It has been mildly comical to hear David Cameron for so long bemoaning the centralising, strategising ways of the Blair government, and now seeking to emulate the systems he decried.
As his new Number Ten team gets to work, may I gently suggest that they adopt the motto that used to inform my own approach when there – get a grip.
It is bad enough for a government to be making massive and increasingly unpopular cuts to jobs and public services. But the cack-handedness of their handling takes some doing.
‘Mixed messages’ does not begin to do justice to their handling of the Libya situation in recent days. Even without yesterday’s announcement of enormous job cuts in the armed forces, including of troops currently fighting in Afghanistan, David Cameron’s handling had shown an alarming mix of naïveté and arrogance.
He really does seem to think he can coast through without thinking too deeply about the consequences of what he does. Talking tough on the economy is all fine and dandy when it’s all theoretical. But today alone you have soldiers facing the sack, police officers being told to take a pay cut, overseas aid being cut – another broken promise and not a peep from the Lib Dems – councils being forced to make savage and often arbitrary cuts to local services, universities only now really having to see the consequences of the government’s reforms.
And amid it all, a question … How would Cameron sum up his foreign policy? Would he know?
It was a trade policy until inconvenient events in Egypt clashed with the optics. Oh how he cares about the optics. So it became a democracy and values policy. However the arms trade businessmen on his trip got in the way of that.
On Libya, it was let them sort themselves out, then let’s get heavy and threaten them with our mighty forces, but meanwhile let’s sack a few thousand of the troops.
It is as though he is unaware of his own positions and policies. Domestically too, he has a strategy – The Big Society – totally at odds with his policy – cuts to the charities and services that can deliver it. Policies cannibalise each other in a rather disturbing way.
Ps, first episode of Dream School tonight. C4 9pm. Glad to see Angelique getting play in the trailers for calling me a f…ing prick. Come on Dacre, give her a column.