Cameron’s holiday from political common sense

by Kevin Meagher

So Dave and Sam have bid “Adios!” to miserable old Blighty and jetted off to Granada for a sneaky break to celebrate the missus’s 40th.

In our belt-tightening times, Downing Street spinners are keen to point out the first couple flew by easyjet and that they are staying in a “mid-market” hotel.

Of course, if you’re a couple of minted minor blue-bloods, staying in a three-star family hotel is more “downmarket” than “mid market”. Still, I can’t quite see them draped across a couple of sun loungers like the middle-aged swingers in Benidorm.

Or perhaps that’s precisely how Dave expects to reconnect with beleaguered Brits. Taking a budget holiday that may still be just about affordable to many. Not the swinging bit.

But when he’s finished there’s the return to think about. Will he come back like Jim Callaghan, tanned and refreshed from an economic summit in Guadeloupe in 1978 and utter something to rival: “Crisis, what crisis?”

Of course Sunny Jim never actually used that particular formulation. It was paraphrased tabloid-speak. But it was the symbolism that mattered. As it does now. In a week that saw “Black Wednesday”, when the full putrid blast of the coalition cuts hit the public for the first time, there’s a question mark over Cameron’s political common sense.

What does he think people will make of his little jaunt? “Good on the multimillionaire politician who’s just trebled my kid’s tuition fees. I’m sure all that doctrinaire right-wingery takes it out of you. Put your feet up son”.

I’ll bet his election candidates aren’t mad about his holiday either. Not while they are being chased off doorsteps the length and breadth of Britain. And if the AV vote now gets passed, his absence from the battlefield will slice his political credibility thinner than a piece of Serrano ham.

Okay, the job’s stressful, but Gordon Brown’s gnarled fingertips needed to be prised from the doorframe of Downing Street, such was his alacrity at the prospect of a lazy summer holiday. At the top level of politics it is Brown who had it right. Why spend every waking hour inching up the greasy poll only to waste time soaking up the rays? Savour every minute of the job – you won’t have it for long. And unnecessary travelling is surely the very last thing a prime minister needs.

And for the sake of a two day break? Really, why waste any political capital at all? Get Sam a nice necklace. Or, better still, a holiday in Britain. The tourist industry lobby would at least thank him.

Work-life balance for a prime minister? Forget it. If ever a job is going to be all consuming, this is it. And rightly so. Reading Peter Watt’s excellent description of the demands of being Labour’s general-secretary on Uncut yesterday was bad enough. Politics is nuts. Always has been, always will be.

Plenty time to put your feet up when you’ve been booted out. As Cameron will, in turn, come to realise.

And the same goes for Batman’s boy wonder, Nick Clegg. He’s moaning that he doesn’t see his kids enough in his weird interview with today’s New Statesman. Wrong job mate. Still, there’s a remedy for that too.

This morning’s papers are full of pictures of the first couple wandering around Granada looking casual, but strangely pensive too. Cameron knows he can’t look like he’s enjoying himself too much.

No champers tonight, a local cava will do. And check out any early bird meal deals. Sorry Sam, the only lobster you’re going to see is when your husband’s pasty mush turns pink.

Doubtless we will be treated to details of their room rates, restaurant selections, what gifts they bought, who they sat next to on the plane et cetera.

So why bother going?

Amid the pictures of a scruffy-looking PM mooching around in his dirty old trainers we must hope, however, that we will be spared any further images of Cameron’s hairless torso emerging from a pool.

The people of Britain have suffered enough.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Labour Uncut

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9 Responses to “Cameron’s holiday from political common sense”

  1. Henrik says:

    You know, it’s that sort of mean-spirited, unfunny, resentful and malicious bile directed at the man, rather than the office or the policy, which so neatly sums up why you guys lost.

    I’m sure you got your core vote chuckling along at your piece and if that was the aim of the exercise, well done, result. If, on the other hand, you were hoping to establish that Labour is no longer the party of the smirking adolescent spreading gossip and innuendo about their opponents (note, *opponents*, not enemies), I’m afraid I’m unconvinced. That could have been a McBride piece.

  2. william says:

    Five million lost votes since 1997.Does a piece like this encourage those voters to turn to Labour?

