Friday, 8 April 2011

Confidence wanes in Cameron and the Coalition

I hope Prime Minister David Cameron’s short break in Granada with wife Samantha has re-charged his batteries, because he is facing a deepening crisis in confidence in his leadership at a critical time back home.
The public spending cuts still, for the most part, only threaten – as exemplified by the Sure Start Children’s Centre petition delivered to Downing Street this week – but they will soon draw blood.
Yet some of the Coalition’s key policy initiatives (albeit they weren’t in either Tory or LibDem manifestos) are looking decidedly rocky.
Health minister Andrew Lansley’s failure to ‘sell’ the root and branch National Health Service reorganisation to healthcare professionals has created, as he admits, “substantive concerns” leading to a “natural break” in the pace of the restructuring.
Meanwhile Business secretary Vince Cable is looking sicker every time another university sets its tuition fees at or close to the £9,000 a year ceiling. And now we have what looks like a re-think on defence spending cuts in light of our Libyan intervention.
LibDem leader Nick Clegg is feeling the heat. He complains he’s “not a punch-bag” - with next month’s battering in the council elections still to come.
Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph made a good case recently that Cameron’s weakness in his own party stems from the PM’s failure to win an outright majority over Labour last May. If he hadn’t been able to cobble the Coalition together, the Tory party would have dumped him.
Brogan highlights other fractures in the machinery of government. The worst of these being Cameron’s mistake in rubbing civil servants up the wrong way. It didn’t help his cause to call Whitehall mandarins the “enemies of enterprise” as he did recently.
Labour lost office over the issue of competence to such a degree that the Coalition has been able to maintain public support for its attack on the deficit ever since. The necessity for turning the health service and education, among much else, on their heads was taken on trust by the British public.
Until now, that is. The honeymoon period is over. The Coalition in general and David Cameron in particular have to show they know what they are doing. There’s no room for cock-ups, U-turns, call it what you will. Too many more of these will drive a wedge between the Coalition partners, the PM and his Party, and most importantly the public and the Government.


  1. It's all gung ho with the old etonians.

  2. Cameron must remember to take the electorate with him. He first must distinguish between cosmetic public relations and proper communication. [But then he does not need me to tell him that, or does he?] Re the Health Service 'reforms', he is already 'dead in the water': ergo the police, the armed forces, the libyan 'crusade', and uni fees. [Jaffa].


What do you think? GC