Tory Modernisation (Part 5)

Vote Blue Go Green

This is a Conservative Party leader in action man gear, commanding a pack of wolves against the dramatic scenery of Norway. As photo-ops go it puts William Hague’s ride on a log-flume wearing a baseball cap to shame. Cameron’s Norway visit showed a man on a mission, a mission to save those white and pure lands from man’s insatiable greed.

Rather like cycling to work on a bike, buying food from an organic market, or sticking a windmill on your house , all three of which Cameron has done, the Norway photo links Cameron and the Conservatives to the lucrative green vote.

Now, precisely what the green vote is requires some explanation. It is not about climate change, or green taxes, or anything as scientifically dubious or as punitive as that. It is about the middle classes’ sensitivity to commercialisation, pollution, and their own guilt. Politicians who sympathise with this get their votes.

In Cameron’s ‘Vote Blue Go Green’ is an appeal to all those aspirant classes who want to live a purer life; a life where they visit the farm once a week to buy their groceries (or failing that the organic section at Sainsbury’s); a life where they allow their chubby kids to stuff their faces with chocolate because it’s fair-trade, and where they recycle the empty wine bottles from last night’s dinner party with Deb and Steve from Finance who own a ‘4 by 4’ with a bike rack attached. It is a life that exists in a world of more trees and less greed.

Cameron is one of the first politicians to pick-up on this desire to live a purer lifestyle. To these puritan aspirants, David Cameron must offer himself as the organic antithesis to their material indulgencies. The figures suggest he’s almost there. On ‘Global warming and the environment’ YouGov put the Conservatives on 9% in May 2005 compared to 17% today, only two points below the government. On ‘the natural environment’ Mori put the party on 9% in May 2005, compared to 11% in August 2006 (surpassing Labour by 3 points).

Tomorrow: The Cameron Factor

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