PETER MCKAY: Dave plays bad cop to nice Nick
Dave plays bad cop to nice Nick By Peter McKay for the Daily Mail Updated: 16:31 BST, 7 June 2010 14 View comments David Cameron tells his supporters there are years of pain ahead and that deep spending cuts are required.
But his political partner, Nick Clegg, says he’ll make sure there will be no return to the savage cuts of Margaret Thatcher in the eighties. Cameron advises The Sunday Times that ‘massive welfare bills’ and public-sector pay will bear the brunt of budget cuts.
(During the election, he said parts of the north were too dependent on public-sector jobs.) But Clegg informs The Observer that there will be protection for the poorest areas, including his own South Yorkshire constituency. And he vows: ‘We’re not going to allow a great north-south divide to re-appear.’ Walking the walk: Nick Clegg and David Cameron are not filling the electorate with confidence by continually contradicting each other Yet everything in the coalition garden appears lovely.
Of course, there are Tories and Liberal Democrats who don’t like the forced marriage. Some may even be plotting against it. But the public mood towards the Cameron and Clegg pas de deux is ‘let them be’. For the moment, anyway. The sun has been shining.
Britain’s Got Talent is over and the World Cup is about to begin. The nation’s in a good mood – or the nearest we get to it. A silver lining is found, even for the shootings in Cumbria. Local people demonstrated their decency and goodness, they were told, patronisingly.
For those who follow politics closely, it’s an unnerving time. How can Cameron bear to conduct the nation’s vital business with Clegg poking his nose in? Why is Clegg content to be second banana, sharing any odium equally but always perched lower on the podium if there’s any glory going?
Most confusing of all, how can Cameron and Clegg be as one while making announcements which contradict each other? RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next JAMES FORSYTH: Mobiles don’t work very well inside No10…but the question is, can Cameron? AMANDA PLATELL: It’s Britain that needs quality time, Dave & Nick Share this article Share Being former public schoolboys must help.
Isn’t it ingrained in them to act reasonably, even if they don’t feel like it? Privately, they might be enormously vain, selfish creatures, but they are trained to appear otherwise. They realise neither of them made a big breakthrough at the General election: Cameron had a big mountain to climb because of what was required to attain an overall majority, but he failed; and Clegg’s failure to increase Liberal democrat seats was even more embarrassing after his ballyhooed performances in the TV debates.
So they made the best of it – Cameron by forming a government, Clegg by becoming part of it. Both use as a justification the parlous times we live in, the terrifying public debt left by the recession and Gordon Brown, and a feeling that the nation somehow has to pull together.
Posh, public-school types were once considered out of favour as our political leaders. Now, we’ve got two of them in the top job. Supposedly they’re handicapped by not understanding or having an affection for ordinary people. Critics say it can’t last, that Cameron and Clegg will come to feel compromised by each other.
If the watered- down policies they agree fail to work, each will blame the other. Growing numbers of MPs in their parties might turn against the coalition, isolating those at the top. On the other hand, having to fight a coalition partner over policies might prove to be a good thing.
Pure party doctrine often proves to have embarrassing, unanticipated consequences when turned into legislation. Cameron and Clegg, plus their closest cohorts, have to argue policies line by line. They have to do the same with their MPs and parties.
Then – as their contradictory weekend interviews demonstrate – they have to sell their view of them to the voting public. For most of us, http://www.starfishman.org it’s a new way of doing politics. So far, the drawbacks are more apparent than real. The whole exercise stands or falls on the personalities and character of Cameron and Clegg, the Old Etonian and the former Westminster boy.
Posh, public-school types were once considered out of favour as our political leaders. Now, we’ve got two of them in the top job. Supposedly they’re handicapped by not understanding or having an affection for ordinary people. Will Cameron and Clegg defy expectation and succeed?
Just a transactionIntellectual Roger Scruton says: ‘The disappearance of female modesty and sexual restraint has made it hard for a man to believe, when a woman yields to his advances, that her doing so is a special tribute to his masculine powers, rather than a day-to-day transaction, in which he, like the last one, is dispensable.’Wisdom of the ages!
Trouble on oily waters The former chief executive of BP, Lord Browne, is asked by David Cameron to become the Government’s ‘super director’, scrutinising the work of ministers and civil servants and ‘auditing’ each department for a report to the Prime Minister at the end of each year.
I wonder if this appointment was mooted before BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Browne isn’t responsible for that, but out of it have come allegations that his expense-paring regime is blamed for the 2005 Texas refinery explosion in which 15 workers were killed and 180 injured, and for a previous oil spill in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
The current BP chief executive, Tony Hayward, implied on TV yesterday that he had inherited a lax safety regime when he took over in 2007. Appointing famous businessmen to government is usually better in theory than in practice. Are the Milibands really the best Labour can muster?
Lone option: David Miliband is likely to become the new Labour leader Has Labour lost the hang of democracy?