  3. Rob says:

    Especially as we remember labour ministers skiing while our soldiers died, or Blair off on some yacht belonging to some billionaire,.

  4. iain ker says:

    Hey, hey, folks, give the kid a break.

    OK so it’s not funny, but we know the pretrendie left can’t do comedy.

    I mean have you ever been to a Marcus Brigstocke gig no me neither,

  5. Kevin says:

    Gents, that lick of air that’s ruffled your feathers so much was The Point whizzing past you.

    Read the title again: ‘Cameron’s holiday from political common sense’. It displays lousy judgment and a lack of feeling for the mood of the country to toddle off for a break in the week that thousands receive their P45s and the spending cuts really begin to bite. Or perhaps you disagree?

    The reason this cabinet of millionaires are making – and will continue to make – bad choices is they live in a rarified, cloistered world where the effects of their egregious decisions don’t actually blow back on their lives.

    We started the week hearing coalition concerns about social mobility and it with the PM on his hols. Well, that’s certainly one definition of ‘social mobility’ I suppose.

    Henrik – not quite clear how I’m spreading “gossip and innuendo”. I read about Dave’s hol in this morning’s Daily Mail. So it must all be true.

    Oh and I’m sorry if you gentler souls among Labour’s opponents think people like me should ease up aiming “malicious bile” (as you put it) at poor old Dave and Nick in case it offends their delicate sensibilities.

    But given Cleggie cries when he hears music, you’re not giving us much to work with.

  6. Henrik says:


    Thanks for the response. There may well have been a political point worth making in your piece – albeit a thin one, if I grasped it correctly, it was:

    a. The Coalition government has lots of members who are wealthy and hence don’t understand ordinary folk.
    b. The Prime Minister should not go on holiday – with Gordon Brown quoted as an example of a hugely competenent, wise and respected leader who disliked holidays.
    c. Even if the PM should choose to ignore your advice and go on holiday, he shouldn’t do so when an austerity programme is ongoing.

    Fine, if those are the points, then consider them made.

    Now, let’s talk about tone and delivery for a moment. The sort of hectoring you indulge in, including heavy-handed sarcasm and barely-suppressed dislike, incorporating gratuitous personal insult, no doubt plays well to the peanut gallery of trades union officials, workers for ‘charities’ which depend absolutely upon taxpayers’ money to do their thing and Labour Party apparatchiks and if your aim was to entertain them, well done, direct hit, I imagine the breakfast bars of Islington and Clapham are echoing with the laughter of your audience.

    Meanwhile, out in the big wide world, folk are still waiting to hear from Labour a single good reason why they should vote for them. I understand it’s too soon for detailed policies, but a snapshot of the desired end state would be good – a vision of how society might work, how the country might be positioned globally, how politics might work – all that sort of good stuff – would be very welcome. It would be particularly helpful to the electorate (the majority of whom, remember, don’t work for the government, except to the extent that we pay for it) if Labour were to explain how what they’re proposing differs from the bag of nuts they produced last time around.

    As to the social isolation of the Coalition, do me a favour. Labour’s nomenklatura exists in a precisely equivalent bubble of media/public sector/party think-tank/academic privilege.

  7. iain ker says:

    in the week that thousands receive their P45s


    Sorry, Kevin, I missed that story – did you feature it on here?

    (or did you just make it up?)

  8. Laura says:

    Add me to the non-tribalists who find this kind of thing completely off-putting. Most people don’t admire Gordon Brown’s workaholism, any more than they admire Thatcher’s habit of only sleeping four hours a night. It certainly didn’t seem to help either of them make a better stab at running the country. Everyone needs a holiday, and arguing that because some people don’t have that opportunity no-one should have it is absurd. Where do you draw the line? Should Manchester’s Labour councillors also be refusing vacations to show their solidarity with the people they’ve

    As for tuition fees, anyone who sincerely believes that Labour would have done anything other than implement the Browne report in full is deluding themselves.

  9. iain ker says:

    Most people don’t admire Gordon Brown’s workaholism.


    No, in fact most people criticise him for drawing a salary from the taxpayer, rarely turning up at Parliament, and having not very many surgeries.

    Though in fairness, he may be workaholicing at *something*, just nothing that we’re paying him for.

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