Saturday, 2 February 2013

Equal Marriage

In recent weeks I have been thinking deeply about Equal Marriage and the effect it is having on some of our more traditional members and supporters. Today I have had the opportunity to talk my feelings through with several friends and colleagues whose opinions I value.

The Conservative Party was out of office for 13 years from 1997 to 2010, and has not won a Parliamentary majority for 22 years, ...
in part because we allowed ourselves to be defined by the narrow Daily Mail narrative of who we allegedly didn't like or approve of, rather than what we stood for politically.

Given this perception, which we did little to deny, is it any wonder that gay, lesbian, black, Asian voters, or migrants who came here legally to seek a better life, or those who chose non traditional lifestyles; single mums, career woman, or those who choose to co-habit, agnostics, atheists, or those who believe we have a responsibility to the environment, or believe in animal welfare or lived in council housing or worked in the public or third sectors, found voting Conservative anathema (even if they agreed with our policies, which many do).

Whether people like it or not, Britain has changed. Just sit at a coffee shop on any high street or a park bench in any major town or city, or and look at the people around you. Britain is now a multi-cultural, socially liberal society, and as a political party we must reflect the hopes and aspirations of Britain as it is now, not how it used to be when viewed through the rose-tinted spectacles.

Equal marriage alone won't achieve that, but it will demonstrate that the modern Conservative Party is open, inclusive and accepting of people, regardless of how they choose to live their lives within the law.

If the price of bringing future generations into our fold is the loss of support from some of those who have traditional supported us, then I believe that is a price we must pay.

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