Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Oh Dave

The country is divided on the question of David Cameron’s fitness to lead the country, the question arises not because of reservations about his intellectual capability nor indeed his overall leadership skills.  The doubters are concerned about his his background and his work ethic.  

Britain is still a class conscious country (small minded) and supporters in all political parties form opinions based on their view of class.  Of course, Cameron is perceived as being too upper class by almost all and specifically the worker bees in the Tory Party who picked him in the first place.  For the last 50 years the Tory Party is has been uncomfortable about being led by a toff and with the exception of Ian Duncan-Smith they have ignored the talent that comes from the great Public Schools of England.  In 2005, when they picked Cameron, they were seduced by his boyish looks compared to the other candidate.  But in the cold light of day they don’t have the confidence to bat off opposition that has become intensely focused on the issues of class.

You can feel the rank and file of the Tory party squirm when Miliband whines on about privilege - poor little street urchin that he is.  This unnecessary weakness is particularly true on the right of the Tory Party where the newer ‘classless’ (grammar school)  intake reside.  Some of these small minded MPs and activists have the sneaking suspicion that Dave has had it too easy and that this is an electoral handicap.


The other flaw commonly pinned on Cameron comes from a persistent belief that Cameron is lazy and that his Government's troubles stem directly from this indolence. In the Westminster Village everyone has an anecdote on how Dave is able to mix the most difficult job imaginable with a chilled out private life where he is able to commit plenty of time to his family, wife (she who wears the trousers) and computer games – he is a devotee of Fruit Ninja.  The accepted wisdom is that he prioritises this down time over policy consultation.  This means that he has only been able to get the policy right on the things that he really cares about – Europe, defence, Welfare reform and Equal marriage.  But sadly for Dave it’s a balanced scorecard and decision making in other areas, particularly on the economy, have been poor. His unswerving loyalty to Osborne has been his greatest faux par and this is where the danger lies.  Dreadful decisions to reduce the top rate tax too soon, the scrapping of universal benefits and the destruction of savings and pensions through the continued policy of quantitative easing (QE) have come back to haunt him and will do so at the next election.

My analysis of the problem though is slightly different and it’s not so much his laziness on policy that is the problem but the scant time he takes on decisions around senior appointments.  He has made a series of unfortunate selections - Andrew Lansley, Liam Fox, Andy Coulson, etc.  But worst of all has been his blindness around the appointment of George Osborne who peaked early (the unimplemented inheritance tax pledge) but has been in full decline ever since.  Cameron needs to cut himself loose from this annoying milestone and get a new man in next door (11 Downing Street).

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