I must say that David Cameron is coming along rather well as a comic character. Take a look at this from page 2 of today’s Financial Times … ‘Mr Cameron sought yesterday to attempt a return to business as usual by announcing a voter-friendly policy to ensure greater transparency in local government. Any council worker earning £58000 or more would see their pay details published under a Tory government, he promised.’
Do you get it? Lord Ashcroft can buy a whacking great chunk of his party, pay for a whacking great chunk of the campaign to make him PM, and he will not ask questions or give answers, and when the public demands to know more, he will stamp his little feet and say it is none of your damned business and the matter is jolly well closed. But if you’re on just over a grand a week, we’ll slap you all over the internet.
Put to one side the piddlingological nature of it, reflected in the fact that most media outlets ignored this shiny new policy, and the FT included it inside a story headlined ‘Embattled Cameron fails to draw line under Ashcroft affair.’
The real point is that he and his jittery advisers cannot see the irony. And that is because for all his talk of detoxing the Tory brand, a line swallowed so easily by most of the media for most of his leadership, Cameron has not fundamentally changed his party at all.
Which is why Tory candidates and activists have been flocking to get media and political training from the Young Britons’ Foundation, a group which echoes the view of the Tory Right that the NHS is a waste of money, global warming is a scam, and we should liberalise our gun laws, not least so that environmental trespassers can be shot.
These are views so extreme you’d think a detoxing brand manager like DC would want to distance his party. But this week party chairman Eric Pickles and defence spokesman Liam Fox spoke at the YBF parliamentary rally at the Houses of Parliament. It doesn’t mean they endorse all their views. But it does show where many Tory hearts lie, and that their Right wing continues to hold considerable sway.
It has been a bad week for Cameron. The good news for Labour is he seems unable to see how to get back in the groove. Could that be because politics is about the things he doesn’t do well, policy and strategy, and not the things he does do well, which are all in the short term communications department?
** Buy The Blair Years online and raise money to help fight the Tories http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.
PS … lovely sunny day in North London. Will be nice to be able to walk to a match for once, rather than spend four hours in a car. Arsenal away. I’d like to say I have good vibes. However …