The 25th of October was a day like every other, a bit nippy maybe, but otherwise positively unremarkable. However, for me, and maybe for Grant Shapps it was more significant than your average Friday. It was not through lack of preparation, nor through ignorance that I allowed my Tory membership to lapse; I consciously waited for the months to fly by, the days to disappear into that merciless abyss that is time. David Cameron’s Tories may have already had a waning membership, but I assure you, the loss of me as a member is troublesome for a whole lot of different reasons.
Reason number one why the Conservative Party needs me as a member is my youth. Now, this alone seems rather strange: a vote is a vote after all; for an eighteen year old or a seventy year old. Maybe so, but will this other hypothetical pensioner Tory voter, be out and about in the rain; handing out fliers; going door to door; volunteering to canvas in afar constituencies? I highly doubt it. And that is just what the Tories have lost in me. An active and enthusiastic canvasser who could not only be a cog in an electoral machine, but could shape and influence opinion of regular voters through interaction.
As I said before, a vote is a vote. Well, dear Britain does not adopt such an electoral system; it favours the methods of effective disenfranchisement, and frankly a mockery of democracy. In the 2010 general election the Liberal Democrats won nearly 120,000 votes per seat gained, whilst it took Labour just 33,000. Safe seats, unfair boundaries - it all culminates in a system whereby some votes are enhanced in importance to the nth degree. And hello again Mr Shapps. My university constituency just so happens to be a marginal seat. Not only does my vote count for more, think of all the students who could be convinced by an engaged politics student and activist. I’m not just me, I’m my whole community, I’m my whole generation.
It gets worse for Mr Shapps. The transition of traditional Tory support to UKIP has been well documented; in more ways than one, it’s pretty much been the driving force behind Tory policy. The premise of Tory policy has been to attract voters back from UKIP to their natural home- the Conservatives. This has given rise to a series of policy that has alienated me personally, and more than likely other classical liberals. The EU referendum, the bedroom tax, a restrictive immigration policy and benefit allowance, internet restrictions, NHS infiltration. It has all added up.
The list is on-going, but every single policy that I previously mentioned was like someone standing on each individual finger of my outstretched hands clasping the metaphorical Tory membership cliff. The 25th of October was the ‘Mufasa moment’, no longer could I hold on to the volcano of hate that shimmied and scoffed at my ideals of social liberalism. October the 25th was mine, but the question is not will there be others who can no longer ‘hang on’, it’s when will those others ‘slip away’, and will the Tories provide them the platform which will allow them back into the party’s ear?
My guess is that there’s not long until the moderate Tories fall off the ‘Nasty Party’ bandwagon and leave the party. It is this cross-section of support, not the extreme, border line UKIPers who can win the election for the Tories. That is why Mr Shapps will miss me.
I’ve previously criticised the top rate tax break whilst benefits are slashed, I’ve criticised HS2, I’ve lambasted Michael Gove’s education plans, asked and asked for a change of direction in social policy. Not only has my voice not been heard, but the course the Tories have taken is the antithesis of what I want and expect. In leaving me, and my fellow ideologues, they may have just gifted the front bench to the delinquent morons who brought this country to the brink just half a decade ago. To almost quote President Reagan, I didn’t leave the Tories, the Tories left me. If it doesn't hurt yet Mr Shapps, I'm sure it soon will.
By Adam Isaacs