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Politics is an inherently divisive issue. Almost everybody has an opinion. It is fair to assume that practically every individual has at least one particular belief, issue or cause that they hold close to their heart, and if needs be, would defend with a fierce passion and with the utmost integrity.Whilst some are more ready to debate their personal stance, others are more reserved in sharing their specific political allegiance.
During the 2015 elections, practically every opinion poll conducted throughout the run up to Election Day predicted that the two perpetual tribes of Labour and Conservative faced a photo finish in the results. However, the aftermath needed no empirical proof.
The Tories received 11,334,576 votes across the country, whereas Labour garnered just short of 2,000,000 fewer at 9,347,304 in total across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The electoral turnout was 30,683,893, which represented 66.1% of the 46,420,413 people eligible to vote in the UK. (Source)
Based on these figures, Labour and Conservative gathered just over 67.4% of the voter turnout combined. The Tories won a majority with only 24.41% of registered UK voters putting their cross next to a Tory name. 37.6% of people motivated enough to venture out to the polling stations voted Tory, compared to 30.46% who voted Labour.
A 7% margin of victory was predicted in only one poll in the run up to the results; the exit-poll, conducted on Election Day. This collected not voting intentions, but asked exactly which party people had just voted for.
After weeks of studying the pre-election polls and examining exactly why hundreds of samples seemed to indicate an almost inseparable divide between Labour and the Tories, the pollsters all seemed to agree on one factor that was not taken into consideration in the run up to the election. A factor, which could also explain the difference in opinion polls as opposed to exit polls.
President of YouGov, Peter Kellner, admitted the polling firms had got it spectacularly wrong. “What seems to have gone wrong is that people have said one thing and they did something else in the ballot box.”
The conclusion they came to was that a substantial number of ‘Shy Tory Voters’ had skewed the vast majority of pre-election polls.
What do Conservative voters have to be shy about?
The ‘Shy Tory Voter’ phenomenon first came to light in the aftermath of the 1992 UK General Election. With Britain still reeling from 11 years of bitterly uncompromising Tory rule under Margaret Thatcher, John Major was the man handed the unenviable task of re-engaging the vast section of disaffected party supporters that had inevitably disbanded after Thatcher’s obdurate reign.
With opinion polls at a grievous low, Major was given from 1990 until the Election in 1992 to try and persuade an alienated support that his rule would be different from Thatcher. His task was to persuade the public that under his reign, things would change. The future they needed to convey was one of hope, prosperity, and an increase in collective social unity; changes that the country was desperately crying out for after more than a decade of industrial unrest and severe social upheaval.
Major was effectively playing the role of an estranged partner in an abusive relationship, adamant to change their callous ways in order to stay together. Neil Kinnock and the Labour party provided the get out clause; the ‘loneliness is better than pain’ option. Such relationships rarely have a fairy-tale ending.
As the 1992 results came in, it was clear that the UK public had yet again fallen for the same old story.
How can people fall so madly out of love, yet just a few years later believe the rehashed rhetoric of false promises and insincere apologies, of an inflexible, stagnant, and unfeeling party?
In the same way that a partner who has been systematically subjected to years of abuse does not want people to think of them as stupid when they return to their abuser, shy-Tories have much the same reservations about their own decision.
People keep telling them it’s stupid. Everybody says that they won’t change. But some psychological oddity of attraction keeps on drawing them back.
But how do the Tories manage to do it?
Politics isn’t about left or right; politics is about hope or fear
The Conservative Party will never change its ideologies, but the voting public is thoroughly more malleable. Especially when a new, and seemingly different face is thrust into the limelight of leadership.
Two main factors are at work when people decide to put their X next to a Tory.
Number 1. Self interest. This category can be split into two. Firstly the wealthiest 1% of society; media barons, corporate directors and the such who explicitly know, as history has proven, that Tory policy will directly benefit their bank balance and/or their social status. Secondly, the other 10% of the UK’s highest earners who also perceive that Tory policy will directly benefit their bank balance through tax cuts such as George Osborne’s latest ‘tough decision’ to reward his wealthy supporters with a tax free inheritance which had been frozen at £325,000, all the way up to £1million, which consequently benefits only those with significantly higher than average earnings.
Number 2. Arguably the most crucial factor in securing the consistent support enjoyed by the Conservatives is that all-pervading innate human emotion, fear.
A study conducted by University College London found that ‘Peering inside the brain with MRI scans, researchers … found that self-described conservative students had a larger amygdala than liberals. The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is active during states of fear and anxiety. Liberals had more gray matter at least in the anterior cingulate cortex, a region of the brain that helps people cope with complexity.”
In fact, this study is by no means alone. Over a dozen different studies have arrived at the same conclusion; that the right wing are wired differently to those who lean to the left.
The stark finding of all of these studies is that the main difference between Conservatives and Liberals is their psychological response to stimuli invoking fear and disgust.
Alternet.org summed it up thusly; “Conservatives tend to react much more viscerally to negative stimuli than do liberals, and they are likelier to interpret new information as having a negative or dangerous effect on their lives.”
With this theory in mind, take into account the current order of our society. Those with money vote Conservative because their policies directly benefit their finances through tax cuts, corporate welfare and favourable policies gained via the ever limpit-like corporate lobbyists attached betwixt and between innumerable Tory butt-cheeks whenever a conference comes around.
Added to the fact that within the richest 1% of society lay the owners of big corporations, and most crucially for the Tories, owners and directors of the largest and most popular media outlets.
But surely these responsible purveyors of ‘news’ wouldn’t use their publications to directly influence the voting public’s perceptions of reality in a shallow attempt to pervert the course of democracy, would they?
