Cameron’s head boy, Lansley’s the prefect
Sunny Hundal is half right:
incompetence in dealing with the NHS and incompetence in growing the economy & reducing unemployment is how Labour need to define this government. Not ‘out of touch’ but just ‘incompetent’.
Labour’s first line of attack does indeed need to be on the government’s incompetence, but it needs to stress that the government as a whole is incompetent precisely BECAUSE Cameron and his inner circle (Osborne, Letwin and a couple of others) are ‘out of touch’.
The image that springs to mind is a public school. For convenience, let’s call it Eton.
Cameron is the head boy, sitting in his warm study by the fire with his chums, toasting muffins and talking high political principle. Meanwhile, outside in the courtyard the megalomaniac prefects, of a lower social class than Cameron and chums – selected for their mix of brutality to those over whom they wield power and obsequiousness to their superiors – wreak havoc on the lower fourth, picking particularly on the weedy vulnerable ones. Cameron is oblivious to all this. He would probably, you feel, disapprove slightly, but the study is warm, and Oliver’s brought sherry……
Within four months of the Tories coming to power. I set out this public school-like operational code of the government: a high politics/low politics divide, in which a lot of domestic policy is regarded by the inner circle as simply beneath them, and has been delegated in full to rabid freemarketeers like Gove, Lansley and Pickles. This has been reflected not just in the NHS debacle, but also in Gove’s repeated blunders and Pickles’ obvious lies. It is also reflected in Cameron now frequent lies at PMQs, and his developing ‘Flashman’ image.
To date, Labour has been too focused on identifying Cameron as heir to Thatcher to notice that the style of government is quite different. Now, at last, it does look like they are adopting accurate line of attack, though probably still more by accident than by design.