I’M A BIGOT. I thought I should get that out there. I’m bigoted against Tories, and apparently that makes me a bad person who doesn’t want a Scotland that’s diverse and tolerant. Substitute what you say about Tories with gay, or English, or women, or disabled and you’ll see how bigoted you are, I was told by a person who really needs to go and look up the meaning of the term “category error”. The decision to vote Tory is not remotely comparable to being a member of a group whose membership you did not actively solicit. I’m bigoted against Tories, and wear it on my sleeve.
People don’t choose to be gay. Voting Tory is a choice, it’s a bad choice, a selfish choice, and a dangerous choice that threatens to destroy the social fabric of this country and consign untold thousands into poverty and despair. Voting Tory is a choice to defend privilege. It’s a choice to entrench established inequalities. It’s a choice to uphold the interests of the rich, the powerful, and the corporate. Voting Tory is a choice to protect the Union without caring what sort of a Union you are voting to protect. For a working class person to choose to vote Tory is an act of epic self-harm that harms others in their own community. It’s like deciding to throw yourself in front of a train, but first you’ll push your neighbours off the platform too.
Tories are not an ethnic group. They are not a sexual orientation – unless you define political sadomasochism as a sexual orientation. They are not a gender or an ethnicity. They are a group defined by a conscious choice that they’ve made. And that choice is a choice to be a git. It is perfectly acceptable to hate the bad and foolish choices that people consciously make. So yeah, I hate Tories because when you say you hate Tories you’re saying that you fundamentally disagree with selfish, bad and damaging choices that others make without caring about the effects that their choices have on the rest of us. I’m Toryphobic and proud.
There are different kinds of Tory voters. There’s the elderly Tories who have voted Tory all their lives and who would no more change their vote than change their football team. Then there are the selfish gits who’ve got a bit of property or have benefited from a few advantages or good fortune and who are convinced that everything they’ve done and everything they own is entirely down to their own efforts and who refuse to consider that others might not have enjoyed their advantages or sheer good luck. There are people who vote Tory because they want to defend the Union between Scotland and England and who either don’t realise or don’t care that the Tories will destroy all the things that they think the Union stands for. And then there are those who vote Tory because the chocolate covered biscuit of Ruth Davidson modernity has an orangey bit in the middle. What all those have in common is that they are the people who are least likely to be open to appeals from pro-independence supporters to vote for independence in order to achieve a better Scotland.
There’s a reason that the Tories don’t want another Scottish referendum. There’s a reason why they want to put Scottish democracy on ice and freeze it into the decision made in September 2014 never to be questioned again. It’s the same reason why Theresa May refuses to debate and why all her public pronouncements are a robotic series of soundbites. It’s the same reason that Conservative MPs appear on the TV news and refuse to engage with other guests.
The reason that the Tories don’t want another referendum is because they don’t want anyone to question their power, the privileges of the rich, or the wealth of big business. The status quo suits them just fine and they don’t want to see anything that might threaten it. A mass political campaign that engages the grass roots and gets thousands of people thinking about the future of the country threatens them. The Tories object to scrutiny because they are fundamentally the party of inherited wealth and patronage, and scrutiny threatens to undermine the basis of their clawlike grasp on our society. Democracy is a participatory process or democracy dies. Tories don’t like democracy. They like deference, they like obedience, and they don’t like to be challenged. They’re the party of established prejudice that screams that opposition to them, that calling them out for what they are, is prejudiced.
This month’s General Election is likely to see Theresa May returned with a larger majority. It’s also likely to see the Conservatives make a few gains in Scotland as the diehard Unionist vote coalesces around them. In May’s council elections, Tory gains at the expense of Labour were protrayed by the media as a reversal for the SNP. The same pattern will repeat itself after June’s General Election. Scottish politics are settling into their post-indyref and post-Brexit form with the Tories as the largest party of the Union. But there’s a ceiling to Conservative support in Scotland. A party that puts Britishness first and foremost, that will never stand up for Scotland when Scotland’s interests are different from England’s, is a party that will forever be doomed to minority support.
Despite the predictable attempts of the Unionist media to paint a few Tory gains in Scotland in the General Election as a blow for the independence campaign and a sign that Scotland is going off the idea of independence, it will be no such thing. In reality what it means is that the choices for Scotland are coming into focus. We can choose a social democratic, outward looking, internationalist Scotland that relates to the world on its own terms, or we can choose to defer to whatever the Conservatives decide in a Northern Britain. That’s a choice that’s easy to make. The Tories taking over from Labour as the main party of the Union in Scotland bring the prospects of independence even closer.