Friday, 9 October 2015

Cameron's Conference Speech and The Tory Bubble

Nothing could better exemplify the narrowness of the prevailing politics than the Conservative conference. From a podium encased in miles of security fencing and police protection, the Tories basked in the glory bestowed upon them by barely a quarter of the electorate.

Here the public was treated to the ugly spectacle of a red-faced, wound-up Old Etonian hoarsely berating his enemies for being "terrorist-lovers" and "Britain-haters." This had all the elegance of a 2003 George Bush stump speech. 

If Cameron is not exactly scared of facing Corbyn, nor is he in any way chuffed. Rather he seems genuinely, passionately offended. It is almost impressive to watch because, while the party is screaming "centrism", a few ruffled feathers have sent the leader into a chest-beating froth. Cameron is supposed to be the slick Teflon coated future of the Tory party, yet his seething disdain for the popular-democratic challenge to his authority is all too apparent. Corbyn's affront to patrician good taste has brought out that buried but very much active strain of pure reactionary DNA in him.

Characteristic of the conference was the utter refusal to acknowledge the furious world massing outside. The left is often accused of inhabiting a hermetically sealed environment of self-righteousness. In the Tory case this quite literally true. Their conference was precisely this. Not long before Cameron addressed his scrubbed, dashingly clobbered delegates, tens of thousands marched outside in protest. Perhaps ten thousand joined Jeremy Corbyn and other community leaders at a rally at the Manchester cathedral. If only they had conjured an exorcism of this nasty, plastic menace.

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