I think I was a little flip and dismissive in my last post about Cameron and the Torys. Terms like 'Cameron's Chronies' just roll off the tongue and I am naturally sympathetic towards the motivations of Labour or the Lib Dems (less so when it comes to Labour in the last few days, I have to admit).
However, I don't have the visceral hatred that so many of my friends have towards the Torys. There are several reasons for this. Labour is really the only government I have known (apart from the appalling laissez faire shit sandwich that is Fianna Fail in Ireland). My first real political memory is the death of John Smith, the former Labour leader that led to Tony Blaire's ascendancy to the leadership of Labour. I have a very vivid recollection of the day Labour had their landslide and though I think they have made severe errors in the last five years, I still believe they have done a lot of good. I never had to deal with the Conservative dominance of the 80s - the drastic cuts in public services, the constant attacks on minorities, the crass elevation of "loadsamoney" culture (aided and abetted by the hysterically rightwing tabloid press) and the depressing incoherence of the Labour opposition.
But deeper then these issues was the toxic homophobic environment created by the Thatcher government, once more cheered on by the Murdoch and Mail aixs of evil. The criminal neglect suffered by early AIDS victims, the constant hounding of politicians and celebrities about their orientation, and finally the bullying, sickening Section 28 understandably turned an entire generation of gay people firmly against the Torys. Cameron should never be allowed to forget that he voted for Section 28 - there are thousands of gay people who will certainly never forgive it.
Cameron and the Conservative party have been working hard to over-turn this image. I know from experience that there are a huge amount of gay people who are economically conservative. The only reason they haven't voted Conservative in the past is because it was clear they were unwelcome. Now the Conservatives have started saying all the right things about welcoming gay people openly into their coalition (such as extending proposed tax breaks to gay civil partnerships and saying that children should be taught about gay relationships) there will be a sizeable number of gays who will happily vote for the Torys because of their fiscal plans.
I am not a knee-jerk anti-Tory. I believe the Party has made some genuine strides in the last decade, and instead of sneering at that, it should be welcomed by everybody. Its a big step forward, and anything which increases the diversity of the political landscape is to be applauded. But I suspect that the Torys are probably acting a lot more disciplined then they actually are. You get a sense that the various factions (the social conservatives, the anti-EU crowd etc) are biding their time, realising that they have a golden opportunity to finally end 13 years of opposition if they can just keep the crazy from leaking out too much.
I also really don't trust Cameron and Osbourne's economic plans either. Their reaction to the downturn (ie massive cuts) would have been disastrous, and the more Cameron is forced to offer concrete plans, rather then running as the anti-Labour choice, the weaker and less ready to govern they appear. And as somebody who works in the voluntary sector, I shudder when I think of the problems that a Tory Government could create - a perfect shitstorm between demanding that more is done, and refusing the fund adequately.
As I said earlier, I think the best possible realistic outcome would be a hung Parliament, or one with a miniscule Conservative majority which would force them to ameliroate some of their more extreme plans to win over some of the Opposition. We'll see how it pans out - but either way, I think gay people have come too far down the road to be too badly affected by a Tory win.