Why do Tories support the GOP?

AN INTERESTING comment by a Tory supporter over at Iain Dale a few days ago gave me pause for thought. He (I assume it was a “he”) asked why there was a presumption among Tories that they would support the Republican Party at this year’s US elections.

Most people I know who are interested in UK politics are also fascinated by the US variety (as am I). And it’s become an accepted tradition that British Tories support the Republicans and Labour supporters root for the Democrats.

Why is this? I remember as a student one of my lecturers explaining the difference between British and US politics: he said the Democrats were at about the same point in the Left-Right spectrum as the Heath government, whereas Republicans were just to the right of Norman Tebbit.

So I find it fascinating that Tories – even progressive, liberal Cameroons like Iain Dale – continue to use the most complimentary language to describe Sarah Palin (“kickass”, Iain? Really?), while this ascerbic post pretty much says all that needs to be said about his view of every – even the most moderate and sensible – Democrat.

Do modern Tories – sorry, I meant to say “David Cameron’s Conservatives” – whole-heartedly support every Republican candidate, regardless of his/her views on abortion, gay rights or gun control?

Similarly, does every Labour supporter always, on every occasion, oppose a Republican victory? I know of at least one Labour colleague in the Commons, known to be a stalwart of the Left of the party – who, on meeting Senator McCain a few years back was greatly impressed by him.

And one of my closest friends in the party (not an MP) was so committed to Hillary that he vowed to support Gulliani (who seemed a realistic prospect at the time) rather than Obama. I didn’t have the heart to tell that he didn’t have a vote.


Filed under Blogging, Conservative Party, David Cameron, Labour, Politics, United States

13 responses to “Why do Tories support the GOP?

  1. Johnny Norfolk

    I would support the rebublicans without a doubt. The democrats are just another head in the clouds leftie organisation the would do for the U.S .what Labour have done for us.

  2. Now then Mr H – we dismissed all this simplistic left/right labelling malarkey yesterday didn’t we?

    That being said I suspect that a majority of Conservative party members would be quite happy to be thought to be “to the right of Norman Tebbit” in spite of having to appear to be “modern Tories” in public. Similarly there are still many members of our party who cling, whatever the evidence, to such curious beliefs as Tony Benn being a new Messiah and Arthur Scargill a working-class hero.

    Most Tory members (but certainly not all their voters) would probably love to have a real GOP over here. And Labourites settle for the Dems mainly on the basis that they’re not the Republicans and not in power often enough to be too disappointing (in the latter respect alone, a bit like Old Labour)…

  3. Chris

    With the hilariously bonkers names she’s given her kids (Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow and Piper) it is tempting to support the Republicans just for the comedy value. But then we thought that when the Americans elected George W Bush!

    I am looking forward to my trip to the US to campaign for Obama. He reminds me of Tony Blair circa 1997. Brilliant!

  4. Tom,

    I’d suggest that the Tories (in terms of economics) are closer to the Republicans than Labour are to the Democrats. Both American parties are much further to the (economic) right than their alleged British counterparts.

    I don’t think that there is a direct correlation. Indeed, hasn’t Boris Johnson stated he supports Barack Obama?

    Also – the colours are round the wrong way…

  5. Madasafish

    Personally I don’t care.

    I cannot inluence it in any way, it’s too far away to get involved in detail and both parties have policies I dislike and like.

  6. John Taylor

    As a Tory (long-time) I have always felt deep, deep pain when ever I see the Republicans strut their stuff. Even at a basic, ideological level I struggle to feel any connection. Yet, at that same basic level I don’t much care for the Democratics. Perhaps the difference between our respective national psyche takes precedence over political beliefs. I’ve always felt it was more of a question of “my friend being the enemy of my enemy”.

  7. rjm

    good point, I’m a Tory but why my party back this group of backward, war-hungry, gun toting homophobes is beyond me… In fact the line Dale and ConservativeHome is taking is really pissing me off

  8. One thing I should have said before – both Dems and Reps are what would be termed “catch-all parties” – even more so than Tony Blair tried to do with Labour in 1997. In the UK, they’d be at least 4 different parties inside each larger umbrella.

    There are liberal Republicans just as there are conservative Democrats. There is no real crossover from there to here. But it is interesting nonetheless.

  9. Tom, I have consistently said that I have yet to decide which ticket to support. I have real issues with the Republican Party and for the first time in my adult life could conceivably support the Democrats. Obama has impressed me in many ways, but I am still unsure as to what he would actually do.

    I have written supportive posts about Palin (as did you, I believe!) because I think her the treatment of her has been sexist and despicable. Views have been ascribed to her on a number of moral issues which she just does not hold.

    The fact that left wing women are deriding her for abandoning her five children says it all.

    She also has more executive experience than Obama, Biden and McCain put together.

    That said, I have still to get off the fence, but her performance last night made me more likely to support the McCain/Palin ticket, I must admit.

  10. Andrew F

    Good grief. Iain Dale would allow one speech by a VP candidate to sway his support. This, despite the fact that Obama and McCain are miles part on a whole line up of vital issues, like foreign policy and abortion and healthcare. You know, things that matter.

    I just don’t get how a choice between two men who are so dissimilar on so many things can come down to petty matters of personality. Personal politics is for the primary season: now that we’re at the business end, people should do a simple piece of ideological analysis and figure out where they stand on the spectrum.

    It’s like the pseuso-feminist Clinton supporters who can’t get over their bitterness long enough to vote for Obama. So, what are they going to do? Vote for a pro-life candidate just because they’re pissed off? Even though they’ve campaigned for abortion rights their entire lives?

    People need to get a grip! This is an election for the most powerful office on the planet, not the bloody school council.

  11. Half the Story Told


    I think it was me who said that, and I stand by it.

    On the “button” issues, I am against the GOP:

    1) abortion
    2) foreign policy
    3) guns
    4) gays
    5) health care
    6) social security
    7) even tax cuts they are biased toward business and not for the individual
    8) climate change
    9) free trade
    10) kyoto
    11) Iraq

    And so on, these are simply wrong, this is just 1 minute of thinking why they make me sick.

    Where Obama and the dems are more in line with my views on all of these areas.

    Then why am I a Conservative. I am a social liberal, and economically I would want lower taxes, the West Lothian question fixed, a fairer deal for London in terms of take vs give.

    You could also say I am pro NHS, against Union over emplowerment, was against the Iraq war, against 42 days, do not like excessive Gov control, though think Local councils are worse often.

    I am in favour of stronger and better controlled immigration, and think a points system would work well, would all more immigrants to work and faster and think immigrantion has benefitted this country massively.

    No everyone fits the stereotypes of the two parties, and perhaps if the liberals had a party of any value then they could get my vote.

    On and on Europe, I am for, how can you be gainst a continent, but the EU is a piece of rubbish and we shoudl either (a) withdraw or (b) renegotiate as the CAP is awful.


    Half the Story Told

  12. I’m not that sure that Dems really are right of Labour, though they certainly used to be. Dems have set a clear leftward direction of travel for the US. Not sure Labour have or would ever be willing to, given the fear of ‘THE LEFT’ and all their ‘LURCH’ing.

    Take Obama on progressive taxation, windfall taxes, green issues etc. etc. etc. Left of us, for sure.

  13. “I think her the treatment of her has been sexist and despicable” – Iain Dale

    So, Iain, when you take the trouble to mention that a journalist is female in this post of yours, you’re not suggesting that she’s in any way especially weak or vulnerable just because she’s a woman?

    Just checking.

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