Last week I was fortunate enough to have been invited by one of my friends to meet Mark Coote, Conservative Candidate for Cheltenham, at a pub in Cheltenham. As I suspected by reading much of his material he was a delightful person to be with. Quite personable and I can see how he would be a successful candidate.
With the seesaw of British politics in motion once again we can expect for David Cameron to be Prime Minister next general election. In which case having Mark Coote elected for Cheltenham would be of great advantage to Cheltenham. With David Cameron only being a phone call away how could Mark Coote be a bad thing?
The evening was spent discussing personal views, campaigning ideas and attempting to achieve a firm grip of Conservative politics. Lots of free beers were involved and by the end of the evening I was ready to sign up to the Conservatives. I know it sounds cheesy, almost manipulative with free beers being offered but I believed in Mark Coote.
I don’t mean to sound that I now no longer believe in Mark. He is a fantastic candidate but the question of helping with their campaign is really a personal one. Much of my experience within the PR sector has been related to social media for individuals and companies that want to ultimately sell.
Politics is different. Very different. Listening to why a political party is better compared to another uses a lot of language commonly associated with religious evangelism. What I witnessed at that table last Friday was political evangelism. In the same way I would resist the values preached by a Christian, Muslim, Jew or even Pagan… I felt the need to resist the Conservatives.
It does sound peculiar. Of course I have an interest in politics but my reasons for not joining the Conservatives could be regarded as theological in nature. For the same reason I have remained an Atheist almost.
As an Atheist it is possible to clearly observe lots of religious traditions, actions and worship. As an Atheist it is possible to read widely without a burning sense of disapproval with a particular view. As I view Atheism being associated with being open minded I have to avoid political obligation to remain the same in the realm of politics.
I would much rather associate myself with the politics of particular writers such as George Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine or even Karl Marx. I prefer to keep my palette open and form my own political ideas. Joining a political party feels like accepting the doctrine of a Church.
So by not joining the Conservatives I have possibly turned down some fantastic PR work opportunities. I will have missed meeting Ann Widdecombe, meeting some wonderful passionate people. In the future I may have missed shouting out my own political views to the masses. I cannot have a higher ideal above me though; individuals must make their own decisions. We all have minds and I intend for mine to be utterly free of any higher objectives for a joined party.
I was warned by my past Philosophy teacher that PR may lead you into a personally uncomfortable position. Even though I may vote for Mark Coote, vote Conservatives in the general election, my choices must be kept totally free. So with an ounce of regret I must turn down the next Conservative meeting and wish them the very best of luck.