Friday, 7 May 2010

Is the UK more Cameronian than Conservative?

Martin Kettle, writing for the Guardian, has ruled out a Lib-Lab pact:
even if they wanted to do a deal, Brown and Clegg are too weak in numbers and each too lacking in momentum to succeed in any such enterprise. This may seem perverse. After all, their two parties together are likely to have a clear majority of the popular vote. Yet each has floundered and propping up a loser is lethally dangerous politics. So while Brown is entitled to try to form a government, a weakened Clegg has immense difficulty going along with him. A Lab-Lib deal will have to wait.

So let's get used to it. The hung parliament presaged in last night's exit poll is overwhelmingly likely to produce a Conservative government, probably a minority administration ruling with Northern Irish consent.
He goes on to console his readers with speculation about the nature of the Conservative 'victory':
Be in no doubt that this is a huge personal victory for Cameron. But this is not a Conservative moment in the deeper political sense that Margaret Thatcher's 1979 win was. In time it may become one; but not yet. The result is too close. This remains a centrist country, more Cameronian than Conservative.
Gerald Warner is fond of deriding the Cameronian Party. I like to think that the Conservatives would have fared better in this election had they fought on Thatcherite principles, as suggested by Norman Tebbit, but perhaps that is just wishful thinking.

I'm not sure what percentage of the British public genuinely believe the politically-correct "centrist" line promoted by leftist intellectuals. I would guess that it is smaller than they would have us believe, but that it is on the increase. Whatever his true beliefs, Cameron's campaign was predicated on the fear that true conservatism is no longer saleable in the UK. In that sense, such success as he has enjoyed in this election can accurately be described as Cameronian (Tebbit would probably call it Ashcroftian).

The thing I found most disturbing about this election's results, though, was the continued Labour tribal voting. I know several intelligent and otherwise sensible people who cannot bring themselves to stop. What would it take for them to break their allegiance?

I suppose politics really is like religion: learned young, deeply engrained, and surprisingly easy to mentally compartmentalise.

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