reds. Then again nobody thought Labour would lose Scotland and now they languish in 3rd place. Stranger things really have happened.
Who knows, maybe in 20 years’ time Wales will have ‘Shy’ socialists. If only!
The views expressed in this article are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Conservatives for Liberty