The attitude of some of my left-wing friends to Conservatives is best compared to the old racist who when challenged about his racism - "but what about Dave, you're OK with Dave?" - replies with something like, "ah, Dave's OK but the rest of those blacks....". Here's an example:
It constantly amazes me that you'd rather wallow in Tory rapacious greed. Cos I don't think you belong there.
You see the problem with all this is that I really am a Conservative. Not a special kind of lovely Tory but the regular sort. I know hundreds of Tories and overwhelmingly they're ordinary, decent, kind, caring, helpful folk. There's no sign of any 'rapacious greed' and I've yet to be served baby at a dinner party. Now I'm prepared to speculate that it may just be that I'm not invited to the sort of dinner parties where rapacious greed is celebrated but somehow I doubt it.
So when I'm with Tories, what do we 'wallow in' if it's not 'rapacious greed'? Well from my experience, what we talk about ranges from the mundane ('lovely weather', 'did you get away for a holiday this Summer', and 'how are the children doing') to matters such as schools, crime, clean streets and green fields. If we get a little more philosophical (although being conservatives we don't like to do this too often - gets in the way of our cherished 'stupid party' positioning), we might discuss the limits of free markets, the decline of religion or the balance between a liberal arts and vocational curriculum in schools.
When we're pushed, we'll give you an answer about what conservatism means and words like independence, choice and heritage might crop up. The discussion might mention the importance of institutions and the idea of 'putting something back'. Plus of course the principle that its right that value added to society is rewarded and that we've a duty to do right by ourselves, our family and our neighbours. On the harder crunchier economics the response will be a visceral support for 'business', the centrality of property rights and a slightly equivocal relationship with the idea of markets. And we're not the biggest fans of taxes.
Now it's true that I tend towards the liberal wing of the party but that doesn't mean I don't accept the idea of personal responsibility, don't think that institutions should be changed gently (if at all) rather than torn down in a fit of nihilistic creative destruction. In the end, I've come to recognise that there's a limit to idealism and that most people I represent want practical, pragmatic things from their elected representatives - a sort of 'soft loo paper conservatism'.
So yes, I care - but then so do most conservatives, the very conservatives you'll find on the 'fair trade' stall at church or working in the local charity shop. The same conservatives who help set up car clubs to run people without transport from their village to the doctors or the hospital, who organise a lunch club for elderly neighbours, who help run the village hall, who rattle tins for a bewildering range of good causes, who cherish local history societies and get their hands dirty with the gardening club or their faces daubed for the am-dram panto.
So my left-wing friends, I'm glad you've noticed that I'm neither rapacious or greed-filled. What you need to learn now is that I'm pretty typical of conservatives in England, of the people who for the last 20 years have trusted me as one of their Conservative councillors in Bingley Rural. These people aren't rapcious or greedy either, they're just decent, honest folk who want to get on with their lives, who want to live in a safe, happy and strong community and who know that the best way to do that is to elect Conservatives.