The Shy Tory phenomenon also confirms the existence of the thing we wrote about immediately after the election: Two Britains. Not two classes, in the way politics used to be organised. And not two parties: the old two-party system has withered. No, it’s now Two Britains, two countries, two planets almost, whose peoples think and believe quite different things. There is now a very striking divergence between the values of the cultural elite, which are aired constantly, in the political, media and public spheres, and the values of other people, larger numbers of people, shy people, who think differently to this singular new elite but feel they can only express those thoughts in one place: the private voting booth.
The new elite clearly lives in blissful ignorance of what this other Britain thinks and does. That was the take-home story of the incomprehension that greeted the election results. Twitter and the media were full of the most tortured questions: ‘WHO are these people who voted Tory?’, ‘WHY did they do it?’; ‘WHERE do they live??’ Really, the chattering classes had no idea These People existed. They mistook their domination of the political and cultural agenda for proof that all of Britain is behind them. They mistook ordinary people’s self-silencing, encouraged by the new intolerance of any kind of alternative thinking, for ‘One Britain’, a sign that we now all think the same thing. But we don’t.
So in essence, following this election, the new, supposedly liberal oligarchy stands exposed, temporarily at least. Both its profound removal from ordinary people, whose passions and views it cannot comprehend, and its presiding over a nation in which it has become normal to self-censor and hide one’s outlook, were revealed on 7 May and afterwards.
Conservative election strategist Lynton Crosby:
Mr Crosby said that Britain’s political class is dominated by “a bunch of people, most of whom live inside the M25 who could never live on the £26,000 that is the average annual earnings of people in this country”.
“It wasn’t just Ed Miliband’s Labour Party that revealed itself as out of touch and remote from the people who are the backbone of Britain. It was a failure for the Westminster-centric ‘Eddie the Expert’ and ‘Clarrie the Commentator’ who were tested and found wanting.
“It was as much a judgment day for them as Ed Miliband and they lost.”
He added: “Most went to Oxbridge, talk only to themselves, and last time they met a punter was when they picked up their dry cleaning.”
Can’t say I disagree with either.