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The Conservative Party Is the Real Home for Blue Collar Workers

06/05/2015 17:38 BST | Updated 06/05/2016 10:59 BST

One of the things I find most infuriating about politics is the tired old cliché that the Conservatives are the party of the privileged few. As the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives I feel an immense sense of duty to dispel that myth, not least because I believe that it contributes to the sense of alienation that many working people feel about politics.

Hardworking families from blue collar backgrounds have been let down by a Labour party whose biggest achievement has been to build currency in the lie that only they can represent working people.

Middle class intellectuals of the left have built profitable careers developing this school of thought, which might entertain the chattering classes and stir up resentment among working people, but which does little to restore their faith in the political system.

My father started out with nothing in the 1950s and through sheer hard work and graft was able to buy the land he had worked and a small property on which to raise his family. I am extremely proud to come from a country in which this is possible. That anyone, from any background, can get on and make a living through hard work and determination alone.

Let's be clear, I'm no champagne socialist. I'm a blue collar Conservative and I'm proud of it.

As a farmer by trade I know how to roll up my sleeves every day and slog my guts out. And it's that sense of hard work, aspiration and determination that Conservatism is built upon.

Conservatism is built upon the principal of responsibility, both for your own actions and for the well-being of your family and local community.

Conservatism isn't about public schools, country mansions and trust funds. It's about freedom and fairness, and the belief that aspiration and hard work are by far the best route out of poverty and hardship; not benefits and paternalism.

Little riles me more than hectoring by champagne socialists who portray wealth creation as an evil, but see no irony in the personal wealth they themselves have accrued.

It's easy for Labour politicians to lecture about a shortage in affordable housing from the comfort of a home in the leafy suburbs. It takes impressive reservoirs of hypocrisy to then pull up the ladder on first time buyers by pledging to scrap the 'Right to Buy' scheme.

I passionately believe that everyone should have an opportunity to own their own home and it is the collapse of house building under Labour which has depleted the stock of affordable housing here in Wales, not the 'Right to Buy'.

Since the advent of devolution in 1999, Labour has governed Wales as though it were their personal fiefdom. An endless merry-go-round of jobs for the party faithful and little to offer, beyond an unhealthy fixation with a certain Prime Minister who left office almost thirty years ago.

We've seen standards of education in freefall, a health service on the brink of "imminent meltdown", and a steady decline in the number of foreign businesses investing in Wales. All of which highlights Labour's failure to increase prosperity in Wales, despite three rounds of European grant aid, and 16 years of uninterrupted rule...

In fact, the Conservatives are the true party of the blue collar worker.

Our belief in freedom and fairness empowers working families, releasing people from Labour's nannying and enabling them to take more control of their own lives.

In just five years, and in difficult financial circumstances, Conservatives in government have lifted 3.2 million people out of paying income tax altogether. We have frozen national insurance contributions, scrapped the fuel duty escalator, and reinvigorated the 'Right to Buy'. In the next Parliament we have pledged to create 3 million new apprenticeships and to ensure that no one on the minimum wage is paying tax.

Simple, pragmatic solutions.

Blue collar Conservatism has the power to win elections and change lives and we neglect it at our peril. With a little over 24 hours until polling day, Conservatives everywhere have a duty to remind working class voters that we stand for a fair and just society.

I will be taking that message to the doorstep with me in Wales and I hope that you'll join me, wherever you are.