Wednesday, October 19, 2011

UK: Why the Old Etonian Cameron doesn't understand the middle classes

David Cameron & Boris Johnson in their Bullingdon club days

Nadine Dorries’s curriculum vitae is everything David Cameron says he wants to encourage in the ‘modern, compassionate Conservative Party’. The Tory MP for Mid- Bedfordshire was for many years a nurse in the NHS; she is a Liverpudlian, comprehensive-educated and grew up on a council estate. Perhaps that is part of the reason why so many were offended on her behalf when, in the House of Commons, David Cameron described her as ‘frustrated’ — and then sat down, giggling, amid gales of laughter from other male MP's.

Though the charge against Cameron was one of condescension to a woman (for which he later apologised), others on the Conservative benches interpreted it somewhat differently: one described it as ‘the worst of the Bullingdon (Club)’.

This remark encapsulated what a dangerously large number of Tory backbenchers feel: that their leader is still at heart the Old Etonian upper-class bon vivant, utterly disconnected from the concerns of the working families that they as a party should represent.

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