October 6, 2010
I’m not sure exactly what it is like being eaten alive by bullet ants. But I can’t imagine that the experience can be significantly more excruciating than the ordeal I’ve just endured listening to the hot-needles-in-the-eye bilge and twaddle being spouted by David Cameron at the Tory party conference.
It reminded me a lot of the speeches Tony Blair used to give: the verbless sentences; the classical oppositions; the long, long lists, delivered with well rehearsed comic timing, of the government’s achievements and the opposition’s failings. It wasn’t Dave’s finest hour, but there was just enough red meat in it to satisfy those many Conservatives disappointed by the wet direction his Coalition has been taking. Apart from his ‘let me just get off my chest all the terrible things Labour have done’ comedy riff, the lines that drew the biggest applause were the ones where he claimed to believe that he didn’t think “wealth creators” were “dirty words.”
Does this mean David Cameron has any intention to do anything that might actually encourage the entrepreneurship he claims to so admire? Does it hell. As the Wall Street Journal notes, the Coalition is committed to policies more likely to drive (still more of our) entrepreneurs to Switzerland than to keep them here ‘creating wealth.’
Yet even as Mr. Osborne championed that instinct to get rich, he flipped his rhetoric to argue for why Britain’s current and future rich should pay an ever-higher price for their success. “Those with the most, need to pay more,” Mr. Osborne said, citing “fairness” as he defended his government’s decision to keep marginal income-tax rates at 50%, and its hike of the top capital-gains rate to 28% from 18%. In order to maintain Britain’s welfare state while shrinking its budget deficit of 11% of GDP, the government needs higher tax revenues.
David Cameron is dangerous in the same way that Tony Blair was dangerous – because he sounds so plausible. He has the capacity to tell his audience whatever it is they want to hear – and persuade them that he is speaking the truth, no matter how much evidence he has previously afforded them to the contrary.
How can you tell Dave Cameron’s lying? The same way you used to be able to with Tony Blair: when his lips move.
There are no principles here; there is no thought-through ideological grounding. This is the pursuit of power for power’s sake, dressed in the garb of the ‘reasonable middle way’ and ‘social justice’. Like the Blair project, it stinks. Like the Blair project, by the time it unravels Cameron will have gone, and some other poor Tory sod – a real one next time, let’s hope – will be left with the job Thatcher had to do after Ted Heath and clean up the Augean mess.
- The problem with Dave Cameron (No.203)
- Is Edward McMillan-Scott the most tedious, annoying and ghastly member in the entire Euro parliament?
- 10 Reasons to be Cheerful About Dave’s New Coalition of the Unwilling
- Margaret Thatcher dies; Dave basks in the limelight
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