Sunday, October 31, 2004


Is there a level of fear associated with being a Conservative voter. Well, for me there is. It's not a fear of being beaten up, or my kids being laughed at, or a fear that I will be bashed, imprisoned and put on show trial.

But there is a definite reluctance to state your opinions in a relaxed, easy fashion. Ask yourself; when was the last time you heard someone express an unsolicited opinion in favour of John Howard. Apart from taxi drivers. And how often will someone happily express their loathing of the Government? Where are the Pro-Coalition bumper stickers? Graffiti?

Why do those on the Left feel less inhibition in putting their opinions forward?

First and foremost, I think it's because people who deliver unsolicited political opinions are loudmouth bastards. But that's just me.

Secondly, I think it's a matter of fear of consequences. I wouldn't put a pro-Howard sticker on my car for the plain and simple reason that I'm afraid of the car being scratched up. I wouldn't care very much if the sticker got scratched off, or even if someone questioned why I would have such an obscenity on my vehicle. The fact is, I think there is a good chance that the car would be keyed, and this would cost me hard currency.

I don't put forward my opinions in conversation with others because I don?t feel like having to justify having them. If I am a guest, I won't express myself freely for fear of provoking a fight with other guests, and creating a difficulty with the host.

For those of us of a Conservative vote, it's a little like revealing a mildly embarrassing hobby: "Oh really, I collect 19th Century pornography as well!". The rule is, you never go first if you're a Coalition supporter.

And I really like the reaction from ALP voters when I reveal my true colours: "You know, I wouldn't have taken you for a Liberal voter". This is a distant relative of "Gee, you don"t look Jewish" and on nodding terms with "some of my best friends are (insert sub-group here)".

I don't think ALP voters are hairy-knuckled trade union brawlers, nor do I think Greens voters are tree pixies. But it makes you wonder what sort of cocoon a person lives in if they never encounter people with differing opinion.

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