Archive for ‘David Cameron’

February 2, 2011

I agree with Ed/I agree with David

Do not readjust your television sets, the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition are actually having a civilised discussion about the important issues of the day. Flanked by new Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander, Ed Miliband led off by giving a moving comment on his recent visit to Afghanistan, before asking a couple of questions on developments in Egypt. Cameron replied in kind – informative, cordial, consensual. It was all rather different to the normal nonsense, and all the better for it.

As Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband was ensuring the British government was playing a key role in supporting democracy, and protecting its citizens abroad in a time of crisis. He was also showing support for British troops, and tough British government decisions. Ed Miliband joked that he appreciated that this was a rather different PMQs. Well, quite. The world situation is rather different at the moment.

Bizarrely some people feel that this isn’t doing his job, and he should have provided another identikit performance on cuts and the economy. They might like to note that for the first time Ed Miliband looked like a leader, a Prime Minister, and a statesman. In fact, he looked rather a lot like his brother. The civility was only broken a couple of times, once for Cameron to remind everyone about Ed Ball’s ridiculous claim that the previous Labour Government didn’t leave a structural deficit, and right at the end when Barry Sheerman asked about the selling off of public forests.

PMQs has become increasingly dull and staged, with nobody learning  anything about any policy or decision. Far from holding the government to account, it discredits UK politics on a weekly basis. The PM and Leader of the Opposition do not have to agree, but their debates must be constructive. It would be great if this week marked a change in how PMQs was done, but VN reckons the bored backbenchers might have something to say about that.

January 12, 2011

>PMQs gets personal

>PMQs was a rather spiteful affair this week. David Cameron came up with two of the most damning lines to describe Ed: “He was the nothing man at the treasury, and now he is the nothing man trying to lead the Labour party”, and VN’s favourite on Alan Johnson advising on banker’s bonuses: “There’s no point Wallace asking Gromit on that one”, but Ed didn’t perform badly. It was though quite a hollow affair, partly due to the predictable questions from the Leader of the Opposition, and partly due to the lack of substance in the answers given in return.

Clearly the Coalition are getting a bit fed up of cheap pops about so-called ‘broken promises’. When Angus Robertson of the SNP tried the trick asking about tuition fees and bankers bonuses, Cameron snapped back, referring to “an SNP that promised a referendum on full independence and never gave it?”

There were also some fairly testing questions from Conservative backbenchers, including one on the promised fuel stabiliser. These serve to demonstrate the increasing tension those Member’s have towards the coalition. Like their Liberal Democrat counterparts, Tory backbenchers are beginning to feel a little sidelined, and are increasingly prepared to show their discontent in high profile occasions such as PMQs.

Cameron also hinted heavily at a compromise on Control Orders, praising the police and secret services in the process. In answer to another question, he gave a backhanded warning to the Unions threatening prolonged strikes by hinting he could impose a rule that 50% of members must support strike action.

The Prime Minister is clearly comfortable with these confrontations but, after a very impressive start, is beginning to rely too much on witty one liners and question dodging. If he engaged Ed Miliband on substance he could win the exchanges outright very easily, exposing the lack of policy Labour have at the moment. Instead, the playground politics trundled on into 2011.

December 24, 2010

>Laying bare the year of… David Cameron

>The final ‘Laying bare the year of…’ post looks at the year of Prime Minister David Cameron.

David Cameron

2010 finally saw David Cameron achieve his goal of leading the Conservative Party out of the opposition wilderness and into government…with a little help from his new found friends. At the beginning of the year he looked a comfortable bet to be leading a majority government, but as winter turned to spring the polls closed in on him. A poor start in the Leaders’ Debates and Cleggmania put him under  more pressure, and he edged at least one of the last two debates. As he started his pre-polling nighttime campaign tour his lead was slim. There are lots of Conservative members who still feel that by failing to secure a one party majority David Cameron in fact failed in this years election.

