My view has always been that if you want to find "Middle England" just go to your nearest Garden Centre on a March or April Sunday. On the other hand, as I discovered today with Mrs Loadofoldstodge, you can also find Middle England at the Ideal Home Exhibition at Earls Court.
I've never been before though Mrs Loadofoldstodge is a veteran of these things. The first thing to observe is that it is an overwhelmingly white, middle-class event (just like the Sunday Garden Centre). The second irony is that the event is sponsored by the Daily Mail which is the nations' favourite centre-right doom-monger. Today's paper is a fine example of Labour-baiting (special attention for Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper) and a page full of economic doom and gloom.
The Ideal Home Exhibition was therefore full of economically nervous people - were they spending ? Undoubtedly, yes, but the show itself is a curiousity. On the one hand, kitchen gadgets and health gadgets are peddled ruthlessly to the gullable and needy. At the other end of the show, vastly expensive spa pools and overpriced interior design jostle for space. I suspect some of these high-end providers may be the first to feel the economic chill being predicted by the Daily Mail. Who wants an outdoor jacuzzi/spa pool if they can't pay the mortgage ?
On the day when the residents of Newham got their first leaflet from Boris Johnson, David Cameron might have found many friends at Ideal Home. However, polling evidence shows much less than fulsome enthausiasm for the Conservatives especially when it comes to the economy. Confidence in Brown/Darling has dissipated and no wonder but few really believe Cameron/Osborne have the answers. If the Daily Mail is correct, it may be a long time before Middle England has much to smile at at the Garden Centre or anywhere else.
I've argued for some time that expectations will be Cameron's main problem once he reaches No.10. I suspect Middle England will be unforgiving if he doesn't quickly deliver better economic times.