Archive for December, 2005
Mr Cameron says that he wants the Tories to “becom[e] a Party which is more like modern Britain, and which likes modern Britain more…”, and I wonder how he’s doing on this score.
A survey of 500 delegates to the Conservative Party conference in 1983 found that a quarter thought that the “best” British society would be exclusively white, and that 14% favoured compulsory repatriation schemes. In 1991 a poll of 2,466 randomly selected Party members found that 70% “agreed” or “strongly agreed” with the statement that “A future Conservative government should encourage repatriation of immigrants”. That generation of Tory members is dying off: the 1991 poll found that the median age of Party members was 63, the average age of a new member was 54, and that fewer that 5% of the members were under 35 — and the authors of that poll estimated that 40% of the membership then would be dead by 2001.
But what’s the state of play like these days, on the cusp of the Cameron Transformation? Has any good data been collected on political attitudes inside the Conservative Party since 1991? To what extent is Cameron pushing at an open door — because these old bigots are now dead or retired from active involvement in Tory affairs — and to what extent has this kind of bigotry managed to reproduce itself within the Tory party down to the present? I wish I knew the answers to questions like these, but I don’t have a clue. Anyone?
PooterGeek‘s pointed out that Mr Blair’s new year message to the world / Labour Party [delete as applicable] is returning to his roots in Politics Without Verbs. I’ll only add that Mr Cameron is appropriating that annoying line of Gandhi’s about how “we must be the change we want to see in the world”, a line that the social democrats over at Compass have been using repeatedly over the last couple of years (and is the thing about them I like least). Still, after Blair borrowed Michael Howard’s leadership slogan (“Forward not Back”) for his general election campaign, I suppose the Tories were allowed to borrow one back.
Karl Renner, Austrian socialist politician; born 14 December 1870, died 31 December 1950.
Don’t approve of honours, etc., but I was pleased to see this one:
MBE: David Anthony James ENDACOTT: Chair, Oxfordshire Bat Group. For services to the Conservation of Bats.
Anyone see the Charles-Camilla biopic last night? Was it any good? I’m assuming the answer is, “No, it wasn’t”, but since these things occasionally reach great heights of excellence, I thought it worth checking. (Though I forget whether it’s the film of Diana: Her True Story or of Princess in Love which is the real classic – the one where Prince Harry’s clearly American, etc. Probably the former. Yes, I think it must be.)
For reasons I don’t fully understand, it’s become a bit of a Britain-in-the-late-eighteenth-century Christmas: I’ve been motoring through William Hague’s life of William Pitt the Younger, L. G. Mitchell’s of Charles James Fox and the first few chapters of Gareth Stedman Jones’s An End to Poverty? (which is very, very good) — and quite by chance the other evening I flipped on the telly, caught the start of The Madness of King George, and watched through to the end. As I say, I’m not quite sure what’s brought on this little British 1780s/90s moment, but if anyone wants to make additional recommendations in the comments, they might even be taken up while I’ve still got a bit of momentum going.