Post-election he has though proved himself to be a leader of more substance than many gave him credit for pre-election. His ‘big, open offer’ speech to the Liberal Democrats on May 7th will go down in political history, as will that press conference with Nick Clegg in the Downing Street Rose Garden. Under more pressure than he had been used to on home turf, his conference speech in October may have been mocked for the ‘rap’ sections and cheesy exit music, but it again proved that he is committed both as leader of the Conservatives and the coalition.

Away from politics, Cameron’s personal life has been another emotional rollercoaster for him and his wife. Within a matter of days in September Cameron’s fourth child Florence was born in Cornwall, and  his father sadly died.

The Prime Minister also tried to win the 2018 World Cup for England. He was part of the fantastic last pitch, along with David Beckham and Prince William, to secure the tournament. However, he was witness to crude politicking that would make even his party’s 1922 committee blush, and the tournament went to Russia.

Vince Cable and the Telegraph may have made the end of the year more sticky than it need to be, but Cameron will no doubt consider his 2010 a success. What 2011 will hold for his Government is anyones guess.

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December 20, 2010

>Cameron is right to keep lid on Tory Oldham campaign, and Clegg should do the same in Con/Lab marginals

>There have been lots of mutterings in recent days from Conservatives about their party not putting up a proper fight in Oldham East & Saddleworth. While David Cameron is doing a vague impression of being interested, it is obvious that he would prefer Lib Dem Elwyn Watkins to win if Conservative Kashif Ali cannot. More interestingly, he seems to be prepared to limit the campaigning Conservatives supporters do in order not to take votes away from the Lib Dems.

Despite what the rabid right wingers are snarling, there is nothing wrong with this at all. As well as having a responsibility to the Conservative Party, for the next four and half years Cameron has a responsibility to the coalition government he leads. Clearly during the time the coalition agreement stands, i.e. up to the 2015 General Election being called, it benefits him to have either an extra Lib Dem or an extra Conservative MP elected in a by election. It increases the government majority. Were the seat to be a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal then fine, both parties should go for it, but in this case there is a real risk of another Labour MP being elected if the Conservatives win a significant amount of votes. By extension, Clegg should also call of the hordes of leafleters in a similar way in a Lab/Conservative marginal by election. Until 2015.

This does not amount to an electoral pact. Lib Dem and Conservatives taking votes of each other does the coalition no good when they are in government together. VN does not think that ‘coalition candidates’ should be run in the 2015 general election, and the Liberal Democrats should not enter into an electoral pact with anyone in the general election, local elections, and devolved institution elections. Their negotiating position was so strong because they were open to offers from both parties. Coalitions are made up of two parties, they are not a permanent merger. However, for Westminster by-elections, while this government is in place, it makes sense for either the Liberal Democrats or Conservatives to put up a stronger fight while the other takes a back seat.

December 8, 2010

>Tuition fee myth busting goes into overdrive before vote

>Nick Clegg, David Cameron and the coalition have gone into overdrive today to try and bust the myths surrounding the proposed changes to HE funding.

This morning Deputy PM Clegg was dispatched onto the Victoria Derbyshire show on 5Live and, agree or disagree with the policy, did a pretty sterling job of  busting the myths perpetuated by the NUS, and laying out why this is an improvement on the Labour mess.

Latter Cameron went on the offensive in PMQs, attacking Ed Miliband and Labour backbenchers for their hypocrisy over years on the issue.  He has also delivered a speech on the future of universities at the CentrForum think tank.

If that wasn’t enough, they have taken to the interweb too, launching

Now, VN certainly doesn’t think Clegg, Cable or any other Lib Dem are the devil incarnate for backing these proposals, they are better for their presence in government, but raising the cap will put a lot of young people in an even greater amount of personal debt.

However, given the vote on raising the cap is tomorrow, today’s actions do seem somewhat too little too late.

December 2, 2010

>England’s World Cup bid falls to Russia 2018, and Qatar get 2022…nothing dodgy about that.

