I think it’s probably about time to put to bed the mantra that the UK Conservative Party is a relatively moderate, liberal party and at least we don’t have any of those barking Republicans from the USA.
Right wing isn’t a perfect synonym for irrational. People aren’t automatically less right wing because they accept science. As much as US Republicans’ creationist and climate-change-denying beliefs make them a good target for jokes, I don’t think acknowledging the existence of climate change is particularly an advantage if you’re still more concerned with corporate interests and nuclear subs, nor believing in evolution when you’re happy to support other lies being taught in schools such as the British imperialist version of history currently peddled in English schools.
I’ve seen a few comments around since the election about how we should count ourselves lucky that this is all we get from our conservatives; that UK Conservatives are basically US Democrats, some Republicans don’t even believe in evolution!
Whereas all we have to worry about is the government getting rid of human rights, dismantling the welfare state, forcing poor people into treatments and unpaid labour on pain of starvation, spying on citizens, outlawing radical views, criminalising strikes and protest. But at least they put a respectable face on it! At least they don’t come off as “crazy” (they’re too posh and well-spoken for that). At least they’re not overtly anti-science and they’re subtle enough not to express open contempt for marginalised groups..well usually anyway.
There are some advantages to British political culture as opposed to American–it’s a good thing that say, abortion isn’t a central issue except in Northern Ireland. But still, none of this “aw come on, they’re barely conservatives”.
Let’s not concede that the right wing is “moderate” just because they’ve managed to present themselves as respectable.