Alex Massie

If David Cameron were American, would he be a Republican?

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Tim Montgomerie has a nice way with understatement. His capsule-sized overview of the campaign to come, published by National Review Online, contains this passage:

Cameron will not be to the liking of every U.S. Republican, but he’s much closer to American conservatism than the ruling Labour Party or the third party, the Liberal Democrats. The Conservative leader promises to abolish inheritance tax for all but millionaires. He will recognise marriage in the tax system. He promises to vote for tighter abortion laws. His most radical policy is a policy of school choice that will end the monopoly of provision currently misused by local government. He also plans to produce transparent in government — publishing state contracts online so that taxpayers can see how their money is being used (or should that be “misused”?). He also pledges to introduce a U.S.-style system of elected police chiefs so Britain gets the kind of zero-tolerance policing that transformed New York City.



As I say, Tim's is but a short post and one should not freight it with more meaning than it can bear and, in the end, all it really demonstrates is how far the Republican party has moved from the days when it was led by Reagan and George HW Bush. That is, an American David Cameron who believes what the British David Cameron does wouldn't be a viable candidate in a major Republican primary except, perhaps, in California or some of the north-eastern states.

It may also be notable that Tim doesn't make any mention of foreign policy. That's not a surprise (or a criticism either) given how little a role foreign policy is going to play in this election. But it may also be - as we may in time see - that Cameron's foreign policy instincts, in as much as Britain can play a part, have more in common with Barack Obama's ideas than with much of the American conservative mainstream. And this in turn makes one wonder who it is that may be out of the mainstream*...

*The people in the mainstream may, of course, be wrong.

UPDATE: Working Class Tory makes a good point: on matters such as trade Cameron would certainly be a Republican, not a Democrat.

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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