Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yet Another Myth Dispelled ... UK Makes a Right-Face Turn

I know assorted Progressives in the US view Europe as, collectively, more sophisticated and socially liberal than the US. In many ways, this is true, but only for some countries. I also know that, presented with the fact that the vast majority of countries in Western Europe now have governments which can only be described as Centre-Right, these selfsame people will piously declare that conservatives in Europe are to the Left of the Democratic Party in the US.

And that's not entirely true.

Take Britain, for example.

Loads of people made mincemeat of the fact that that nice, pudding-faced David Cameron seemed to have more liberal ideas than our own President, but that couldn'b be further from the truth.

There's a Conservative MP who's chomping at the bit to get a law enacted to enforce abstinancy being taught as part of sex education in schools, and David Cameron, himself, is an advocate of faith schools and home-schooling.

That, alone, would ensure that the US Republican party welcoming him with open arms. Just a thought, but the Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, was an anchor baby, born in New York City. If the Republican National Convention evolves into a brokered affair, perhaps things should be put in motion to issue Boris (who's part-Turkish, by the way) with a US passport to enhable him to be drafted by the Republicans. Apart from holding dear all the same principles espoused by Cameron, Boris can add a few choice racist comments to his credits, especially referring to black children as "pickanninies" and calling for London's schools to be "culturally cleansed."

But, despite the fact that the fabled middle class in Britain are set to be squeezed to the pips until at least 2020, with most people's wages being frozen, despite the fact that the UK is bleeding jobs, despite the fact that food banks are opening every day and that Cameron and his cronies are revamping the single-payer National Health System into a competitive market force with a lot of help from Bill Frist's Humana empire, David Cameron and the Conservative Party are soaring in the polls.

Listen ... this is despite all the austerity measures, all the benefits cuts, all the rising unemployment, everything.

The Conservatives have forged a five-point lead over Labour, according to the latest Guardian/ICM poll, suggesting David Cameron would stand on the verge of an outright majority if an election were held now.

The Tories are on 40%, up three percentage points from December, while Labour has drifted down one to 35%. The Liberal Democrats are on 16%, up one.

The Tories' standing is their highest since before the general election in the Guardian/ICM series – they last stood at 40% in March 2010. Their lead is the biggest since the eight-point edge they enjoyed in June 2010, a few weeks after Cameron moved into Downing Street.

The result will add to the pressure on Ed Miliband, who has endured a difficult few weeks amid whispering about his performance and rows with union leaders over his attempt to harden his party's line on the deficit. Len McCluskey, the general secretary of Unite, attacked Miliband after the Labour leader and Ed Balls backed the public sector pay freeze and signalled they could not currently promise to reverse any of the coalition's spending cuts.

Read the last paragraph again. Miliband and Balls are the equally entitled, privately-educated leaders of the Labour party, who actually opposed the unions and publically stated that they wouldn't really reverse any of Cameron's policies, if elected. (Of course, Cameron's popularity isn't hindered by the fact that Miligand talks like a geek with a noseful of snot, or that his Miliband's older brother, David, the former Foreign Secretary, has just taken a cush lobbying job with a Class A city financial firm). So much for cloth-capped Labour.

Just like the US, British politics is geographical. The South and Southeast are famously conservative, whilst Labour generally polls better in the formerly industrial North; but the Midlands - "Middle England" - is the battleground, and it's there, the Conservatives are, surprisingly, strong.

The north-south divide is as pronounced as ever: the Tories lead by 12 points in the south, and Labour is five points up in the north. In the traditional electoral battleground of the Midlands, however, it is the Tories who are surging ahead – at 48%. Labour stands on 39%.

The Liberal Democrats, the truly Progressive party who form the junior partner of the current governing coalition, are nowhere. Nick Clegg will, inevitably, go down in British history, as the leader who destroyed his own party with his own ego.

One asks why the Conservatives, a party founded on the mean-spiritedness of Maggie Thatcher, is suddenly so popular. Thatcher's tactics are now written in stone in the Conservative Party manifesto, and they aren't any nicer, no matter how much Cameron might smile and play table tennis with schoolboys for the cameras.

It's simply that they've got the message right, and one also wonders if someone on their PR team hasn't been studying Frank Luntz. Keep it simple, stupid. The core British voter isn't much more intelligent than the American one. They don't like foreigners (and that means immigration), people perceived to be scrounging off the Government's tick (and that means poor people), and people basically "different" from the British.

Pander in the right way for the Right way, with a smile and some cute kids in tow, and the Brits are suckers just like their American cousins.

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