Posted by Ian
Are you ready for this man as your Prime Minister?
It could happen at any point during the next two years. The way things are going, it could even happen before Christmas. We’re all agreed the country’s in a bit of a mess at the moment. But is he the man best equipped to sort it out? Really?
All governments have a natural life-span and the present run of Labour administrations, now 11 years old, had to end at some point. I’d always thought it would be followed by a hung parliament of some kind: no party with a majority and an awkward coalition of interests working together as some sort of ‘national government’ to cure our country’s ills.
The polls and the press now suggest otherwise. Yet we hardly know anything about the current Conservative party. They have announced a couple of policies which appeal to very particular, niche voters: on stamp duty, and non-domiciles. They claim to want to "share the proceeds of growth", but don’t talk about to get growth in the first place. Cameron has said he opposed the abolition of the 10p tax rate but at the same time says he won’t bring it back. He’s also said he wants less big government and more self-help and charity, like in Victorian times.
Never mind exhibiting as much substance as a used tissue, heavens above, surely the last thing the UK needs in the middle of a crisis is for its leaders to throw their hands up in the air and say "Nope, nothing to do with me, can’t help you!" As witnessed in the United States, it’s when the economy is on the ropes and people are feeling the pinch and banks are going bust that people *most* need big government.
Two years before power last changed hands in this country – May 1995 – the party that would ultimately win office, Labour, had already plenty of policies in the pipeline, despite its leader only being in the post for less than 12 months. Cameron’s led the Tories now for two and a half years. I know more about my next-door neighbour, with whom I’ve never spoken, than my possible next Prime Minister.
Perhaps he’ll turn out to be just what the nation needs. Perhaps he’ll be the most divisive leader since Margaret Thatcher. Whatever, I just wish I knew more about what he stood for. Sure, the present government have failed. But don’t tell me they should be simply replaced with another party that has no clue what it stands for.
David Cameron announced "the end of New Labour" last week – then boasted of how he was now building precisely the same coalition of support for himself. Make your mind up, Dave. The wellbeing of 60 million people is at stake.