Political parties of the centre-left, centre, and centre-right tend to at least sympathise with their counterparts in other countries. So Labour finds no problem allying with the German Social Democrats in the European Parliament (EP), along with the French Socialists, the Spanish PS, and its Portuguese equivalent. Likewise there are ties with the Democrats in the USA.
The Tories, despite Young Dave pulling his jolly good chaps out of the mainstream centre-right group in the EP, also have ties Stateside, in their case to the Republican Party. Also, Prime Ministers can work across these alliances, as Tone did with Dubya Bush, or not go along with them at times, as Harold Wilson did when he resisted Lyndon Johnson’s call to join the Vietnam misadventure.
But the ties between the Tories and the GOP are under strain, as the latter lurches to the right on key issues such as abortion, where the party position is now to outlaw the practice even in cases of rape. While the Tories have those who take a more pro-life stance, such as (yes, it’s her again) Nadine Dorries, even she does not argue in favour of an outright ban.
And even the Tory supporting Telegraph has joined the implicit disquiet, with Peter Foster featuring Braintree MP Brooks Newmark, who was born in the USA and campaigned for Dubya’s Dad. Newmark makes the point that he expects most Tories who take sides on the Presidential Poll to support Barack Obama. He cites health care reform and religion, in addition to abortion, as influencing this choice.
What the Tel does not mention is that the GOP also endorses a far more draconian stance on immigration, including walling off the Mexican border and a policy of “self deportation”. That’s a bit like what the National Front was advocating in 1960s Britain. And, as the man said, there’s more: Rep Michelle Bachman, who will be speaking at some convention events, has called homosexuality “part of Satan”.
The GOP has lost ground among women voters, unsurprisingly when proposals that affect them are devised by mainly Christian and invariably conservative men. Many women have said they are less likely to vote for Mitt Romney since he picked Paul Ryan – whose stance on abortion is no different to that of Todd Akin of “legitimate rape” notoriety – as his running mate.
Those in the wider UK Conservative Movement will doubtless support the GOP wholeheartedly. But the Tory Party is still a broad enough church for many of its members, those suggested by Brooks Newmark, to be turned off from identifying with their sister party and instead going with Obama, whom many Republicans still believe is a Muslim who was born in Kenya.
Such a split should send a message to the GOP. But I doubt anyone will listen.