Blog : Posts tagged with 'David Cameron'

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Spearhead From Space

In which FP gets worried that the PM is a potential Doctor Who villain


Since the election, I’ve felt a bit sorry for Gordon Brown, what with all the people who have rushed to gloat and put the boot in since his progressive downfall started. Last week’s Have I Got News For You featured a montage of his strained-looking toothy smile, his clunky body-language, as if the ability to smile and shake hands smoothly was indeed what really mattered in a leader. I can sympathise partly because my own smiles are often as bad as his, especially if I’m trying to pose. When I’m smiling for the camera, everyone else shuffles their feet and small children run away crying; so when people make fun of Gordon Brown for suffering the same problem, he definitely gets my sympathies.

People’s reaction to his clunkiness, though, just goes to show how much people are concerned today with style and slickness over intellect; and Gordon Brown’s defeat, which people are already treating as much less narrow than it actually was, is only going to reinforce that. When we see David Cameron and Nick Clegg standing together, I get an uneasy squirming horror-film feeling that something is not quite right: that we’re not watching real people, but some sort of shiny artificial human-mimicking lifeform whose twin bodies are slowly converging onto one set of features. By the end of this parliament, we’ll be ruled by Cameregg, one creature with two identical bodies, identical faces with features so blandly generic you could barely pick them out from a crowd. Ed Balls, and the Miliband brothers, might well be part of the same species: some sort of bizarre alien trying to put on a human face but turning into an inhuman everyman. It might just be the effect of modern spin-driven media-friendly politics – or maybe the Autons are real after all.

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Smoking

In which we wonder what they were on


In the news today: government ministers smoked cannabis, but there’s nothing wrong with that, because they only tried it once or twice and they didn’t particularly enjoy it.

What puzzles me, though, is that they all seem to have said they did it “at university”. It’s fine for them to admit taking cannabis when they were 18 or 19 – but did none of them, really, never come across it earlier? Maybe they’re scared of being compared to David Cameron, who smoked cannabis when he was 15, and suffered the terrible punishment of not being allowed to leave school for a whole week. Certainly, at my school, about ten years later, cannabis use was widespread, and kids would frequently nip off to hide in the culvert for a quick smoke on their lunch break. Maybe the answer is that Labour teenagers, back in the 80s, were just too dull to realise the drugs were there.

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Time for the political post again

In which we look at political motives


The new Tory leader has jumped right in to the job, and is trying to persuade Liberal Democrats to cross the floor and join his party. Presumably he thinks that the Tory party itself has no hope of attracting new blood – or that politics itself is always a zero-sum game – so is trying to mind-meld. Maybe it’s working. Although there’s sometimes national-level talk of Labour and the Lib Dems working on a similar wavelength, out in the country they are usually fighting like rabid wolves, and Lib Dem-Tory alliances are far more common. In fact, my own local council – the worst local council in the country – is one.

Not only does Cameron’s plan imply he’s given up on attracting new people into politics; but it also makes it look as if he’s already given up on winning the next election outright. His current “I’m more liberal than the Liberals” positioning is paving the way for a hung parliament in 2009 or 2010. In case that happens, he wants to be first in line in the Lib Dems’ doorway. He seems to be hoping that modern politics is all about words, not deeds.* If Cameron says: “I’m a liberal!” he hopes that the voters will all believe him, even though there is little evidence for it in his present and past policies.**

* to be fair, this is after all what governments have been getting away with for the past 25 years.

** to be fair, there’s little evidence of anything in any of the recent ones.

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Nail on the head

In which we consider the ideal qualities of a party leader


(yes, this is the semi-regular political post. Feel free not to read it)

The Conservative Party have had a bit of a problem in the past few years. Apart from the big problem of not winning elections, they have a bit of a problem with credibility. That’s because they have two types of high-level politicians. The sort who were around in the last government, and are thus tarred with the memory of all sorts of bad decisions and dodgy policies. Or, alternatively, the fresh-faced new sort who you’ve never heard of.

So, to get around this, they have apparently come up with a Cunning Plan, and found a leader who is both at once! Hurrah! He isn’t just fresh-faced and youthful.* He isn’t just somebody you’ve never heard of. He’s someone you’ve never heard of, who just happens to be closely associated with some of the Major government’s worst moments too! Jackpot! Clearly, this is an amazing election-winning strategy which will lead to unstoppable success.

* Fresh-faced and youthful in both political and Tory contexts, I mean. He’s not youthful in the real world.

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Vote for … um … noone!

In which we think about the Tories, although not for very long


All politicians are evil, but Tories tend to be more evil than the others. I’m mostly interested in the current leadership contest purely out of a grim kind of schadenfreude: they are an aging party which is slowly pulling itself apart. I can’t help thinking that the main reason for their lengthy, baroque leadership election process is purely to help the party stay in the public eye* for longer.

* above the Government in the headlines, I mean.

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