Tuesday, August 28, 2007

You know you're a conservative

Iain posted this little trope, You know you're a Conservative when... that was swiftly satirised by Chris Dillow. Most of Chris's are mildly tendentious - ie:
1. Conservatives oppose immigration;
2. Wanting to leave your own money to your children rather than to the state is evidence of moral turpitude and hypocrisy;
3. Trade Unions are an example of people standing on their own two feet;
4. You believe in 'equality before the law, even though it's mostly your opponents who achieved this'.
5. 'you think state authorities shouldn't intervene in markets, unless doing so would benefit your business or support share prices or house prices'.
6. Conservatives are ignorant of economic theories that are described as being in an unfortunate obscurity; and
7. 'you think a centrally planned economy is a bad idea but centrally planned companies are great'.
While most of these, as I said, were rather tendentious, there is one I would point out as rather more flawed. Number 4 specified as the opponents of the Conservatives who achieved equality before the law as the CRE and the suffragettes. Passing over the first with the comment that it increasingly looks as though equality is the last thing the CRE is in favour of lets look at the second.
The suffragettes really got under way in about 1905, when Christabel Pankhurst interrupted a Liberal Party meeting. The heyday for suffragist activism was in the years 1907-1913 - including hunger strikes, the interruption of the Derby in 1913 (which resulted in the death of the suffragette in question Emily Davison) the cat and mouse act and so forth. Voting rights for women were not introduced until 1918.
Now - given that this was the achievement of the opponents of the Conservative Party after all - who was in power and blocked this campaign? The Liberal Party. Who was in power when voting rights were granted in 1918? A coalition dominated by the Conservative Party. Who was in power when full voting equality was granted in 1928? The Conservative Party. Which party did the leading suffragette, Emmeline Pankhurst, stand for in 1926? The Conservative Party.
I know Chris dislikes the Tories (or, perhaps more accurately, has contempt for them) but distortion of history is a bit much...

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