The Tories have so far been trying to channel the Reagon spirit of “are you better off?”. This was Reagon’s famous statement during the Carter/Reagon Presidential debate in 1980. Together with “there you go again”, these lines helped to position Reagon on the side of the popular majority – or what Nixon had earlier termed ‘the silent majority’ (compare with Camerons ‘great ignored’). When The Tories say “do you want five more years of Gordon Brown”, or as Hesletine put it the other day on the BBC, “Thirteen more years”; they are pushing the change agenda but their basking in the miss-fired Labour ad (since re-dubbed ‘fire up the Quattro) is to suggest a return to a better age. The trouble with this is that is you were that smalltown boy in the 1980’s, early 90s, made famous in the Jimmy Somemrville track of the same name, the Tories don’t suggest a golden age but rather a return to an age of discrimination and state sponsored homophobia. It suggests a time in which schools couldn’t talk about homosexuality for fear of ‘promoting it’, homosexuals were ‘pretend’ families (a position I suspect many Tory PPC’s would still hold true), there was a different age of consent for gay men whilst civil partnerships, equal access to goods and services, adoption rights and so on were all the stuff of fantasy. Thirteen years of Labour made them a reality and as someone whose never voted Labour in my life, I could hardly be cast as a great supporter of the current administration. Take a look at the original music track below.
So when you go into that voting booth or complete your postal ballot, remember that the small town boy still exists. He still faces many challenges from homophobic bullying in school through to conservative social attitudes. There continue to be legal battles such as the ‘gay blood ban’, and other issues such as public sex need addressing. That smalltown boy probably can’t vote in this election but he and thousands like him are counting on you and me to make the right choice for him. The recent Grayling blunder suggests a Tory party that, despite the growth in openly gay PPC’s still has a long way to go. Political junkies can watch the Reagon clips below.