For hundreds of years, vampires have been regarded as safe Tory voters, but in 2017, for the first time ever, more voted for Labour than the Conservatives. Why?
Vampires. Rich. Aristocratic. Extremely traditional. Only a generation ago they were the safest of safe voters for the Conservative Party. Now, fewer than one in three admit to Conservative sympathies. I toured the country, speaking to vampires in marginal constituencies, to find out what has changed.
“I remember being hunted in the ’80s during the AIDS crisis,” says Andre Duvillier, who manages an antiques shop in Kensington. “Back then feeding in Crypts was illegal, and the police would come in with night stakes to beat us up. We’d fly out as bats whenever they attacked. I saw a lot of broken wings.”
Andre sighs and runs a thin hand through his soft grey hair. The cobwebs around the shelves used to be for effect, but he doesn’t need to add artificial dust to his grandfather clocks these days.
“People don’t want paintings that bleed any more. They don’t want chandeliers that whisper ‘get out’ just as you’re falling asleep. They want iPhones and Nintendo Switches, and they buy them online. I’m two hundred and seven years old, I’m not going to change now.”
Unlike most vampires, Andre voted for Brexit. “The EU has changed. It used to be there to unify humanity under a global superstate. It used to be about power and control. Now it’s just a glorified trade organisation.”
Madeline Le Compte De Sade, a secretary at St Wulfram’s Mausoleum in Stockton South voted Conservative in 2015, but says she won’t next time.
“I thought Cameron were evil, that’s why I voted for him,” she says. “Gay marriage is right there in book of Satan. And Universal Benefit. On face of it, Universal Benefit appears good but actually leads to thousands of premature deaths. Sneaky. I like that.”
She locks eyes, and I cannot look away. Her gaze is bright, almost luminescent.
“I actually find Jeremy Corbyn attractive, in a strange sort of way. There’s something hypnotic about him. Almost as if he’s a vampire himself!”
Brexit, like Trump, was a shock to many commentators, but several prominent vampires made grim predictions beforehand.
“I remember speaking to Obama in May 2016,” says Juliette Washington, senior political correspondent for the New York Times, an African American, and a vampire. “He said Trump couldn’t possibly happen. I said that he definitely would and I had seen the coming nuclear war in a dream. Obama has always been an optimist.
“You learn some things if you’re not just an African American but a vampire too. You learn that you’re not safe walking the streets during either the day or the night. You learn that you might survive a police shooting, but a brother will still stake you in the heart.”
This fear of being impaled with a stake is a common theme among vampires. There is also much talk of intersectionality.
“A multitude of factors tend to cluster with vampirism,” says Estheban Surnáme, professor of ethnography at the London School of Arcane Sciences. “Vampires have high rates of depression, rage disorders, eating disorders, seasonal affective disorder and suicidal tendencies. Whilst vampirism is associated with extreme social motility and emotional intelligence, vampires suffer from social exclusion to a higher degree than non-vampires. Most vampires are LGBTQ+, and our studies show that even within this community, they are routinely ostracised, and described with words such as ‘terrifying’, ‘predatory’, ‘evil’, and so on.
“Despite historically high rates of inherited and earned wealth, vampires report the second highest levels of social isolation of all groups in our study. It is this isolation, believed to be the consequence of increasingly open anti-vampire racism, that has driven vampires’ recent shift from traditionally conservative parties to liberal or socialist parties over the past 20 years.
“A smaller factor is the de-intellectualisation of the right. More than 90% of vampires are university educated. Vampire culture puts a premium on displays of intelligence. Brexit highlighted a change that was already under way.”
Margaux Martinez, who runs a start-up in London’s tech roundabout, agrees. “We deliver blood bags to tired company directors. [‘Blood bags’ is an industry term for graduates who have not yet completed their accountancy qualifications.] They all see it too. The conservative media go on and on about the ‘intellectual elite’. They mean vampires.”
I ask Carolina about Brexit. “Vampires are extremely socially liberal. It’s hard for such an international community as ours to understand these arguments about national sovereignty. We regard all humans as equally edible.”
Later, I receive an email from Madeline Le Compte De Sade. She’s having a tasting party with her vampire friends at Gilling Castle. They’re drinking wines, sherries and ‘some special secret nectar of other sorts’.
I ask if she plans to kill me and drink my blood.
“You got me :P,” she writes. My stomach becomes heavy and I can feel myself frowning. I like to think of myself as a good progressive, but I still turn down a traditional vampiric ritual meal.