Everyone knows David Cameron’s a posho: Eton, Oxford, Bullingdon, worth c. £40 million. His wife’s an even more spectacular blue-blood: papa owns a chunk of Yorkshire and sports an hereditary title: Sir Reginald Adrian Berkeley Sheffield, 8th Baronet, three times a descendant of King Charles II. So SamCam’s genuine posh totty, perfectly mated to Dave.
Everyone knows too about the low level, periodically vicious, civil war in the Tory party going back to Thatcher and beyond, between the ‘blue bloods’ and the ‘chaps who had to buy their own furniture.’
Norman Tebbit still finely represents the latter: lower middle class, suburban, unsentimental, keen on market forces, no time for scroungers whether they’re proles or Bertie Wooster.
In Paradise Postponed by John Mortimer the anti-hero, Leslie Titmuss, says the following when seeking adoption as a Conservative parliamentary candidate
I grew up to understand the value of money because it took my father five years to save up for our first second-hand Ford Prefect. Every night he finishes his tea and says to my mother, ‘Very tasty dear, that was very tasty.’ He always says the same thing. He falls asleep in front of the fire at exactly half past nine and at ten-thirty he wakes up with a start and says, ‘I’ll lock up, dear. Time for Bedfordshire!’ Always the same. Every night… You can forget the county families and the city gents and the riverside communities. They’ll vote for you anyway. What you need to win is my people. The people who know the value of money because they’ve never had it. The people who say the same thing every night because it makes them feel safe. The people who’ve worked hard and don’t want to see scroungers rewarded or laziness paying off. Put it this way, ladies and gentlemen. You need the voters I can bring you.
The LibCon coalition is dominated by poshos and their underlings. Clegg and Cameron are perfectly matched and even the Orange Book Liberals are managing to keep their mouths shut about Adam Smith. True, there’s some moaning from the Tory lower-middles – Norman Tebbit’s blog is worth watching – but the honeymoon’s set to continue for a while. Leslie Titmuss is there, on the back benches, deciding which battle to fight, watching approvingly as John Redwood provides some initial leadership, but he’s still finding his feet.
Leslie Titmuss won’t be quiet forever. He’s naturally an authoritarian bully who wants to do something nasty to someone: strikers, scroungers, blacks, foreigners, single mothers, gays. Cameron will need to throw him a bone. Iain Duncan Smith may be the chap (who had to buy his own furniture) to do it.