Wednesday, 12 October 2011

"Fake Tories" - why Sarah Wollaston isn't a Conservative


We have heard – perhaps less so recently – David Cameron’s call for personal responsibility. It may at times seem like mere rhetoric, a call to the traditional Tory gallery but to those of us brought up in the Party it is a message that matters. Along with independence, tolerance and freedom sits responsibility as a central element in the pantheon of Conservative values. You cannot stand up and lay claim to being a conservative if you do not accept these values. And that these values are individual values not collective values.

Only a person can be independent, tolerant, freedom-loving and responsible, these are not values that can be ascribed to the collective. Yet there are those – we’ll call them “Fake Tories” – who promote ideas that directly contradict, even deny, these values. By way of example, here is the MP for Totnes writing (why am I unsurprised by this) in the Guardian:

The alcohol strategy is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change Britain for the better. If we waste it with ineffective "industry partnerships" and voluntary codes we should not delude ourselves that local public health initiatives can have any effect. Strong central action on pricing is essential, combined with the ability to introduce locally relevant measures on availability and treatment.

Now leaving aside that Ms Wollaston plays fast and loose with the evidence (I love that she acknowledges the reduction in alcohol consumption but says that it is making no difference – a degree of epidemiological ignorance I don’t expect from someone with her superior educational background), she absolutely refuses to see that the problem isn’t the drinking. For sure the drinking helps but the behaviour is learned:

Intoxicated people have much greater control over their behavior than generally recognized. For example, in those societies in which people don't believe that alcohol causes disinhibition, intoxication never leads to unacceptable behavior. 

Research in the US has found that when males are falsely led to believe that they have been drinking alcohol, they tend to become more aggressive. And when men and women falsely believe that they have been drinking alcohol, they experience greater sexual arousal when watching erotica.

The issue is one of personal responsibility rather than something to be passed off onto an inanimate third party – alcohol. People act with freedom – something we Tories believe in – by choosing to drink but not always responsibly. Therefore we should deal with the irresponsibility – which in Ms Wollaston’s pathology is a public order issue. It should be treated as such.

Others – and our ‘Fake Tory’ describes this too – are irresponsible enough to drink so much that they damage their health. This isn’t a new phenomenon – alcoholism has been around almost as long as booze itself – and ultimately it is for the individual to embrace the consequences and either die or else do something about it.

In the end – as Conservatives – we believe that people make their own choices and take the consequences of those choices. We do not believe that the inanimate – let alone society – made us do it, our choices are not forced but free. If Ms Wollaston believes otherwise – and the article in the Guardian suggests that this is the case – then she isn’t a real Conservative but just another social democrat, another person who believes that the state must force, must direct the choices we make.



Anonymous said...

The Conservative Party has allowed itself to become an haven for
latter day enlightened Trots.little
more than Social Demorats all swimming in the comfort of the middle ground trough.
Well on the same way as the nonsensical Liberals into the
political never never land.

50 years a longer

caciato said...

It's Dr Wollaston, and surely, since she was selected in a primary, the Tory voters must have preferred her to the other prospective MPs?

I guess it depends on how open she was about her so called values when she was trying to get selected.

Angry Exile said...

Is it really because she's a fake Tory or it is just that there really isn't that much difference between Tories and Labour. One lot are nannies and the other lot are paternalists, and both are statists at heart. I can't help feeling that probably they always had more in common than they wanted to admit, and these days they're probably closer than ever.

Pat Nurse MA said...

People were sick the back teeth of Labour's nannying so they voted Conservative believing them to be all of the things that Simon has indicated above - ie : The Common Sense Party.

Voters looking for a real alternative and something different from Labour put their hopes in the wrong place and they are now seeing how let down they have been.

The Tories will not win the next election if this nonsense does not stop and certainly they will struggle to get another majority and are ConDemmed to forever rule in a coalition.

As they have shown themselves to be exactly the same as Labour then it makes no difference to me which one gets back in - and I doubt it makes no difference to others who hoped that all this nonsense and lifestyle control would stop when the "real" Conservatives got back into power.