You only need look at the spurious barrage of abuse subjected to Jeremy Corbyn during and after the Labour leadership election to find the truth. The Tories have gone so far as to call the 66-year-old pacifist, who in 1993 won the Ghandi International peace award, a ‘threat to our national security’. Citing a quote, contained in various right leaning media outlets, that, in no uncertain terms, states Jeremy Corbyn called the death of Osama Bin Laden ‘a tragedy’.
However, when you actually watch the footage of what Mr Corbyn was discussing, and observe his full quote in context, it becomes obvious that the mainstream media, as well as David Cameron himself, have used a form of misinformation and manipulation more accustomed to that of a fascist political group. Some would go as far as to say that their intentional misdirection borders on political propaganda. A passive-aggressive political assassination by defamation.
The sociopathic ability to steal the hearts of the mindless.
Fascist propaganda is a strong phrasing of words to attach to a self-appointed centre-right political party. However, if you take into account how far to the right Labour lurched under Tony Blair with neo-liberal policies such as the deregulation of the banks, the introduction of private investment into publicly owned services or the devastating war in Iraq, the last 18 years of government has seen the entire spectrum of mainstream political debate shrunken into a microscopic postage stamp of virtual consensus between the two main parties, differing only in trivial and inconsequential policies.
Now, with hindsight in their favour, the Tories readily accuse Labour of ‘crashing the economy’ in 2008; yet the Conservatives fail to recall that they actually backed every single penny of Labour’s spending up until the global economic crash.
As for their deliberate and calculated decision to blame Labour for destroying the economy, the Tories have concocted a modern-day system of scapegoating that suits their prerogative. It matters not to them whether the story is truth or lies. An economically illiterate, over-worked and politically apathetic populace are easy prey for a Tory-backed mainstream media with ideology implementation on the agenda.
Such crude manoeuvres have been seen before within politics, in fact they are the stuff of legend, and thankfully nowadays, ridicule. Both Stalin and Hitler used propaganda with overwhelming success during periods of social upheaval to gain personal and political traction.
“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” – Adolf Hitler
Nowadays in the UK, the so-called ‘street defence organisation’ Britain First use extremely similar diversionary tactics in their attempt to harvest societies’ anger for their own political gains.
Out of the many acts of misinformation that ex-BNP spin-doctor, and now leader of Britain First, Paul Golding, used to increase interest was a photo of a Muslim man holding a sign saying ‘Boycott Bigotry’. Check out how they doctored it and subsequently used it to cultivate hatred against Islam on their Facebook page.
Another method used by the admins of Britain First’s Facebook page is to curtail dissenters. Any corrections of facts or non-conforming statements are deleted within minutes, as I, and a whole host of others have encountered when trying to educate their easily swayed followers duped by their nauseating tactics.
This far-right authoritarian culture of immediately banning users from commenting on their posts for pointing out glaring omissions and flagrant fabrications has in itself spawned an offshoot Facebook group – Bin Bagged by Britain First, of which there are nearly 5000 members.
Within a group devoid of opposing opinions, an echo-chamber is formed where people’s views become solidified by constant social affirmation with no prerequisite to form a rational counter-argument, or even question the facts behind the statement you are supporting.
For the majority of a decent and culturally evolved society, generalisations about someone’s personal attributes based on their religion or race would be extremely difficult to ascertain. You cannot simply say ‘all Muslims are terrorists’. That is literally like assuming every dog wants to maul you.
If there are people who keep on telling you that whenever you see a dog it’s going to viciously attack you, and even if it never happens, you will be a lot more likely to keep believing that one day it might happen.
Of all the people capable of summing up the reasoned success behind a sustained campaign of propaganda, Adolf Hitler is probably the most qualified. The most simplistic and perverse of quotes from Mein Kampf encapsulates this principle entirely.
“How fortunate for leaders that men do not think.”
With far right propaganda in mind, I will assume you have seen this video by The Conservatives regarding Jeremy Corbyn’s apparent ‘threat to national security’. If not, take a look at what they tell us about the new Labour leader.
Scary no? The eerie music. The affiliations to terrorists. It says ‘The facts’, so it must be true!
The video is without doubt the most abhorrent piece of ‘mainstream’, apparently centre-right, propaganda that this country has ever seen. Let’s face it, this is not the work of a centrist party. This is the work of an incognito far-right political party. Britain First would be proud of it.
Take a look a counter video with added context.
Jeremy Corbyn has campaigned for his entire political career on the basis of not killing people. Whilst David Cameron attempts to sling roughshod accusations at Mr Corbyn, the prime minister has recently secured a deal to get that great bastion of human rights, Saudi Arabia, to chair the United Nations council for human rights.
Check out Mr Cameron’s failure to answer a simple question and attempt to spin his position.
This is the same Saudi Arabia that is committing atrocities in Yemen with UK sold weapons and the same Saudi Arabia that will behead and crucify a 17-year-old boy for protesting against the dictatorial Saudi regime.
So whilst David Cameron and the Tory government actively support, and supply with weapons, a country that is well-known to kill innocent people, he accuses a man who has supported peace for the entirety of his life of supporting terrorism.
David Cameron and the Conservative party are lying to our faces. I suggest to you that a real British patriot is one who tells the truth and understands the consequences of his action or inaction.
The Tories are no better than Britain First. They just have better manners, better clothes and a better understanding of how to manipulate people convincingly.
However, in their obvious use of propaganda, their lies and their manipulative qualities, both Britain First and The Conservatives are clearly headed and run by clinical sociopaths.
Who is the real threat to our national security?