#653: 1968, The Kinks, The Village Green Preservation Society

by George_East on March 26, 2013

I probably spend more time than is healthy reading blogs and comments on the Daily Telegraph and Conservative Home.  It is interesting to know what is exercising those on the political right.   What becomes immediately clear from even a moment’s glance on those sites is that they really are not big fans of David Cameron.  You will find more bile spewed in his direction and that of George Osborne, than you are likely to find on this site or any other of the major blogs on the left (did you see what I did there?).  It is rare to find a single positive comment on most posts on these conservative sites.

It has been like that amongst commenters for a while – they don’t like the fact that Cameron failed to win the election, they don’t like the fact that he went into coalition, they don’t like gay marriage and they don’t like what they perceive to be David Cameron’s metropolitan ways.   It is funny given the perception on the left of a Prime Minister who beneath his PR man exterior, is a dyed in the wool Thatcherite, and who heads a government that is the most right wing since the 1920s.

What has shifted in the last couple of weeks though is that the utter contempt in which the Prime Minister is held by the commenters has began to creep into the articles themselves.   In recent days there have been extremely critical articles by Trevor Kavanagh of The Sun, Tim Montgomerie in The Times and Conservative Home and Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph.  This was combined with a scathing editorial in the Daily Telegraph about the chasm between David Cameron and ‘natural conservative supporters’.  I have a suspicion that David Cameron’s Leveson compromise is behind some of this.

Underneath it all I think is a suspicion of Cameron as a London dwelling elitist who holds his own grass roots in disdain.  He would rather hang out with Clegg than the retired colonels of the shires.  He is, to borrow a phrase of their heroine, the sainted Thatcher, not one of them.      This looks baffling from afar – Cameron is, after all (unlike Osborne say) a fox hunting, Cotswolds’ living, old Etonian.  He is the epitome of one of them.

I was thinking about this paradox today and the song that came to mind was the opening track from The Kinks’ greatest album, The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society and how it sums up a sort of insular anti-progress Englishness, with a fist clenched tightly waving at the sky against change.   Of course Ray Davies had his tongue firmly in his cheek but the song does represent this world very well:

We are the office block persecution affinity

God save little shops, china cups and virginity

We are the skyscraper condemnation affiliate

God save tudor houses, antique tables and billiards

It also finally puts right the absurdity of only one solitary Kinks’ song having appeared in Songs To Learn and Sing in over 650 posts.


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