Thursday, 3 December 2009

753 - As A Left-Leaning Guardian Reader, Why I'm Looking Forward To A Tory Government

It's about ideals.

I can remember discussing the merits or otherwise of Maggie Thatcher coming to power in 1979 with my friend, James Goodman, aged eight. And I can remember reading about the Falklands in my parents' paper of choice, the Telegraph, before they switched to the (namby-pamby) Times.

But in the eighties, as a teenager, Channel 4 grabbed me, and Channel 4 was the Tube, and Friday Night Live, and late night movies with a triangle in one corner to guarantee something shocking (sex rather than violence, I hoped). And the role-models Channel 4 revealed to me were arty and left-wing.

While the Tories were dying in the early- to mid-nineties, I was discovering and starting to express my ideals. Love, freedom, social progress, tolerance, integrity. The Left gave me a ready language for this, and the Right seemed hell-bent, at least through the media I consumed, on despoiling every ideal I aspired to.

It was pretty tough to discover, post 9/11 (I'm a late developer), that the Left are as capable as the Right of trashing an ideal. Their (our?) response to the Anti-War march in London did it for me.

So now I'm starting to grasp that you don't actually get your ideals, they come and get you. Moreover, they are never trashed: you only ever trash the image you have of them. My ideals are intact: it's just the culture I learnt to express them in that is (for the moment) broken.

I could retreat, bruised. I could try ditching my ideals, for the nastiness in the Nasty Party. But the third option is to make the effort to discover and learn the language by which those ideals are expressed by the Tories.

Short-term pain: accusations of sell-out. Medium-term gain: idealistic bilingualism. Long-term vision: the fulfilment of Labour's vision, by Labour or Tory - I'm really not bothered. But I'd quite like to see the expression in my Tory friends' eyes when they realise the New Jerusalem they've built has Bevan's name on it.


hectoria said...

I read both the Guardian and The Times ; what am I?

Steve Lancaster said...

Brilliant and great fun to be with, of course! Thanks for Monday night...

*Shamelessly crossing the line between political and personal*