Alex Massie

Cameron’s Tories and the GOP

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Via Andrew, I see that Gideon Rachman writes:

Like many youngish politicians, Mr Cameron would dearly love to embrace President Barack Obama and to drink deeply from his aura – if such a thing is possible. But the Tory leader has to pretend that the US politicians he is closest too are the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.

This is a pretense that is increasingly painful.

[...] From guns to God to taxes to climate change, the Tories and the Republicans are really no longer on the same political planet. This problem would become far more acute if a Tory victory in Britain next month was followed by a sweeping Republican victory in the mid-term congressional elections in November. Who exactly would a Prime Minister Cameron side with when political war broke out on the other side of the Atlantic? His political allies in Congress or his political hero in the White House?

This is related to what I was writing about the other day. Now, to repeat, I think Cameron would be a conservative were he American. But a disillusioned, troubled Republican. Does he even pretend to have anything much in common with the Party of Newt and Palin? No, not really. Neither they nor Romney have been invited to speak to the Tory party conference and nor will they be. No, the Republicans Cameron invites to speak to the Tories are Schwarzenegger and John McCain. Even then it's the 2000 vintage of McCain the Tories have in mind, not his current incarnation.

(Admittedly, there are a good number of grass-roots Tories and a good deal of the conservative commentariat that would like Dave to be more like the GOP. On the other hand, he'd quite like to win the election.)

It's neither a surprise nor a coincidence that Anita Dunn is advising the Tories this month. Nor can one imagine that she didn't check with the White House before taking on a gig that, I suspect, has infuriated some of the GOP consultants who might have considered this lucrative contract their territory. But it also means that Cameron, if he wins, already has a channel to the Obama White House that is based on more than just his new position as Prime Minister.

Rachman also argues that Cameron, thanks to his party's horror of europe, will be cut-off from mainstream european conservatism too. Perhaps and if anything is likely to cripple a Cameronian ministry europe must be considered the most likely subject. Still, if the Tories are isolated then, hell, that's a grand old Tory view ain't it: Continent Cut Off, America Too.

For that matter the question of Cameron having to choose between the White House and Republicans in Congress is, as they say, a no-brainer. He chooses, in as much as he has such a luxury, the White House.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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