Eilis O'Hanlon: Time to reclaim Tory mantle and help our aspiration nation
In the current political flux there is a place for a centre right party that would represent Irish go-getters, writes Eilis O'Hanlon
The word Tory comes from the old Irish for outlaw -- and that's pretty much how the modern Conservative Party is seen these days in Ireland. Just as the country seems to instinctively prefer Democrat presidents over Republican ones, so we tend to feel a greater affinity with the British Labour Party over its blue counterparts. Which is odd, and not only because the electorate's experience with our own Labour Party has been so repeatedly disappointing. It's equally bizarre because, whatever the popular caricature of Tories on this side of the Irish Sea as heartless toffs, most of what they actually stand for would be accepted uncontestably by a broad swathe of Irish voters. David Cameron offered a reminder of it last week in a speech to his party conference in Birmingham.
The speech may not have pleased the politically correct BBC-stroke-Guardian crowd, but from this side of the water, Cameron's words felt like a refreshing draught of cold water on a hot day in recessionary Hell. "We get behind people who want to get on in life," went the crucial part. "The doers. The risk-takers. The young people who dream of their first pay-cheque, their first car, their first home -- and are ready and willing to work hard to get those things. While the intellectuals of other parties sneer at people who want to get on in life, we here salute you. They call us the party of the better-off -- no, we are the party of the want to be better-off, those who strive to make a better life for themselves and their families -- and we should never, ever be ashamed of saying so."