Brit Dopers - Do you know any poor Tory supporters?

This is more IMHO but since it has a political component I posted it in here. So anyways do you know any poor Tory supporters or party members, or are you one yourself?

I grew up with a lot of them. There’s quite a tradition of rural working class Tories.

Depends what you mean by ‘poor’. I suppose.

The Alf Garnett [transl for US readers; Archie Bunker] character typifies the working-class man who stupidly continues to vote Conservative, thus betraying his class, and his own self-interest.

I grew up in the north east of the UK. A fairly poor rural area and many people there are Tory voters.
Good people too, I suspect there will be a lot of people along who will suggest there can’t be such a creature. It would be foolishly shallow to make that claim…but some will!

When working-class Americans vote Republican, they generally do so because of old-fashioned moral, cultural and religious values, racial fear, exaggerated nationalism, distrust of (nonmilitary branches of) government, and/or a perception of Dems/liberals/leftists as “elitists.” Which of these would apply, and how, to Alf Garnett?

[ii] and [iii]. Racist fear of the ‘immigrant other’ taking his job, bringing down the neighbourhood etc + dim-witted nationalism, not to say chauvinism. All In The Family was a remake of Till Death Us Do Part, created by Johnny Speight, except that Archie Bunker is a much milder version of Alf, who is really not a very nice person at all.

British politics also doesn’t work on the same divide that US politics does.

Before the Labour Party was formed, the main split was Conservative-Liberal. As working class men became able to vote, the proto-Labour party grew, but not in direct opposition to the Conservatives.

The first candidates targeting the working class were both Conservative-Labour (Con-Lab) and Liberal-Labour (Lib-Lab). Conservatives drew much of their support from the older moneyed interests, in particular land owners, while the mill owners were a Liberal power base, with their interest in free trade. However, the pro-Conservative land owners were also the mine owners, so had a significant industrial element to them. Hence when organized labour, which was one of the main elements which formed the Labour Party, looked for legislative improvements, it came into opposition with both parties at different times. For legislation banning children from factories, or limiting the working hours of (usually women) in the mills, the Liberals were often the opposition. For improvements to mine safety and conditions the Liberals were supportive, and the Conservatives opposed.

As a result, there has always been a well of working class Tory support.

Maybe some of those, but not really. More likely, a mistrust of ‘socialism/unionism’. Labour voters are not regarded as ‘elitist’ (aside from Guardian readers such as myself ;)). More probably, a vague old-fashioned class idea that the posh/educated people know best, I’d wager (bearing in mind that Alf Garnet definitely belongs to an older generation hampered by class distinction).

My decidedly working class grandparents were Tory voters – members of the local Conservative Party in fact. A few reasons for this, I think:

  1. My grandfather, though poor, was essentially a self-employed man (painter/decorator/signwriter) so did not benefit from union membership, possibly therefore feeling the Tories better represented his interests
  2. My grandmother’s desire to feel superior to her neighbours.

Class traitor! Up against the wall! Good thing the stalwart true believers have Labour to look out for their interests, because they have done such a stellar job of it.

In the Fens where I grew up most farmers and farm workers are Tory voters.

There’s a perception that Old Labour is the part of the urban worker (factories, mines etc), while New Labour is the party of the urban middle classes (teachers, local govt, journalists etc).

Out in the countryside it’s very Tory - where I grew up you could put a blue rosette on a turnip and it would get voted in. But that’s shared between rich country folk (landowners etc) and those who work the land (who have v. low wages).

Wales is an exception, as often rural areas there will vote Labour

Which, IIRC, is why Thatcher never decimated the farming industry in the same way as she did just about all other working-class industries. She would have been harming her core support.

I don’t think I know any Tory supporters at all, come to think of it. I used to share a flat with a guy who voted Tory, and he was from an affluent, but not quite rich, family. I think his politics have shifted to the left a bit over the years though.

It’s possible that I may know some people who are, but keep quiet about it - I’m told that they look just like us, you know.

I know some (middle class) Lib Dem members - do they count as Tory yet?

Just out of curiosity, what does the Conservative Party stand for, nowadays?

Staying in power.

I know plenty around where I grew up (Wigan and Bolton).

Doesn’t that go for all of them, these days?
My brother observes that ‘politics these days is getting like America, with both parties in the grip of Big Business, trying to persuade us that there’s any real difference between them’.

What about the LibDems?

I’m poor. I’ve voted Tory in the past. I’ve also voted Labour. I’ve also voted LibDem. This time around, my vote was more anti-Labour than anything else (read up on Margaret Moran).

I have a very low opinion of the parties overall. They all just want power.

As for other poor people, I think they divide into many camps, but Labour market themselves as the ‘we’ll look after you’ party whereas the Tories market themselves as the ‘we want you to get ahead’ party. Neither actually do it, of course.

Cynical, moi?

Old-style Liberals: After the 1920s they had three main strongholds: Southwest England (Devon and Cornwall, for the most part), parts of Scotland, and (sort of) the London suburbs. The latter needs explanation: for much of Greater London, the Liberals were the eternal second-place candidates, occasionally winning a race. So while there was no ‘safe’ seat around London, unless the party lost big they could expect one or two seats where their candidate was first past the post – just not the same seats from election to election.

Social Democrats: Originally the right wing of Labour, and hence the slightly-left moderates who would usually vote Labour in preference to Conservative, but who were not solidly behind a Leftist platform. When Kinnock led Labour left, they split and soon merged with the Liberals.

21st Century LibDems: Mostly people with a “a plague on both your houses” attitude towards the Tories and Labour, along with a mildly nationalist contingent (but not the fascist British National Party form of nationalism) who have issues with the EU that the LibDems capitalized on.

A very small but real fourth group consists of those who want electoral reform and who support the LibDems as the strongest advocate of it.

Ahem - Michael Foot, not Neil Kinnock. And more accurately when the Labour Party membership led Labour left…