Stephen Glover

The Cameronians are wrong if they think they have humbled the Daily Mail

The Cameronians are wrong if they think they have humbled the Daily Mail

North Oxford is not one of the most deprived areas of Great Britain. When its generally quite large houses come on to the market — which is not often — they tend to be snapped up by computer millionaires or bankers from London rather than by dons. The ‘Tory turncoat’ Shaun Woodward has just paid squillions for a not particularly beautiful neo-gothic semi-detached just around the corner from me. You might expect that this would be solid Tory territory, but it is not. In fact, being a Tory in North Oxford has not been entirely plain sailing these past few years. At election time Lib Dem and Green and a few Labour boards stretch as far as the eye can see, but you have to go north of Summertown, and root around among the more modest inter-war villas, to find a Tory one.

And yet the women waiting to collect their offspring outside the Dragon School in Bardwell Road think that David Cameron is a nice-looking boy. The matrons of North Oxford, who once voted for the brilliant Tory Monty Woodward as their MP, and later for John Patten, are for the first time in 20 years looking at a Conservative with something approaching fondness. There may be an element of local pride — Mr Cameron holds the neighbouring seat of Witney — but there is more to it than that. Mr Cameron is the sort of Tory that used to exist in droves. He is nice. He is liberal. He is well-bred. One can imagine him coming round for tea.

After long years of pitying glances, it is almost socially acceptable to be a Tory in North Oxford; yet even on the verge of final acceptance I find I am thwarted.

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