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.