From Mondeo Man to Motorway Man

Watching Euronews last night I happened upon an interesting and relatively deep discussion of the likely influence of so-called “Motorway Man” in the British general election.

You may be familiar with the term Motorway Man through references in BBC news broadcasts and other UK media outlets. But if not, it is a trope that describes materialistic middle-class professionals pretty much anywhere outside the M25 London ring road. This is a considerable über-constituency of voting fodder, and one that will on Thursday of this week decide the fate of Britain’s leading politicians, whatever the latte-drinking London metrosexuals who control the mainstream media may wish for.

The demographic under discussion is real enough, but it should be noted that Motorway Man is an invention of the credit reporting and marketing firm Experian, which is milking the concept for all it’s worth in terms of free advertising. That’s fair enough, I suppose, for the idea has depth, and is stimulating debate about the political reality of Britain beyond the largely superficial media bubble that surrounds Compo, Clegg et al.

Motorway Man is the natural successor to Mondeo Man, who in 1997 swept Tony Blair to power in a blaze of late-yuppie aspirational hope, and could be set now to hand the keys to 10 Downing Street to an Old Etonian who taps his foot awkwardly to the grooves of the late Bob Marley.

However much I and others may despise Britain’s petite-bourgeois elite, they are nothing when compared with Motorway Man, with his easycare shirts, lardy arse, unused gym membership, Barrett home, and total detachment from community and social responsibility. England’s capital may have a population of 10 million or so, but Britain as a whole is made up mostly of culturally dead small towns and Stepford villages outwith the M25.

David Cameron is sure to get the majority of Motorway Man and Motorway Woman votes, but what of Nick Clegg and his Orange Revolution? To the Liberal Democrat leader Motorway Man is the key to power, and the party’s lowest common denominator marketing reflects this.

The main lesson learned by the now politically post-pubescent Mr Clegg is this: to win Britain you must first annihilate your soul.