Last time they needed a leader, no one challenged Gordon brown – even when it became clear he was a disaster.Now the only prospects are the brothers Miliband (David and Ed) as well as Brown’s former bag carrier, Ed Balls. Without appearing to appreciate the irony, David Miliband calls this ‘a fantastically talented range of candidates’.In reality, Miliband D is the only candidate.
So perhaps he’s talking only about himself. Brother Ed ‘is a nice guy, but he’d only make Labour feel OK about losing’, according to party mouthpiece Alastair Campbell, who – despite being a duplicitous fiend – might have a point.With his discounted Ozwald Boateng Savile Row suits (£1,400 knocked off) and off-the-shelf plan (‘community organisers’, first invented by 1930s Chicago leftie Saul Alinsky, later embraced by Barack Obama), is gawky all-elbows Miliband D the best Labour can do?
Foot and mouth More from Peter McKay for the Daily Mail… Fairways to heaven! A golf tour in Northern Ireland is a chance to see the country in all its glory 05/06/19 PETER MCKAY: Syria? It’s turned into Operation Damp Squib 04/01/16 PETER MCKAY: Let’s not bleat each time Kate’s smile slips 28/12/15 PETER MCKAY: The Eagle has landed her claws into Corbyn 21/12/15 PETER McKAY: We need an inquiry into all these inquiries! 14/12/15 PETER MCKAY: Mad? The Ripper is playing us all for fools 07/12/15 PETER MCKAY: Don’t tell us going to war won’t cost lives 30/11/15 PETER MCKAY: Why do we tolerate the jihadis in our midst? 23/11/15 PETER MCKAY: What irony! The human snail drives a Porsche 16/11/15 VIEW FULL ARCHIVE The former Labour leader Michael Foot, who died in March, left £1.32million in his will ‘after liabilities’, the bulk of the money going to stepdaughter Julie Hamilton, 75, whom he is said to have once surprised by giving her ‘a great big French kiss’.
Ms Hamilton, 28 at the time [and Foot 50], is quoted in a recent book as saying: ‘It took me totally by surprise and shocked me deeply. Michael is not the man we have always believed him to be. There are other sides to him.’ Undoubtedly, there were.
As a lifelong Left-winger, he managed to become a close friend of Lord Beaverbrook, the right-wing newspaper tycoon. Excused wartime military service for health reasons, Foot lived to the ripe old age of 96. Hailed always as the greatest political orator of his time, he signally failed as leader to enthuse voters to the Labour cause in 1983.
But maybe he regretted kissing Julie and that’s why she did better than his blood relatives from his estate. It’s also curious and perhaps telling for an old-time socialist to die a millionaire and leave money to people rather than his party.Labour MP to help Cameron fight povertyLabour MP Frank Field is to ‘think the unthinkable’ about poverty for David Cameron.This means encouraging parents and local services to ‘nurture’ children, making sure they arrive at school washed, fed and on time.He’ll also look into changing the current definition of poverty – households with less than 60 per cent of the median income.
All of this is ‘unthinkable’ to Field’s own party because it might break their electoral hold over the poor.Will they respond by removing the party whip from Frank? That isn’t unthinkable. WAGs will stay out of the headlines Alex Curran, striking wife of England’s World Cup captain, Steven Gerrard, says they talk ‘four or five times a day’ while he’s in South Africa, ‘but at night we Skype with the webcam on the internet.
That means the kids [daughters Lilly-Ella, six, and Lexie, four] can see him too.’ (Skype! Twice I’ve fixed it up – and twice I’ve failed to get it working.) Staying away: Alex Curran says she and fellow WAGs will only travel to South Africa if the England side qualifies for the semi-finals Alex says she and other WAGs won’t fly to South Africa unless England make it to the semis – ‘because the girls aren’t going, the coverage will all be focused on the football, which is a really good thing’.
Quite so.Who wants to read about WAGs getting squiffy, falling out of restaurants, cat-fighting with local talent and England’s manager, curious Fabio Capello, having to read the Riot Act in Italian? U.S. link to UK defence officeWhy does Defence Secretary Liam Fox have an American, Luke Coffey, with links to U.S.
intelligence, working as his special adviser?When Labour MP and former armed forces minister Kevan Jones tabled a question about the nationality of the Government’s special advisers, it was blocked by Cabinet minister Francis Maude on the grounds that it was ‘personal’.Perhaps I am mistaken, but I don’t imagine there is a Brit working in the office of the U.S.
Defence Secretary. Fox’s ‘special relationship’ warrants further inquiry. Baltic nights Playwright Brian Logan says we Caledonians don’t consider Scots a proper language, ‘just a way of speaking’. But some of it is very local.
Outside the Moray Firth area, from which I hail, I have never met anyone who knows that a ‘dirl’ around the ear is a slap, to ‘breenge’ somewhere is to barge in rudely and ‘baltic’ means inebriation.