There’s an interesting piece in The Guardian today which sets out questions to David Cameron from key figures in the media, arts and politics.
Cameron is an eloquent speaker and has an easy turn of phrase which makes his words pleasant to listen to and read. But putting that – rare – compliment to one side, he makes a telling admission in his answer to Lord Lamont:
Lord Norman Lamont, former Tory chancellor of the exchequer:
If there were no coalition and you were governing as a Conservative prime minister alone, what three things would you most like to have done that you have not been able to do in coalition?
“Further action on welfare reform. Perhaps the control of immigration. But I don’t buy the argument that because it’s a coalition it’s an inactive government. It’s a pretty rolled-up sleeves reforming government.” [Guardian: And the third?] “I thought two was enough.”
It shows you that the Coalition is having a damaging effect on the policy areas which the public put in their Top 5: Welfare, Immigration. Cameron’s dodge on providing a third shows some slight contempt for Middle Britain and his Conservative base.
Another question from Alastair Campbell hits the nail right on the head:
Alastair Campbell, Labour spin doctor:You fought an election with the fallout from the economic crisis still dominant, people worried about jobs and living standards, MPs expenses having done considerable damage to Labour, Time For A Change as a powerful force, Gordon Brown getting battered daily to take his ratings even lower, with your party’s finances in great shape while Labour was close to being bust, a hugely supportive media promoting the image of you as a new leader of a changed or at least changing Tory Party… why on earth didn’t you manage to win a majority?
“Well, there’s clearly something eating Alastair Campbell. How did I upset him so much? Look, I’m responsible for the election campaign and I take full responsibility for the result. We had a massive mountain to climb. We didn’t quite make it over the line. I think that at a time of economic difficulty, people were nervous of change. And we were quite frank that we’d have to make spending reductions and I think that probably held us back.”
A post I wrote back in August gives my view on why we lost the General Election in 2010, despite it being a Perfect Storm.