Thursday, April 05, 2007
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.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 6:44 am