EVERY now and then someone lets down their guard to reveal what they really think about ‘the others’. Last week, in an extraordinary piece, Times columnist Matthew Parris let us all know who is welcome and who is excluded in his modern Conservative Party.
He visited Clacton-on-Sea in Essex to give us this illuminating piece, and I have no doubt his opinion is shared by many of the movers and shakers at the very top of the Conservative Party. This is the mindset of the liberal Tory metropolitan elite.
We really are in Mr Parris’s debt that he has let us know who the Tories ‘should turn their backs on’.
The sick – Mr Parris tells us: ‘Only in Asmara after Eritrea’s bloody war have I encountered a greater proportion of citizens on crutches or in wheelchairs.’ Sick people – they are just the worst. Please leave by the side door.
The old – Mr Parris informs us that: ‘Clacton-on-Sea is a friendly resort trying not to die, inhabited by friendly people trying not to die.’ It is the constituency with the ‘highest proportion of retired residents, almost the lowest proportion of residents aged 25-44 and the highest proportion of single elderly person households.’
Mr Parris and the Tories do not want them because ‘these are not wealthy retired professionals’ like those you might find in London.
Perhaps the elderly of Clacton had ordinary jobs that ‘just’ provided for their families, and not those glamorous jobs in media, politics, and the law. Perhaps the old of Clacton fought in the war so that people like Matthew Parris could have the freedom and opportunity to espouse the view that the very people who risked their lives for this liberty are no longer wanted by the Tory party. You were useful when you were young and fit, but that now you are old and poor and cannot understand the change wrought on your country, you can drop dead.
The unfashionable – Mr Parris notes the following about the people of Clacton-on-Sea: ‘Lycra is the textile of choice and I saw not a single woman under 70 in a skirt, still less a dress.’ These people are not only the great unwashed, they are the great unfashionable who may also sport a tattoo. As such you are unworthy of the new and trendy Conservative Party.
The poor – Mr Parris did not think much of Clacton-on-Sea as you can ‘buy a three-bedroom detached bungalow for £94,995’. This, it seems, is a reason why the Tory party should turn their backs on the people of Clacton-on-Sea. If you are not ensconced in a Georgian or Victorian townhouse in North London that will cost you well over £1.5million, just take a hike.
Mr Parris asks if Clacton – the town he calls ‘Hopeless’ – is where the Tories want to be? Do they want to be with ‘the weak, the unlucky, the resentful, the fearful, the old and the poor?’ Or they do they want to be with ‘successful people, busy people, people who want to go places?’ People, in other words, just like him.
He concludes: ‘I am not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing – if I am honest – that we should be careless of their opinions.’
Nice try, Mr Parris, but you care no more for the people of Clacton than for their opinions. You cannot strip people of their opinions just because you do not share them, and treat them with disdain. It is dehumanising and turns them into lemmings – to be fed and watered, sure, but ultimately sent on their way. That is not to say you have to agree with their opinions, but you do not get to be ‘careless’ of them.
So, people of Clacton-on-Sea, you have been told where to go. You are not wanted or needed by the modern Tory party. Luckily, you have an opportunity to tell the Tory party that perhaps you no longer need it.