I joined the Conservative Party – signed up as “Tory Scum” – in 1976. Eden Park Young Conservatives were in need of fresh blood and, what with my Dad being the ward councillor, I got roped in. Not that I was complaining as it was an enjoyable time – good social events and the run in to a momentous General Election in 1979.
So when I hear the protesting students crying “Tory Scum here we come”, my eyes mist over a little as 35 years of this, the left’s most plaintive cry, springs to the front of my memory. I remember the joys of trot-baiting at university, the pleasures of running picket lines just for the hell of it and the echoing sound of the massed militants (well all six or seven of them anyway) chanting “Tory Scum, Tory Scum” as one or other of us spoke at a meeting.
I remember smuggling Patrick Wall into Hull University (from where – despite him being the MP for half the students there – he was banned for being a particularly right-wing kind of “Tory Scum”) and the Union trying to censure us under their “No Platform for Tory Scum” policy. Those were the days!
I remember Luton’s three or four SWP members threatening to hound John Carlisle during the 1983 General Election – and then wondering where they were at the meetings we held in Flitwick, Pulloxhill, Westoning and Barton-le-Clay. Seems we might be “Tory Scum” but at least we understood the geography of North Luton constituency. Delightful!
And I recall the cry resounding round Bradford as Eric Pickles tried to drag the City Council from the age of metropolitian socialism into a time where delivering services to the public took priority over political campaigning. And I smiled as “Tory Scum” was thrown – almost with gay abandon – across the Council chamber once I got elected in 1995.
For me, yelling “Tory Scum, Here We Come” is an admission once again of socialism’s defeat. There is no rational, intelligent argument in this dystopic, dehumanising creed’s favour so its advocates must resort to insult – to hurling abuse, to fear, aggression and destruction as a substitute for debate and discussion.
Socialism died in 1989 – us “Tory Scum” were proved right. And when I hear it now, I smile.
…and kick socialism’s corpse once more just to make sure its dead.