Originally Posted by crapal
According to the Oxford Dictionary, a stooge =
• noun 1 derogatory a subordinate used by another to do routine or unpleasant work. 2 a performer whose act involves being the butt of a comedian’s jokes.
According to the Etymological Dictionary, Tory =
Tory 1566, "an outlaw," specifically "a robber," from Ir. toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from O.Ir. toirighim "I pursue," related to toracht "pursuit." About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c.1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c.1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to George III of England.conservative as a modern political tradition, conservatism traces to Edmund Burke's opposition to the Fr. Revolution (1790), but the word conservative is not found in his writing. It was coined by his Fr. disciples, (e.g. Chateaubriand, who titled his journal defending clerical and political restoration "Le Conservateur"). Conservative as the name of a British political faction it first appeared in an 1830 issue of the "Quarterly Review," in an unsigned article sometimes attributed to John Wilson Croker. It replaced Tory (q.v.) by 1843, reflecting both a change from the pejorative name (in use for 150 years) and repudiation of some reactionary policies. Extended to similar spirits in other parties from 1845.
"Strictly speaking, conservatism is not a political system, but rather a way of looking at the civil order. The conservative of Peru ... will differ greatly from those of Australia, for though they may share a preference for things established, the institutions and customs which they desire to preserve are not identical." [Russell Kirk (1918-1994)]Phrases such as a conservative estimate make no sense etymologically
So the journalist is suggesting that someone he/she is discussing is an unwitting front for the Conservative Party, being used by the Party for its own purposes. It has nothing to do with spying, economics or pretending to be poor. It is insulting [depending on the person concerned]
PS Was this article in "The Times " (of London) - British daily newspaper; or "Time" - American periodical?