Oh no, but she is a young woman!
Michael White has a piece in the Guardian today documenting the UKIP conference. His focus is upon a woman called Alexandra Louise who is the latest of many Tories to defect from the party over the subject of Europe.
Because of how young Louise is, 23, and of how typical the previous Tories are that have defected, such as Bloom and Helmer – all in their 60s like the vast majority of UKIP members, implied by White – the impression is that this will be the one to worry Cameron the most – basically because she doesn’t fit the stereotype.
As White notes those old men have been banging on about Europe for time immemorial, whereas the spritely doctoral student of 19th century radicalism and Herbert Spencer – might come in handy in her party (?) – will surely have some appeal.
David Cameron is seen by most in his party, right and left, as the face of compassionate Conservatism. He wasn’t the first, but this is how it has come about. His concerns are those of the Guardian reader, as Tim Montgomerie recently said.
His appeal to tolerance and diversity, as part of the course of a modern Conservative party, was matched only by 6% of Tory voters in 2010 voting for that reason, according to a YouGov poll studying the period.
The greatest dividing line between Labour and the Conservatives, on voting matters, was “traditional values” (41% voted Tory on this, compared to 19% for Labour), and while Cameron is undergoing a redress of what this means (including gay rights, among other things – typical metropolitan elite territory) it appears that he is not taking his core vote with him.
If you look at Michael White’s report of the UKIP conference – which is surprisingly fair on the party of cravats and homophobia – you can see it is all blame the Poles this and leave the EU and join the world that. If Cameron had ran on this ticket in the 2010 elections, judging by opinion poles, then he might have won a majority – which is a very depressing realisation for the left.
Instead Cameron wanted to be more Blair than Tony Blair was. But Blair was not a political design to emulate; people voted for Blair because he was Blair – a political chameleon and a snake oil salesman who could sell Stephen Hawkins a skateboard.
This is yet another example of where Cameron is losing his “toxic constituency”, and it is why I can foresee UKIP only getting more popular. For me this is depressing, because the Labour party have to nod their heads to this audience too.
Cameron’s political project, even with the departure of Steve Hilton, is a particular type of high Tory politics; non-populist and carefully paternalistic. But as more political options arise for the toxic wing of the Conservatives, so the party will suffer. Alexandra Louise is one example of this, but there are more.