Tories turn to St George for inspiration
Red double decker bus? Check. Morris dancers? Check. Large men dressed in medieval costumes? Check. Boris Johnson? Check.
It’s St George’s Day and the Conservative election machine rolled into the heart of the City of London to celebrate England’s patron saint and try to drum up some support for the Tories at the same time.
Fresh from taking part in the second televised TV debate, David Cameron joined London’s Conservative mayor for a chaotic walk through the stalls of the capital’s historic Leadenhall Market.
There were photo opportunities galore for the Tory leader. He munched on fish and chips, chatted to a Pearly King, hugged the characters wearing St George outfits and selling red roses, and got some kisses from the group of female morris dancers.
Appropriately, there were also a number of players from Wasps rugby club (wearing shirts with red crosses across the front of course), as the violent jostling, pushing and shoving of the mass ranks of photographers and camera crews was akin to a scrum.
“We are reclaiming St George’s Day as an important day for good reasons,” Cameron told a crowd of cheering supporters.
“We should be reclaiming the flag from the BNP. The flag belongs to the English people, all of them.“
Johnson was in typical ebullient mood.
“Cry God for England, custard and St George,” he said, as he delivered a brief history of the figure, who apparently got up early in the morning to sell bacon to the Roman army. George, he told the crowd, was also the patron saint of a host of other countries such as Georgia and Lithuania as well as of “Conservative economic thinking”.
Back on the pressing matter of the election, Johnson said it was proving to be an exciting contest.
“We know it’s going to have the right result in the end, don’t we,” he said.
But as the Conservative roadshow moved off, some who saw the spectacle seemed more baffled than convinced.
“I don’t understand politics,” said one of the dancers who had accosted the Tory leader during his walkabout.
Asked if she’d be voting Conservative, she looked at me bewildered and shrugged her shoulders.