This is a letter we have yet to receive and even the idea of it may make the blood of some of our readers boil. But does it, or a version of it, languish in draft emails on computers right across our region, addressed but unsent? It would be good to think so.
Go on. Open up the drafts folder! Hit send! We want to hear from you!
“Dear West Country Voices,
You might be dismayed to get a letter from someone who is still prepared to call themselves a Conservative, given the horrors being perpetrated by Liar Johnson and his cabal of kleptocrats, xenophobes, incompetents and wannabe dictators, but I believe decent Conservatives do exist. OK, many have been ejected from the party which is now pretty much BluKIP: I am thinking of Dominic Grieve, David Gauke, Lord Heseltine, Anna Soubry, Oliver Letwin, John Major and Ken Clarke, to mention but a few…and in no particular order.
I’ll admit that habit, tribalism, even laziness has, for some of us, been behind our willingness in the past to put a cross next to the Conservative candidate regardless of his or her abilities or track record. It has suited us to continue to believe everything in the media that demonises or belittles the alternatives. Besides, we all know that first-past-the-post favours us above all others, and that it is pointless to vote against the blue rosette in most constituencies in the south-west.
But now, even more than in 2015 and 2017, that complacency has got us into a real mess. We weren’t that anti-Europe. Quite the reverse, if anything. We supported Remain…if it counts as support to have worn a sticker for as long as it stayed stuck and, yes, I am ashamed I did not do more. We were horrified by the referendum result, and some of us even got off our backsides and campaigned for a second referendum so we could scrutinise the outcome of the Brexit ‘negotiations’ and, potentially, avert a crisis for the country and the party.
We have ended up being led by a man who has promised everything and delivered nothing, a man who goes back on his word as easily as I might change my mind about what to have on my toast, and for whom the truth is whatever he decides to mumble at any given moment.
Behind his bluster and blethering and clown act, some of the most shockingly repressive, regressive and downright cruel or nasty laws are being rammed through parliament; not one of them are born of the values with which I identify. What’s more, to my horror, parliament and parliamentary scrutiny are being marginalised and until very recently, the new intake of Johnson sycophants have just toed the line.
The corruption is there for all to see, too. Johnson says the country is not corrupt. He’s right. It isn’t, but many on the government benches are, and they’re led by a moral bankrupt. It sickens me, as does seeing the way the pandemic has been exploited to make money for mates, or the way the Lords has been packed with party donors.
Then there’s the litany of broken manifesto promises. How can we ever trust a Conservative manifesto again?
Look, I know you can say that if I hate so very much what the Conservatives have become, then why don’t I switch parties? But I’d like you to think of it as support for a football or rugby club. It is very hard to break the loyalty and to switch commitment to another team. Very hard. I could no more switch my loyalty from Exeter Chiefs to Bath or Harlequins. In fact, I think that if people do fall out of love with their team, then they stop taking an interest in the game altogether. When that means disengaging from democracy, the consequences are very serious indeed…for all of us. This is especially dangerous when Johnson et al seem hellbent on destroying democracy and undermining all the institutions that try to protect it.
I think a lot of Conservatives want their party back. We don’t want a team of liars and cheats and idiots, or people owned by Russians or the media or donors. We want to be a team that reasonable, rational people can support. We don’t want to be loathed and reviled, but I can completely understand why people might feel that way right now. And, of course, we will always be loathsome to some.
But what I want to know is, where are my fellow old-school, one nation Tories? How long are we going to remain silent? How much damage are we going to let these monsters do to society, to the economy, to the needy, to the NHS, to our standing in the world? For goodness’ sake, Johnson has even f*cked business!
It’s time to speak out. It’s time to rejoin the party (like others, I left when Johnson became leader) and try to drown out the entryists from the far right. If we love the UK, if we are truly patriotic, how can we stand by a second longer? The window of opportunity is closing fast.”
Is that email or something like it sitting in your drafts? Why not send it in? Why not speak out? Before it is too late.