Lidl Tories v Waitrose Tories: which shop best represents the Conservative soul?

MPs love a political shorthand – remember Mondeo Man? Now Liz Truss has suggested a new identity for her party’s essential voter

Name: Lidl Tories.

Age: Emerged over the past two years.

Appearance: Fickle and down-vested.

What do they want? Low taxes, cheap shiraz, free trade, competitively priced car mats.

When do they want it? While stocks last.

OK, so who are these people? They are loosely defined as folk who shop at Lidl, and also vote Tory.

Not really me, then. I only made that mistake once, at the last election. What were your reasons?

I just fancied a change and they had this big offer on Pringles. I see.

It turned out they weren’t even real Pringles. They were called “Stacking potato snacks”. Worst election night party ever. You live and learn.

Is this another attempt to identify a potentially up-for-grabs voting bloc as an intersection of consumer preference and political naivety? Yes. Do you remember Tony Blair’s Mondeo Man?

Vaguely. He owned a Mondeo, wanted to get on in life and was otherwise devoid of ideology. Whatever happened to him? They stopped making Mondeos. There was also Worcester Woman.

And she just wanted to get on in life, while indulging in a passion for Worcestershire sauce? No, she was from Worcester.

Bit specific, isn’t it? Still, I guess you can really focus your leaflets. The locality is meant to stand in for a whole demographic – think of political coinages such as Essex Man or Holby City Woman.

But Holby City isn’t a real place. Don’t think too hard about it – doesn’t help.

Who came up with Lidl Tories? Liz Truss.

Cheese Woman? Yes, although she is now also the foreign secretary. “I consider myself a Lidl Tory who shops regularly there,” Truss told a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference recently.

Not much of a stance, is it? Ah, but it is. Truss represents a wing of the party that wants to sell free trade and low prices to voters, as opposed to Waitrose Tories, who want protections for British farmers.

And cavolo nero. Ideally both, yes.

So Tories who shop at Lidl are deliberately championing free markets? No, they are there for the £14.99 leaf blowers – while stocks last – but might be persuaded to connect one with the other.

I could use a suspiciously inexpensive leaf blower. Too late.

Do say: “I’m not political – I just go to whichever supermarket still has food on the shelves.”

Don’t say: “She wanted to get on in life and she really liked cheese.”

The GuardianTramp

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