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Philosophy & Ideology, UK Politics

The hypocrisy of some on the left

Last week’s episode of Question Time resulted in much controversy. Social media was littered with conflicting opinions on the cries of a self-employed mother in the audience, who claimed she was being affected by cuts on tax credits, instigated by the incumbent Conservative government.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with the event; the lady actually voted for the Conservatives in the last General Election in May. Now she plans to vote for The Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. The full incident can be found below:

Obviously she would have witnessed what the Conservative government was doing to people. Prior to the General Election, the Conservative Party even announced that they would be making drastic cutbacks to welfare. And of course, many of us know that pre-election promises are often watered down to win voters, without revealing too much in-case voters are put off.

She likely knew that the Conservatives would affect the lives of many in a bad way. She just didn’t believe it would affect hers.

“You’re about to cut tax credits after promising you wouldn’t. I can hardly afford the rent I’ve gotta pay. I can hardly afford the bills I gotta do, and you’re gonna take more from me” she says.

Notice how, even as someone who now opts to vote for Corbyn, she still only refers to herself when talking about the effects of the Conservative cuts, rather than society as a whole?

Conservative supporters are usually the ones slandered for simply looking out for themselves, and not caring about society.

Yet this situation begs an important question: How many people on the left, or how many of those who claim to be in favour of Socialism, would change their political allegiance if they had more money? This lady is just one example, and is likely a reflection of greater numbers of people who think in the same way.

In the last election, it seemed that the major parties were aiming to win over voters, by appealing to their own wants and desires as individuals. Catchphrases such as “your family will be better off…”, “your job will be secure…”, “you will have to pay less tax” were spewed out to the electorate. This is obviously the nature to which politicians are appealing to. It has encouraged, even further, a me-me-me society – even among the left, who are inherently considered the compassionate ones by those who share their ideology.

Many on the left do genuinely care about the welfare of others and society as a whole, we all most likely know people of this nature. And of course, it’s true that many Conservative supporters would simply be looking out for themselves when voting. However, the question is: is this need to look out for one’s self alone exclusive to the Conservative Party alone? No; it doesn’t seem to be that black and white.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “The hypocrisy of some on the left

  1. Simple minded nonsense. Working people vote for a very complex range of reasons. to put it down to some kind of simple self interest is to play the bosses game. The point is the left didn’t hold out enough hope that it could win anything better. You have just ended up blaming the victims.

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    Posted by Dav Gil | October 27, 2015, 12:24 am
    • Working people, like anyone else in the country can choose who they vote for and subsequently elect. If too many people focus on their own needs, rather than clearly opting for a fair society, then this will elect a leadership of a similar nature. You are giving them a free pass.

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      Posted by Jonathan Fenton-Harvey | October 27, 2015, 12:32 am
  2. Isn’t it possible that people are just speaking in the first person in order to make the message slam home? I am in a similar situation to this lady, and I know that in the past I have spoken about my own situation in order to make people listen – “Hey, I’m not talking in the abstract – I am one of those affected”. It doesn’t mean that I’m only interested in myself.

    But I agree that of course there are some people on the ‘left’ who are only doing it for themselves, and would change their vote if they found themselves richer suddenly. I also think it’s about time politicians started using more inclusive language – talking of fairer distribution for all rather than saying “you” will be better off. If more people in power are talking of fairness and compassion, rather than appealing to whoever they think is listening at the time, then society as a whole may become more compassionate. I do have hopes that JC can swing things a bit that way.

    But don’t assume that using the words “I” and “me” means a person is selfish. They are perhaps just trying to drum the message home that there are real examples of people suffering right here in front of you.

    Like

    Posted by Lucie Puttipap | October 27, 2015, 12:06 pm

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