Events this week speak volumes about the state of conservatism in Britain and America.
On one side of the Atlantic, the British Conservative Party is now in bed with the lefty Liberal Democrats, its leader gushing about the dawn of a new politics (see video below). On the other side, the Tea Party has ousted the evidently not-conservative-enough Utah Senator Bob Bennett.
The days of Maggie and Ron, natural Atlantic allies on the right, are long gone it seems. Who thinks Obama and Cameron will get on swimmingly? I certainly do. Further evidence that the British Conservatives now equal Democrats, or, if you prefer, that the Democrats are Conservatives. Interesting times.
This is not to say that all Conservatives are happy with the LibCon coalition, but in Team Tory, the backbenchers do not now drive the party. There is also the non-influence of a public that is largely apathetic, reasonably progressive, and not at all animated by “moral” issues or controversies such as healthcare. Cameron has seized power — and lurched left — the only way he could and there’s very little desire to stop him.
In the US, things seem to work the other way. Driven by a vocal and rich mob of Glenn Beck groupies that the Republican Party leadership seems powerless to stop, US conservatism is trending right (sometimes bizarrely so) at the same time the Tories are claiming the centre. Cameron’s strategy has delivered him government. Can the same be said for US Republicanism?