So i'm walking back from the shop armed with a box of Shreddies (my breakfast of choice currently) and I spy with my little eye the local Tory doing the rounds, accompanied by a couple of goons. Unfortunately for me the road to hell is paved with good intentions and I decide I'd like to try and 'corner' him on the issue of foodbanks and sanctions, albeit briefly because i don't really want to be talking to these people.
Now I'm worried he'll 'recognise' me, somehow (I've never met him before so why should he) and that, stupidly, I didn't calculate he might come a-knocking later on. I rather hope he doesn't and have put a notice on the door saying, politely, no Tories.
The problem is that he's all very charming and polite. He tries to explain that, given the Trussell Trust is a relatively recent enterprise, we can't assume that the foodbank crisis (which only a fool would deny) is a product of the current austerity plan and the headbangers in cabinet. He says he is "quietly horrified" by the situation. But he's still a Tory?!? How does he square this with reality? Is it just not on his radar? Is it not an issue locally? I suppose that might be possible, even though Weston super mare has a foodbank and, according to a recent local paper headline, is the debt capital of the country! That can't be good.
You see this is the problem: in Parliament the Tories are headbangers. They are swivel eyed goons who think the right to rule is theirs by blood and that the land is their divine inheritance. Yet I suspect the local Tory, and our sitting MP, is typical of constituency Tories. He says all the right things, is very polite and charming so somewhere there is a disconnect. I asked him about sanctions and he said again it wasn't something people were bringing to him as an issue. Again that may be true - locally. But what about the evidence that's been collected by the likes of the CAB and the Church - and everyone else from the Guardian to even the BBC? There is definitely something happening and sometimes two plus two equals four: a government hell bent on austerity, punitive welfare reforms, and policies as crazy and nasty as the bedroom tax (which I didn't raise) cannot not be prime suspect at least.
I think these Tories are not part of the inner circle. They may subscribe to the ideals of capitalism and believe that, if the market functioned properly, and if public finances were used responsibly, everything would be fine. But the reality is, despite what they have been led to believe, they are members of a party who's leadership, in government, is deliberately causing untold mayhem. He can be as friendly and as charming as he likes, he is a politician after all, and I've no reason to assume he's a genuinely nasty person (unlike, say, Iain Duncan Smith), but he works for a party that is wrecking people's lives and, presumably, subscribes to an economic system in capitalism that has comprehensively and axiomatically failed.
The danger is that it is off the backs of people like this that the Tories come to power. The cabinet MP's will be insulated from the problems they cause by their circle of supporters and will have enough votes from among that section of the community they have nothing to worry about. Iain Duncan Smith doesn't even live in his constituency! As an example there is an issue locally with housing developers wanting to build all over the place. It has a lot of people up in arms; the Tory MP is the only politician who has put his face to the campaign. So voters will see in him someone who supports them and listens to local issues - rightly or wrongly. No other party is perceived to be listening. Therein lies the problem: the Tories play good cop on the doorstep, coming across as affable concerned community leaders, but in power it's bad cop all the way.
And no, there's no way in hell I'll be voting Tory. No matter how charming you are. What this society needs you aren't prepared to give.