Conservatives - Here and There

June 17, 2008
Posted by Jay Livingston

Conservative positions in the UK and in the US don’t always coincide. US conservatives, espeically in the Bush era, are much more comfortable with the concentration of power in a strong executive. I got a hint of these differences three summers ago when we rented a flat in London for a few days. Our hostess, a woman in her sixties, picked us up at the Victoria Station and gave us a tour of London. She had been a tour guide in her day, and in addition to the usual information, she added she sometimes added her own editorial commentary.

“There’s no more Brits in London,” she said, pointing to the darker people on the sidewalks. She also had little use the “queers” that had invaded her Vauxhall neighborhood. Surely here was a Conservative, part of the electorate that kept Margaret Thatcher and the Tories in power through the 1980s – the British counterparts of Ronald Reagan’s constituency.

Yet as we passed the Houses of Parliament, she pointed out the window at a statue. “That’s Oliver Cromwell. The only dictator England’s ever had,” she paused for only a second, “except for Maggie Thatcher.”

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