‘Snub’ Exposes U.S.-U.K. Right Rift

June 13th, 2011 at 12:12 am | 3 Comments |

| Print

The Daily Telegraph reports:

Sarah Palin is definitely not the new Margaret Thatcher, recipe or at least not in the opinion of Maggie’s staff. When the Governor told reporters that she would like to meet the Prime Minister during her world tour next month, a Thatcher aide reportedly said, “Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.” American conservatives were outraged, European liberals were pleasantly surprised.

But why would the woman who forged perhaps the most important transatlantic political romance in modern history (when he died, Thatcher called Ronald Reagan “one of my closest political and dearest personal friends”) reject the advances of the most archetypal of contemporary American conservatives? We might presume that the aide was talking out of turn, that he had “gone rogue”. But the “nuts” jibe actually reflects a profound cultural difference between the British and American right. Beyond a dislike for taxes and deficits, the two have less and less in common as each year passes.

…So what divides the British and American right? According to David Cameron, it is the perception of cultural difference. “How shall I put this?” he wondered aloud in an interview. “We seem to have drifted apart… there is an element of American conservatism that is headed in a very culture war direction, which is just different.” Cameron’s Tories redefined themselves as a caring, cosmopolitan party by embracing causes like gay rights or environmentalism. The current UK Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change left his wife for his male interior decorator. It’s hard to imagine a Republican administration showing that degree of tolerance.

Recent Posts by Frum Forum Editors

3 Comments so far ↓

  • TJ Parker

    Oh puhleeze. If some lightweight M.P. had requested a meeting with Reagan in his latter years of Alzheimer’s dementia, what would the reaction have been? Palin using a poor stroke victim as a prop in a political photo shoot – that is and outrage and does deserve reprimand.

    That’s not to say that the rift is not there. But then, the G.O.P. is not entirely conservative: it is also a strong Christian Fascist wing.

  • TerryF98

    The Conservatives in the UK are just a little to the right of the Democrats here. The GOP and particularly the Tea party are now bordering on being Fascists.

    They are way right of the Brits and way right of the Conservatives of only 10 years ago. Can you imagine the GOP of Reagan actively bringing the country down for political benefit?

  • forgetn


    the problem that American conservative seem to misunderstand about the British Conservative party is that it is NOT socially conservative. So when some (lets say Governor of Texas) talks about a day of prayer for some “reason”, the Brits look at American conservative the same way they look at religious fanatics — they just don’t have any way to communicate. Moreover, since the conservative (UK version) are really financially conservative — lower spending and eventually lower taxes, they have a hard time understanding their american counterparts that only focus on lower taxes (all the fun none of the pain).