I miss smug DavePosted: May 20, 2013
I don’t like David Cameron. I always thought his “nice Conservatives” angle was a front and I definitely understood why many people regarded him as smug. He did carry himself with confidence and like he knew what he was doing, which can be annoying to those of us riddled by self doubt and just drifting through life.
It probably helped that he was going up against Gordon Brown, who was horrendously unpopular at the time.
Cameron won the 2010 election and became Prime Minister and for a while smug Dave continued- most of the problems could be blamed on the guy who’d had the job before him and opposition was weak. He’d formed a coalition with Britain’s 3rd party the Lib Dems, so they weren’t giving him too much grief and the Labour party had to sort out getting a new leader, so that gave him a reprieve.
The fact that Labour opted for Ed Milliband must have been a relief to Cameron because I can’t remember any opposition leader who’s been as uninspiring. Seriously, leader of the opposition is probably the cushiest job in politics, as you basically fire shots at the PM and say how you’d do things differently without having to worry about acting on those ideas.
But 3 years in, and smug Dave is slipping and Cameron is looking less sure of himself. The next election is due in 2015, and Cameron should nail that, but mainly because there’s no serious contenders. However, recently he’s appeared a little rattled.
Bizarrely the cause for this is fringe party UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party), previously regarded as nothing more than a gang of Europhobic douches. I mean, this was a party where one of the major players was Robert Kilroy-Silk, for crying out loud.
Kilroy was best known for his TV chat show which was kind of like The Jerry Springer Show, but with a twist- no matter the subject of the episode nobody was ever as loathsome as the show’s host. Kilroy was an intensely smug and slappable bloke who’s television career was a complete mystery.
UKIP bizarrely became a force to be reckoned with, despite being led by Nigel Farage, a man who seems incapable of being photographed without looking like an old Punch cartoon of a dim witted aristo;
UKIP gathered momentum and seemed to be snatching away Tory voters and a testimony to this was their recent success at council elections (for those unfamiliar with UK politics this is low level local government). With Tory voters abandoning ship Cameron was in a conundrum.
He’d been dissing them for quite a while and suddenly they were a serious problem. While they’re pretty far from being a major force, they were stealing Tory voters, which put him on shakier ground. Ridiculing them had been easy, but now it seemed that Tory advisers were telling him this was the wrong tack and he should be trying to lure back the disillusioned Tories who’d been leaving.
Bollocks to that.
I’m no political analyst or strategic genius (my laptop routinely kicks my ass in chess) but I’d have advised keeping going with the mocking. Tear them to shreds, draw attention to some of their nuttier/dodgier members (of which there are several) and undermine them at every opportunity. Make the party a joke and by association anyone who votes for them a fool, and those deserters will come back. Cameron could have turned the screws and crushed his enemy, seen them driven before him and heard the lamentations of their women.
But instead there was a major lurch to the right.
It was a massive overcompensation in the face of a minor threat (council election victories doesn’t guarantee success in the General Election) and I think it made the PM look weak. He seemed to have lost control and was scrabbling around in the dirt trying to snatch up a relatively small group of supporters from a party which has never been taken that seriously.
It made him look so bad even Ed Miliband managed to land a decent zinger on him, saying of Cameron’s approach to UKIP:
They used to call them clowns. Now they want to join the circus.
It’s a good line.
Panicked Cameron announced plans for a referendum on Europe, playing into UKIP hands and toughened up his stance on immigrants, another issue central to the rift forming in the party, and always an easy target.
Cameron’s been reeling and it’s set a worrying precedent for him giving ground to the section of his party on the right. The Tories have always been to the right of centre, but Cameron has in some ways been a force for good, much as I dislike him. He seems commited to marriage equality and I’d be hugely disappointed in him if he abandoned this just to keep the old guard on side.
I’ve never fully trusted Cameron and his nice guy front, but at least he always seemed to be doing what he thought was best. This shift to recapture the defectors is not a good sign, and the worrying question is how far will he go. If he’s willing to play up to the UKIP crowd to get back votes it’s not unreasonable to think that were right wing scumbags the BNP to start pinching Tory votes he’d start trying to play to that audience.
I’m not saying that UKIP are as bad as the BNP, who are a whole other level of oxygen thieves, but there’s probably a little overlap. Farage himself discussed the fact that around one in three BNP members would vote for UKIP, which should really be enough to have told him he’s doing something wrong. If BNP members are on side with you then you’re definitely a baddie.
And even the EDL (English Defence League) have given the party support.
Taking a step towards UKIP is taking a step towards these two organizations and you should never move towards either of them. Unless you’re waving a bloody big stick.
So come on Dave, get back to being more self assured and don’t bother with these nutbars, I suspect that they’ll turn out to be the agents of their own demise anyway.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.