Election: Gay former British soldier James Wharton on why he's voting Conservative (Opinion)

2017-06-05
Aspiration. Reward. Security. There’s one thing in life I’m sure of: if you work hard and put a lot of effort into something, you should be rewarded for it when the job is done, when that task is complete. I’m also a firm believer that nothing in our lives is impossible and anything we set out to accomplish can be realised with the right motivation and frame of mind. When looking at the values each political party holds, and absorbing their different visions of the future, there’s one stand out winner among them in attracting my vote on Thursday. I will, for a third time, be voting for the Conservatives. Coming from humble beginnings as I do, I’m proud that I’ve got to where I am at the age of 30 off my own back. I didn’t go to university, I didn’t have anybody pulling favours to give me opportunities over others. If ever I’ve wanted something, I’ve focused myself and gone for it. And that’s because I’m aspirational. The Tories hold aspiration central to what they stand for in modern day Britain. You want it, kid? Go for it! And reap the rewards when you do. What I see on the opposite side of the table countering this message of positivity, is a glum expression of pessimism from Labour - the party that wants to keep the poor poor, and the better-off vilified. Corbyn and his front bench of Islington-dwelling, privately educated and multi-income earning shadow-cabinet members could be world leaders of nothing other than hypocrisy, peddling an ideology that depends on poverty, lambasting those of us who aspire to achieve and earn more. Something else that’s important to me, in this election over any other, is security. At the weekend we endured yet another terror attack, the second in the space of a fortnight. It feels only obvious that we will face more in the coming months. This election was supposed to be all about Brexit and who you want to lead us in that process, but it is now also about who you want to calling the shots in a terrifying domestic issue that needs to be tackled one way or another. So, ask yourself this: who do you really want to chair COBRA meetings on national security, who do you want to make split-second calls on how to protect us from those hell-bent on killing us at pop concerts or while enjoying a night out in Vauxhall? Do you want Theresa May in that position? The longest-serving Home Secretary in history, a decisive leader who’s received national security briefings every day for the last 7 years; or do you want Jeremy Corbyn? A man who said he opposes shooting dead terrorists on British streets and who constantly has to deny suggestions he’s a terrorist sympathiser? If domestic terrorism is a problem that’s not going away any time soon, I don’t want Diane Abbott (who could well be the next home secretary) justifying her admiration for the IRA by bumbling and laughing her way through an Andrew Marr interview, drawing similarities between her statements and changing her hair style. Right now, we need steady hands, clear thought and decisive action. There isn’t so much as even a hint of this on offer from Labour under Jeremy Corbyn. Come Friday, one of two people will be taking the drive to Buckingham Palace to ask the Queen if they can, following the outcome of the election, form a Government in her name. She must say yes. So, please think long and hard before putting a cross next to any Labour candidate's name on your ballet paper, as there is suddenly so much more at stake than just the terms of our Brexit negotiation from the EU. On Thursday, when I go to the polling station at the bottom of my street, there is one choice on offer that gives me comfort in these key areas of aspiration, reward and security… and that’s the Conservative party. Words by James Wharton