>In the last few minutes it has been announced that Russia have beaten England to the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup. They will be followed by Qatar in 2022, who will be playing in their first ever World Cup Finals. Luckily the result doesn’t stink at all…

Clearly, after development World Cups in 2010 (South Africa) and 2014 (Brazil), the 2018 tournament should have gone to an established footballing power. It would have been quite legitimate for Spain/Portugal to have claimed victory, like England they could host the tournament next month if required. However that England were knocked out in the first round shows once again that FIFA makes political decisions, not decisions for the good of football.

Of course the English bid wasn’t helped by the resignation of Chairman Lord Triesman after he accused opponents of bribery, or by the pathetically timed Panorama programme on Monday. However, the technical bid was as good as any, and the performance of the three lions of Prime Minister David Cameron, Prince William, and David Beckham should have had the ‘wow’ factor to seal the deal.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter should take a long, hard look at himself and the corrupt organisation he runs, but of course that will never happen.

England can now not bid again for the World Cup until 2030, having not hosted the tournament since 1966.

November 25, 2010

>Tory Peer Howard Flight warns of the poor ‘breeding’


Picture via The BBC

Newly appointed Conservative Peer Howard Flight has commented that changes to the welfare system might encourage ‘breeding’ amongst those on benefits. Not surprisingly Downing St. has distanced irself from these delightful remarks but, after Lord Young’s comments just a matter of days ago, it looks like the Cameroons still have a little bit more work to do.

Flight has form though. Michael Howard removed him as a candidate in 2005 after saying the party would make cuts if elected. He has also served as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party.

Such a shame he hasn’t taken his seat in the Lords yet…flight seems such a reasonable chap….

November 19, 2010

>Stripping the Week 14-19 November 2010

>Everyone buy a new frock, there’s a wedding afoot! Yes, after seven years together Prince William and Catherine Middleton are finally tying the knot. He apparently proposed while they were on a trip in Kenya, and the news was apparently greeted by an expletive riddled outburst by younger brother Harry. VN suspects he won’t be in charge of the stag-do’s fancy dress theme

According to David Cameron’s enterprise adviser Lord Young, we’ve ‘never had it so good’. Neither has he, as he now has a lot more free time after being fired in good old fired/resignation

England have certainly had it better on the football pitch though. A dismal performance, by an admittedly young team, saw Capello’s team lucky to lose just 2-1 to the only team who managed to have a worse World Cup than them. Andy Carroll’s debut provided a silver lining, but the cloud over the three lions is looking increasingly heavy.

Hero of the week: Jon Stewart – for the brilliant ‘It Gets Worse’ video in support of repealing ‘Don’t ask Don’t Tell: 
Villain of the week: Fabio Capello

Listening to this week: Far East Movement – Like A G6
Reading this week: I – The new mini 20p paper from the Independent
Watching this week: Wallace and Gromit’s World of Invention – actually amazing!
November 18, 2010

>Nick Clegg wins Politician of the Year Award


Nick CleggImage via Wikipedia

After an increasingly trying six months Nick Clegg has finally got some recognition for his recent achievements. He picked up the the Politician of the Year award…at the Spectator’s Parliamentarian of the Year ceremony.

Just what he needs to re-endear himself with the left of his party.

Other moments to note were Ed Balls being awarded Parliamentarian of the Year, by Prime Minister David Cameron, and Osborne and Alexander’s award for ‘Double Act of the Year’. VN can’t wait for their Christmas special.

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November 17, 2010

>Another boring PMQs let down

>Harriet Harman returned to face David Cameron in PMQs this week, as Ed Miliband is off on paternity leave. She, fairly successfully, took a line on cuts to policing. Looking passed the fact that Labour would have made Home Office cuts, she backed Cameron into a corner from which he failed to give a straight numbers answer. That said he did have the last laugh when she got personal with him over the photographer/videographer, rattling off a list of far more inappropriate Labour appointees….including Alistair Campbell. Covered by parliamentary privilege, (take note of its application Messrs. Chaytor et al,) he reiterated accusations that Campbell ‘sexed up’ the Iraq War dossier. 

Overall a pretty dull affair. No questions, no answers, and a slightly hysterical Mr. Speaker shouting down the Prime Minister in full flow. Don’t you just love democracy?

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