James Clayton: Why I am a Conservative


I have been interested in politics for quite a few years. Although I was too young to vote in the 2010 general election, I would have voted for the Labour Party, as would all of my friends. We all thought, and many of my old friends still do think, that were something rebellious about being left wing. What I realise now is that we were left wing because it was conventional; that’s just what most young people are by default. Left wing was good, right wing was bad, and that was that. No need to think it through.

The five year coalition government changed my views. What I saw was pragmatic, reforming, prudent government steadily setting the UK on the road to recovery and bringing in change when and where it was needed.

The state was spending too much, so the government cut spending, the education system was in a bad state, so they brought in reform, individuals and business were taxed too much so they cut taxes where they could. They steadied the ship, which is an achievement after an economic crisis which left this country facing economic ruin.

They also legalised gay marriage, which was a validation and an acceptance for me that made me feel as if we’ve finally progressed to the point that gay people like me no longer have to feel a slight sense of doubt or shame. We are who we are, and Britain wholeheartedly accepts that.

I firmly believed that it was the Conservative Party leading the charge and by 2013 I knew how I would vote in the first general election since I became eligible. I wanted them to continue to fix the social mobility ladder, to cut back on the state, to encourage people to stand on their own two feet and kick on and to stop subsidising idleness and expect something more of people in exchange for taxpayer funded welfare.

It was strange in May when I “came out” as a Tory. It isn’t very fashionable, that’s for sure. It inspired a subtle sneer in some people I know, those people who believe they stand up for the little guy simply because of their virtuous left wing loyalty.

How odd, that those left wing rebels were making me feel marginalised and looked down upon simply because I was a Tory. Perhaps it was I who was the rebel, and they who were the conventional thinkers.

Left wing good, right wing bad? I don’t think so. I certainly won’t hear that rubbish from people who are prejudiced against me, yet claim to be social justice warriors demanding less prejudice by voting for Labour. We just have very different views about how “social justice” is achieved, how social mobility can be sparked and how a better and more prosperous country can be created. The fact that they can’t accept that says a lot about the narrowness of the left wing mind.

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