Right-thinking, left-leaning people always thought that the Conservatives were inherently greedy and cruel. Even if was going too far to say that they were actual Nazis, we agreed that they flirted with racism, xenophobia and hatred of “the Other”. Nick Clegg seemed to speak for the anti-fascist wing of British liberal opinion when he accused David Cameron in the second of the general election leaders’ debates of allying himself in the EU with “a bunch of nutters, anti-Semites, people who deny climate change exists [and] homophobes”. Guilt by association was still guilt, he implied. Conservatives did not care enough about fascistic hatred to renounce without equivocation all those who played with murderous ideas.
In the 1990s, the liberal-Left thought that Labour was the antidote to such right-wing extremism. As far as we were concerned, it was a warm, generous party that believed in community, help for the poor and all other good things. As that unjustly underrated political commentator Bridget Jones noted in her diary in 1997: “It is perfectly obvious that Labour stands for sharing, kindness, gays, single mothers and Nelson Mandela, as opposed to braying bossy men having affairs with everyone, shag shag shag left right and centre and going to the Ritz in Paris then telling all the presenters off on the Today programme.”
Unfortunately for right-thinking people, Tony Blair was too fond of overthrowing dictators for their taste and the consensus grew that Labour was a party that waged “illegal” wars abroad and destroyed civil liberties at home…
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