David Cameron, leader of Britain's Conservative Party, has been profiled by Vanity Fair in an article that reveals the sharp differences between Cameron's consensus building agenda and the American right.
Pressed on the Sarah Palin phenomenon, Cameron responds; "It's hard for us to understand, if I can put it that way."
As one colleague of the MP reveals, Cameron is closer to a moderate Democrat than a hardline US Republican.
Indeed, Cameron is a different political beast to Palin. Despite a privileged upbringing (featuring Eton, Oxford and membership in a Skull And Bones-like secret society), Cameron has been using his slick, likable persona in the hopes of winning an election in a country still wracked with deep class divisions.
He takes broad positions on social divides to avoid confrontation. As Vanity Fair's Michael Wolff writes:
Cameron is for marriage--an anti-riffraff signal that pleases the right--but also for gay marriage, which pleases the left; he is sentimentally green, but opposed to over- regulation; he is for responsibility, which suggests an anti-government view but also means he's a champion of the poor.
Whether Cameron's tactics will work is another matter. Polls have revealed that the Conservative's once formidable lead over Gordon Brown's beleaguered Labour Party has been shrinking, with some expecting an extremely close 2010 election that may cripple British politics.
And while Cameron may have won middle class liberal voters, there remains an important, yet disenchanted fringe in British politics. These voters, some of whom flocked to the quasi-far right British National Party in last year's European Elections, may have more in common with the American right than Cameron is betting - as the recent birth of the British Tea Party movement can attest to.
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