Conservatives under microscope of US media

The US media is turning a more critical eye to the British Conservative party. The New York Times focuses on the "posh" strand running through the Tories.

As the general election approaches, the American media is beginning to turn a more critical eye to the British Conservative party. The front page of the New York Times includes a story about the “posh” strand running through the Tories while top blog, Think Progress, says the Tories’ European policy would “only serve to make Britain less relevant to the United States”.

In the New York Times, Sarah Lyall pulls together a series of stories familiar to British readers about social background and the Tories including Sir Nicholas Winterton’s aversion to travelling first class, Mr Cameron’s schooling, and the double-barrelled surnames of a number of Tory candidates. Ms Lyall writes:

“In the eyes of many Britons, the Tories’ traditional social elitism is tied to another form of elitism — what they perceive as the callous policies of the haves toward the have-nots in the Thatcher era. That was when the Conservative government cut social spending and pursued an anti-Europe, anti-immigration, anti-union agenda.

“Mr. Cameron’s efforts to move past that, too, have been thrown off track by the financial crisis. Reacting to Britain’s deficit last fall by preaching fiscal austerity, the Tories found themselves once more in the position of grim spoilsports eager to cut government programs.”

On the Wonk Room section of Think Progress, the US sister site of this blog and the 4th most influential US political blog according to Wikio, Max Bergman has a policy-focused piece outlining how “David Cameron’s Euro-skepticism could spell doom for the ‘special relationship’.” He writes:

“A Cameron victory therefore will likely mean irrelevancy in Europe not just for the Tories but for the UK. Cameron’s decision to pull out of the conservative bloc, his efforts to block the Lisbon Treaty, and his calls for the UK to renegotiate its terms of membership in Europe, were all widely rebuked by European leaders. Should Cameron win and follow through on some of his promises it would essentially make the UK a fringe player in the 27-member European club.

“The problem for the United States, however, is that Cameron’s anti-European stance would only serve to make Britain less relevant to the United States. The fact is that the UK is just not as relevant to the United States if it is on the sidelines of Europe.”

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