Friday, October 30, 2020
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Sarah Boulton-Jones: A stranger in my own land. Vilified for my conservative values

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We live in a beautiful village in an affluent area (already I am fighting the need to apologise for this). Ten years ago, perhaps even five years ago, I suspect that many of the young parents with whom we socialise would have been happy to identify themselves as conservative – I am thinking particularly of the definition of holding traditional conservative values.

Yet nowadays, it seems that people seem to shun the very idea. Likewise my peers from Oxford – they are employed in a wide range of jobs, having all sorts of varied experiences and yet few, if any, would admit to being conservative in outlook, whilst I suspect that many of their parents would have happily done so.

My Facebook Newsfeed and Twitter updates are full of links my friends have posted to all manner of blogs and articles, yet it is rare I see a link to anything even approaching a conservative viewpoint.  I am not sure I would out myself as “conservative” in their presence either. How has our supposedly liberal country become so unforgiving of other, more traditional opinions?

Modern media is dominated by a liberal force (the BBC is a prime example), and to go against the grain on Twitter is to invoke all manner of attacks. A previous blog I wrote for this website was linked to in a Facebook group of which I am a member. I thought it was a harmless blog about my own experiences as a stay at home mum. I was amazed by the vitriol this attracted purely because it was written for a website with the dirty word “conservative” in the title.

I have fairly traditional, conservative views on raising children – I have chosen to be a stay at home mother and believe that if at all possible, this is probably the best place for children (you see, the weird thing is “conservative views” and “Conservative views” no longer tally). Whilst constantly told that nurseries are wonderful, stimulating places providing the best start for children, I very rarely dare to give my view, which is that perhaps mothers can provide stimulation where needed, and maybe a cuddle with mum is more important anyway. To do so immediately attracts cries of “check your privilege”, the bullying cry of social media.  If I ever dare to discuss the challenges I face financially or otherwise as a stay at home mother, I am dismissed as over privileged and “out of touch”. We seem to have become an acceptable target.

Of course I recognise that whilst we are sadly by no means wealthy, we could certainly be viewed as privileged but does this mean that I am not allowed to express any opinions?  Why do I find myself feeling as though I need to apologise for the fact that I am not working at present but at home raising my children, as though it is something to feel guilty about?  That is why I believe so strongly that blogs such as The Conservative Woman are so important, providing a voice for those who are so easily dismissed as old-fashioned and over-privileged.

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Sarah Boulton-Jones
Sarah is a former City barrister and stay-at-home mother

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