As you’re no doubt aware, Thursday was general election day for the UK. Millions of us read the headlines in our heavily biased newspapers, millions of us were bombarded with incredibly annoying campaign leaflets, millions of us shuffled out to vote, and millions of us woke up on Friday morning to find our country in the hands of a Conservative government.
It can be difficult to explain to someone who isn’t British why, exactly, some British people are acting as if this is the end of the world. It’s doubly difficult for someone as young as me, who wasn’t alive to experience the savage inhumanity of the Thatcher years and therefore can’t quite articulate exactly why hatred of the Conservatives in Britain runs so fucking deep. After all, the Conservatives aren’t so bad, right? They’re not trying to ban abortion, or make it illegal for trans folk to use public bathrooms. They even legalised gay marriage! What’s everyone so worked up about?
The Conservatives are the party of the rich. Their leaders are public schoolboys and merchant bankers, men (and they are generally men, except for when they aren’t) who are vastly wealthy, and whose policies overwhelmingly reflect a desire to protect that wealth. They are the party who punish the poor for being poor. They are the party who broke the back of the British working class, the party of insidious, creeping xenophobia, the party of supporting the strong at the expense of the weak. The party that has such deeply entrenched support in the financial sector and the press that fighting them will always be a near-impossible uphill struggle. Over the past five years, the Conservatives have implemented such savage public spending cuts that it has literally driven people to suicide – whilst simultaneously bending over backwards to avoid taxing their billionaire friends.
This is why our anger runs so deep.
It is true that the Conservatives aren’t the worst party out there when it comes to LGBT rights. Whilst their history is pretty awful (I’m almost certain, for example, that Section 28 was one of the key reasons that my biggest bullies in high school were my teachers, not other students), nowadays the Conservatives’ attitudes to LGBT folk is becoming almost inoffensive (operative word: almost). They certainly look good in comparison to the DUP, the party of “Save Ulster from Sodomy” fame, or UKIP, the UK right’s knights in racist, gaffe-ridden, everything-phobic armour.
My queerness has not made me a target during this election. I am not poor. I am not disabled. I am not an immigrant. I am not the one being scapegoated and vilified. But as a queer person, I do know how it feels to be arbitrarily attacked by those in power for something that I cannot change – I think all queer people do. When I was sixteen, my headteacher subjected me to a month-long campaign of silencing and intimidation because of my sexuality. As someone who has experienced bullying at the hands of someone with far more power than me, victimisation of the powerless by the powerful is something that I cannot and will not tolerate.
The reason last week’s election result felt like a punch in the stomach to me and so many others is the same as the reason protestors were getting beaten by police in central London yesterday morning. It’s the reason why so many British people hate the Conservatives with a passion that must seem baffling to outsiders, and that is – quite simply – that the Conservatives are the party of cruelty. They are the party of protecting the powerful and viciously attacking the vulnerable.
In short, they are the school bully party.
This is why we hate them.
I suppose I should note that the above is all my personal opinion and does not represent the views of Queereka as a whole, etc., etc.
Feature image courtesy of mirror.co.uk.