Thursday, April 05, 2007

What is a Tory?

Commenting on my previous post, Clueless American asks: 'What are Tories?' Clueless knows his British history but does not see how the Tories of the past bear any relation to the creatures we now know as Tories. Well, Clueless, at the most basic level, 'Tory' is just a handy word to use instead of 'Conservative'. Journalists love finding ways of not saying the same thing twice, especially sports journalists. So, having said 'Wayne Rooney' once, they then feel the need to say something like 'the loveable Shrek-like tyke from Merseyside with consistency problems' the next time round. The problem with political nomenclature, however, is that only the Conservatives have a viable alternative. 'Socialist' used to be a satisfactory description of a Labour member until Tony Blair came along. Nobody knows what the Liberal Democrats are, so there's only the unsatisfactory LibDems for them. All of which is to say that 'Tory' in the contemporary vernacular usually means nothing more than 'member of the Conservative Party.' There remains a slight overtone of barely sane, under-medicated, cigar-smoking, clubland grandees deciding the fate of the nation over glasses of white port. But it is only slight.

9 comments:

  1. Every time I hear about Tories I just Whig out!

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  2. There is an isolated, desolate place off the north-west coast of Ireland called Tory Island. Rumour has it, that Blair did some soul-searching while on holiday there in the early nineties.

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  3. Clueless AmericanApril 05, 2007 1:34 pm

    Thank you; I now understand "Tory." Second question: Do Whigs still exist? And what are they nowadays? (LibDem?)

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  4. Whigs? No. In theory, they should be the LibDems, but, in reality, the link is just too tenuous. The Whigs are dead; love live.....er.

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  5. One assumes that someone's tongue was planted even more firmly in cheek when "barely sane" was used to modify "grandees deciding fate of the nation over glasses of white port." Surely, that was no more of a prerequisite (much less a disposition) in the past than it is now?

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  6. Who are the Fabians these days?

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  7. They do, Duck, and, trust me, don't touch it.

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  8. The word "Tory" is associated with "bloody Tories".
    Labour politicians and liberal commentators (ie BBC types) know this and use the word in preference to "Conservatives".

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