Cameron: UKIP is made up of 'very odd people'
When Andrew Marr mentioned UKIP being full of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, David Cameron still wouldn't admit that he was wrong. He had a chance to make amends, but instead responded: "There are still some very odd people..."
Yes, that is undoubtedly true. Downright weird some of them.
But how normative is the political species in general? What is its social anthropology? Is David Cameron 'normal'? George Osborne? Boris Johnson? William Hague? Or are they all geeky obsessives and weirdos? Is the Prime Minister really telling us that the Conservative Party does not contain people whom the public might find just a little odd? Jacob Rees-Mogg? Nadine Dorries? Douglas Carswell? Does he forget that Neil and Christine Hamilton used to be Conservatives, along with Lord Pearson of Rannoch and many thousands of ordinary party members?
Do not the intellectual, moral and political traditions of all politicians converge to create a mental framework which is somewhat odd? Is not the entire political class something of a strange power-worshipping cult, obsessed with populism, believing in its own infallibility, tending towards totalitarianism, and quite detatched from reality?
The truth is that the bland, social-democratic milieu inhabited by the Prime Minister is hostile to anyone who believes anything particularly strongly, and averse to any group which expresses traditional conservative ideas. He doubtless finds Margaret Thatcher 'odd'. He finds UKIP 'odd' in the same way that he finds his party's own right flank odd: they present challenging ideas which need to be ruthlessly eliminated from his pre-ordained set menu of public debate.
UKIP is odd in the present political context because it embodies an ideology: Cameron is a servant of pragmatism. The Conservative right-wing is equally odd because their views tend to reflect those of the great majority of 'odd' party members, not to mention great swathes of the electorate. These views are not acceptable to the political class, and simply not understood by David Cameron.
We know what the Cameron mentality propagates about ordinary Conservative Party members: they are the ‘Turnip Taliban’, 'dinosaurs’ and ‘backwoodsmen’. If this is what they believe of their own supporters, it stands to reason that they might find members of UKIP more than a little 'odd'.