David Cameron is all talk and no trousers, says Karen Butler

He looks the part. He sounds the part. So what is it about David Cameron that makes him a less fearsome opponent than perhaps he should be?

There are plenty of attack lines that we like to believe about DC. He seems intellectually lightweight, incurious even, and sometimes astoundingly short on detail. He doesn’t seem to have any real beliefs or ideology and he rarely stands up well to interrogation. But these things can be hidden, even from himself, behind the pomp and the power, the celebrity and the blow-dried, well-suited veneer.

But last week on Uncut Dan Hodges articulated one of those truths that is both surprisingly new yet instantly recognisable: Cameron is a bottler.?? The child benefit row saw Cameron fail to withstand even a single day of rightwing criticism – something that his strategists will not just have been expecting but banking on, following their clever move to dare Labour’s new leader to defend benefits for the wealthy.

It seemed that half of his front bench hadn’t even heard of the policy before Cameron had watered it down by offering the sop of married tax breaks. And we’ve seen this time and again. Everyone knows that electoral success lives in the centre ground, and that such highly prized terrain is not easy to hold.

The nature of the centre is that you get attacked from both sides. Of course you do. That’s true wherever you are on the political spectrum. But we’re talking here about sensible criticism.?Leadership isn’t about refusing to listen to reason. Keynes famously said that “when the facts change, I change my opinion”. Only crazy dogmatists disagree. ??But leadership is also about providing a little bit of, well, leadership. It’s about withstanding the buffeting.

But from right and left, Cameron has given in. He has u-turned, backed down and scurried away. Every time he comes under pressure, he bottles it.?On facing down the 1922 committee, Cameron dipped his toe in the water, then ran for the hills as soon as things got a bit choppy.? On capital gains tax Dave made a bold move, stood firm – and then crumbled as soon as things got a bit spicy.?On cuts to the devolved nations in Wales. (Thankfully) on rape anonymity, time and again Cameron has failed to face down opposition.??On milk, our fearless leader gave his department free reign to think outside the box, but then as soon as the threat of a negative Daily Mail headline reared it’s head he about-turned quicker than you can say, “Thatcher Thatcher milk snatcher might have been unpopular, but she won three elections”.

He is five months in to the job, facing a largely sympathetic public, an untried opposition, and a Fleet Street so supine it’s as though his head of comms knows where the people calling the shots buried the bodies. And yet, Dave still can’t handle the pressure. ??Cameron’s undoing won’t be that he doesn’t have it upstairs or that he’s too posh to rule. It will come down to good old fashioned nerve.

Whatever you think of Thatcher and Blair they both had balls of steel. Cameron does not.? His blue blood can’t conceal his yellow streak.

Karen Butler is a pseudonym.

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4 Responses to “David Cameron is all talk and no trousers, says Karen Butler”

  1. Hobson says:

    It’s always a good idea to use pseudonym for a post as explosive as this.

  2. I do agree with the content of the posting.

    But it is amusing that the author chose to use a pseudonym 🙂

    Surely if you are accusing someone of cowardice you should not hide behind a pseudonym while doing it?

  3. Gary says:

    Very good article, but I too did lol at the use of a pseudonym. Highly ironic.

  4. AnneJGP says:

    It’s a large part of the fun for partisan people to mock & belittle the opposition. The trouble comes when you start to believe your own mockery.

    It seems that the only parts of Dan’s article that “Karen Butler” noticed were the 85% fun & games. That’s a pity, because I thought the 15% of real information/opinion painted quite a different picture.

    In my youth, I read a sci-fi story by (I think) Robert Heinlein & I’ve never forgotten one of the lines, spoken by a teenager:
    “Hey … have you ever noticed how Dad gets pushed around & pushed around until he gets his own way?”

    What we need to be looking at is what Mr Cameron is actually accomplishing, not how he’s going about it.

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