Monday, April 25, 2011

David Cameron has let his admirers down

The current dust up between the two partners in the Coalition was inevitable, even if it is not wholly synthetic. The AV referendum campaign was bound to strain relations between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, and the two party leaders do have to display some regard for the enthusiasms of their members and core supporters from time to time.

Nevertheless, in recent days David Cameron have given those who hoped he might be a new sort of Tory two separate causes for disappointment in recent days.

The first was his declaration that he was "very relaxed" about people offering unpaid internships to relations and the children of friends and neighbours. You can say that this was just Cameron reassuring the middle classes: I have argued before that the Liberal Democrats have not thought through the difficulties of their being committed to policies that will disadvantage their predominantly middle-class electorate.

But if the middle classes think about it they will realise that most of them do not know any prime ministers. Most of them will not know any Old Etonians. So what sounds like Cameron reassuring the middle classes who want their children to get on, is in reality Cameron telling them they he will do his best to make sure those children are being kept down by the wealthier and the better connected.

And then their was Cameron's decision to appear alongside John Reid at an anti-AV event. I am all for people from different parties talking to one another and the charge that Labour politicians would have been happier in the old Soviet Union is usually a libel.

It's just that, as I argued back in 2006, Reid's career gives the impression that this is pretty much the truth.

By sharing a platform with an old tankie like Reid, Cameron lost my respect. Whatever you thought about the Tories under Thatcher, their opposition to Soviet tyranny was adamant. Cameron, by contrast, has shown he is happy to accommodate that mind-set to maintain party advantage.

All of this leads me to wander where all the moderates Conservatives have gone. But that question, and the opportunity their disappearance offers the Liberal Democrats, must wait for another day.

1 comment:

dreamingspire said...

As we were discussing in the pub last night, Cameron has been making mistakes. A friend spoke of recent mistakes, not understanding that they have been happening from Day 1. Not ready for government, so we must be very grateful that the LDs have been continually reining in the man who it seems wants to reign.

One just hopes that the LD's nerves will hold through local elections and referendum...