I look at my friends and colleagues, and see a wide variety of political opinions. I might disagree with somebody’s politics, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have good reasons for their beliefs, and it doesn’t stop me valuing them and liking them. And arguing with them.
It seems to me this is a basic requirement for living in a democracy: the acceptance that other people’s opinions are as heartfelt as one’s own, and that just because they see the world a different way, it doesn’t make them bad. I strongly believe that most people are honest and caring, even though that may be expressed in different ways.
From observation I think that many people on the right of politics look at that on the left with a little condescension, perhaps with a belief that most people grow out of left-wing politics as they assume the responsibility of life, but see them as being well-meaning if misguided.
More worrying is the intolerance of some of those on the left of politics, who use hate language to describe those on the right. This has always occurred, but is more apparent than before on social media. There is a disconnection between lefties using words like scum, evil, and fascist, and the reality of Tory voters’ concerns.
Which has to go a long way to explain the “shy Tory” factor; Tory voters are less likely than others to identify as such in opinions polls, in normal social interactions, and online. It is saner to avoid rather than engage with the intolerance and bigotry of those who fling around insults yet make no effort to understand others’ politics.
I wonder whether we will see a parallel “shy Labour” factor in Scotland, since so many anti-Labour insults have been flying around.