Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hi, I'm a Shy Tory. This Is My Sidebar of Shame

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hi, I'm a Shy Tory. This Is My Sidebar of Shame

Article excerpt

SHORT of farting at a dinner, running over your best friend's cat or loudly admonishing someone else's child, nothing silences a room of chatterati more quickly than declaring your true blue heart. You might just about be able to get away with it within the chintzy confines of Chelsea while crunching on a petits fours but in north London, where I live, cross Harrow Road and announce your love for Dave 'n' George et al and it's the social equivalent of saying you're really keen on clubbing seals.

I suggested we place Tory So I keep quiet. Stay shtum. Hide my blue Tory light under a bushel, bite my tongue, hoping and praying that the Islington Backstabber doesn't get in. Nate Silver, the acclaimed US statistician who correctly predicted the results in the last two US presidential elections, nailed it on this week's Panorama, when he resurrected the term Shy Tory -- a quiet Conservative who is more than a little reticent about saying how he or she is going to vote.

our My declined, declaring: "I don'tshit the door' It was first coined in 1992 when the poll predictions of Labour victory were proved dramatically wrong. "The Shy Tory factor," as Silver explained this week, "has been a historical tendency for the Conservatives to do better in the election than in the polls."

And the polls, as we know, could not be tighter. "Too close to call," is Mr Silver's verdict. But who knows how thousands of us will be voting? Could it be, when all is said and done and counted, that the Shy Tories will again have the balance of power? Out and about at the weekend in Queen's Park, I was doing a spot of canvassing. Well, more precisely my children had pinched a load of Vote Tory stickers off the table outside the Farmers' Market and proceeded to hand them around. With only 42 votes in it, the constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn is one of the tightest in the country. …

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