It is a strange world in which allegedly conservative politicians will go to great lengths to demonstrate their politically correct bona fides. For years, we have witnessed this tendency within the Republican Party. A recent example is the new Republican Party website (www.gop.com), which one might confuse for the websites of the NAACP or La Raza. It features a “Republican heroes” theme, filled with photos and bios of Republican luminaries, household names like José Celso Barbosa and Pinckney Pinchback. There is also a “Republican faces” page, which shows photos of various demographics one might have expected to vote (and who, the data confirm, did vote) for Barack Obama in the last election.
Credit must be given, however, to the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party for upping the ante. Not only do Tories want to present a false image, but they have decided to take it a step further and actually purge—drum roll—Englishmen from the party. That’s right. The Daily Mail (February 19) has brought to light a confidential party memo in which David Cameron outlines a new plan for the party, a six-page document that “proposes the use of subterfuge to end the white, male and middle-class image of the Conservative Party.” The plan is to wrest from localities the power to select their own candidates so that Cameron and his inner circle can choose more acceptable ones for them. And, of course, all of this should be done in secret.
The document recommends the use of “stealth” and keeping “quiet” to ensure more women, ethnic, and homosexual candidates within the party: “Like a conjuror, we’ll get more applause if the audience cannot see exactly how the trick is performed.” It should appear natural, since “[t]he more that the profusion of women, black, Asian or gay candidates appears to be the result of spontaneous open-mindedness on the part of grassroot activists the greater will be the accolades.”
The real threat to Cameron’s machinations is the possible backlash from white males, the backbone of the party, which is why the document suggests that “the handling of white males should be done with sensitivity.” In other words, don’t let white males participate in the party their ancestors built, but be dishonestly polite to keep them as water-carriers and voters.
It seems that such an exercise in unpatriotic deception would be doomed from the start. In fact, even before the leaking of this memo, many English conservatives have flocked to other parties, such as the British National Party or the U.K. Independence Party. But current Tory leadership has a backup plan: Intimidate people into staying in the party. Tory activists have started a website entitled Nothing British, which smears discontented right-wingers in the United Kingdom as being “anti-British.” Likewise, David Cameron is a signatory to the Unite Against Fascism campaign, which has the “aim of alerting British society to the rising threat of the extreme right.” For “extreme right,” read “anyone who sees through the conjurer’s tricks.” And the number of disillusioned has been growing for some time.
English writer Derek Turner, editor of The Quarterly Review and contributor to Chronicles, wrote in a recent e-mail exchange: “David Cameron has ignored ‘the national question’ for so long that many instinctive Tories are probably going to vote UKIP or BNP anyway.” The news of this cynical memo, he notes, “will almost certainly turn some Conservative voters toward the BNP, which could have the effect of making the Tories do much less well than expected in some marginal seats.” Looking to the future, Turner believes that “Cameron is playing a dangerous game—it is no longer true that disgruntled Conservatives have nowhere else to go.”
Like John McCain’s brilliant “Hispanic vote” strategy in the last U.S. presidential election, Cameron’s diversity drive may well push his party into a banal insignificance.