Christopher Lee


Cameron Goes Walk-About – so will his electorate

5th February 2013

There’s something rotten in the state of British politics. The Tories are voting themselves out of government – two and a half years before the scheduled General Election.

David Cameron the British Prime Minister appears to have lost all interest in domestic politics.  he has, like so many British Prime Ministers before him, become mesmerized by alarums and excursions in foreign fields. He has instinctively settled at a much higher plane than the boredom of the domestic politics of health care, crime prevention, schools and even the puzzling economy.

Instead, he is treading international stages with all the stature of someone playing the 21st century version of the Great Game. The past few days have seen Cameron in Algiers, Liberia and Libya.  This week his big photo-op was not with his discredited Chancellor George Osborne or his blissfully irrelevant Foreign Secretary William Hague nor even with his stand-in time share salesman of Whitehall aka Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, but with a three-way handshake between himself, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari.  If ever a trio looked liked successful lottery team, this was it.

The lottery theme is not irrelevant.  For Cameron (can we really believe anyone has ever called him Dave?) seems to be putting the currency of his leadership on some very odd numbers indeed.  For example, why would he truly believe that gay marriage is a big issue?  Does he believe that homosexuals and lesbians could turn the results of the next General Election? Or has he been told that it does not matter that his biggest Tory faith group, the Church of England is utterly opposed to gay marriage. Indeed the new Archbishop of Canterbury – leader of 77 million Anglicans – said only tis week that he’s against it.

The other two faith groups that count in the UK, The Catholics and the Muslims, are also against gay marriage.  How many voters has the Pope – as Stalin didn’t quite say – is not the point.  The point is that with the disaster of education policy and hospitals and care homes high in the public mind, Cameron has run out of ideas other than headline stuff.  So he has run off to foreign parts because domestic politics are far too difficult.

This was inevitable. Prime Ministers come into power and they go through the things that the voters care about – the economy stupid. Then in their first week they go to Washington to press presidential flesh.  The second week, they go to Brussels to nose-to-nose the EU.  The third week they go to Berlin for one-to-one with a real political leader and then to Paris for a swift handshake and very good A Level French jokes. It takes no more than a year for PMs to realize that the people back in the UK are boring.  Their issues are boring.  Worse, no one knows how to fix hospital problems, policemen not solving crimes, dementia treatment for nuisance mums and dads and of course the economy.  Three years in power and three years of decline.  Who needs it.

Whereas, Washington, Brussels, Algiers, Tripoli and even four hour drop in to our brave boys and gals in Camp Bastion give the prime ministerial personality a sense of something they want above all things: a power makeover.

Politicians do power.  Great stuff.  That’s why the common herd vote for them. But sitting at a Cabinet table lined with second rate people doing top rated jobs like Interior Minister, Health Secretary, Business Secretary and the rest make a PM realize that mostly he or she is power;less and days are always numbered.

So out come the focus group reports in spite of the fact that they are mostly bogus and out go the headline grabbing issues. Cameron goes foreign and feels a powerful man.  He gets respect even if the EU has relegated him to right hand side back row in the group photographs (could you imagine that happening to Thatcher or her protege Blair?

In a couple of years time, the result of all tis will be clear to the most important focus group of all – the general electorate.  They will see that the Tories have no original ideas, that they the people are worse off than before the Coalition of Incompetents and that the Prime Minister is hiding abroad.  The consequence? Bye Bye Tories. And the next lot will be as bad.

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