Someone needs to tell this Tory MP how conservatism works because he’s asking for free labour

Ben Bradley and statue of a man face-palming
John Shafthauer

An infamous Conservative MP has done it again. This time he’s asked for a “talented video editor” to do some voluntary work for him. The problem is that Ben Bradley represents a party that doesn’t really go in for collective politics:

Individualism v Collectivism

Bradley is infamous for a few reasons – not least of all the time when he accused Jeremy Corbyn of working for the Soviets and had to issue an apology:

In an angry response to his haters over the latest incident, the ever eloquent Bradley wrote:

This begs the question: is it fair to question Bradley’s angry requests for free labour? Much of the left relies on voluntary work: why don’t we criticise them?

The key is the distinction between individualism and collectivism.

The Conservative Party generally pursues individualism. The promise of individualism is that anyone who grafts or strives will be rewarded for their efforts. The people promising this often pit the economically fortunate against the alleged ‘scroungers‘. This allows the government to claim that poor people simply aren’t working hard enough – something which is increasingly difficult to do as poverty increases.

An alternative to individualism is collectivism. This is about using the strength of a group to go after benefits for a majority. This is seen in the protests in Lancashire against the fracking industry, or the efforts of Momentum to turn Labour into a member-driven party.

It’s a simple distinction, really. The individualist right says:

If you work for your self, you will benefit.

The collectivist left says:

If we work together, we will all benefit.

Ben behaving Bradley

As you’d expect, people have noticed the hypocrisy:

In making his request, Bradley has shown that the Tory model doesn’t work. How can anyone expect the Tories to deliver its promise of a country for the ‘grafters’ when they can’t even pay “talented video editors” for ‘slick and engaging content’?

This is why rampant individualism fails. Some individuals want more than others, and when their own efforts aren’t enough, they rely on others to get it.

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Featured image via Chris McAndrew – Wikimedia / Joe deSousa – Flickr

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John Shafthauer