Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’

Labour needs to end its pathetic war on the media

12/04/2016, 09:38:50 PM

by Samuel Dale

Labour MP Angela Raynor is interesting. She is shadow pensions minister but despite a time of huge upheaval in both public and private pensions provision, she rarely talks publicly about her patch.

Instead, the former union rep focuses her ire on a vast array of issues beyond her brief such as the steel crisis or – the favourite of most Corbynite Labour MPs today – criticizing the press.

Last Wednesday, prime minister David Cameron admitted he had more than $30,000 held in an offshore trust that he withdrew in January 2010. It was a stunning admission after days of evading questions over the Panama Papers.

At 10pm on Wednesday, Raynor tweeted: “I bet the right-wing press will hardly cover Cameron confession, front page will be a silly non-story on an obscure topic #curseofcameron”

By 11pm, the front pages of all major newspapers had been published and the story was splashed on the Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Independent, Mirror, Daily Express and Metro. It also made the second story on the front page of the Sun.

Obviously she was completely wrong. But more importantly, it is typical in the party today. Even when Labour is getting good coverage, it is blinded by its hatred of the press.

On Friday morning, a reporter from LBC door-stepped Jeremy Corbyn to ask what he thought about the criticism around Cameron’s offshore holdings.

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Remain will win easily. Boris will be irrelevant and immigration will barely register in voters’ choice

23/02/2016, 12:47:38 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Last year, in the aftermath of the general election it looked like Westminster had learnt that the economy and leadership are central to determining the public’s voting intention at the big electoral tests.

Now we have an EU referendum looming and there’s been a bout of collective amnesia.

Yes, I know this is not a general election but the same formula of economy and leadership is relevant for largely the same reasons as last year.

Immigration is the issue that many Brexiteers think will tip the balance their way. But just as Ukip found last year, they’re misreading the polls.

There is a very familiar gap between the number who view immigration as the most important issue facing the country and those who view it as important to their household’s well-being.

At the general election, 51% thought immigration was the key issue facing Britain but only 21% believed it mattered most to their lives.

Unsurprisingly, immigration was not a major factor in the contest.

In the last poll to ask the relevant questions, by YouGov, from last September – following a summer of daily coverage of refugees travelling to Europe – the number citing immigration as the most important national issue was the highest on record at 71%. But the number who thought it most important for their family was 24% – a gap of 47%.

Think about that for a moment.

Even after a summer of non-stop reporting of fleeing refugees entering Europe, lurid stories from the Calais “jungle” and hyperbolic headlines, the proportion thinking that immigration mattered most for their lives rose by just 3% from 21% at the election to 24% at the start of September.

In comparison, in the same poll, the number saying the economy was the most important issue for their household was 40%. That’s 16% ahead of immigration.

In every single poll conducted by YouGov in the five and half years that they’ve been asking these questions, this gap has never been less than 16%.

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I’m a Conservative and Britain needs a credible opposition. Are we likely to get one any time soon?

09/02/2016, 05:53:16 PM

by John Wall

I was as surprised as many when the exit poll result was announced on election night although I’d experienced negative feelings towards Labour on the doorsteps.

It’s disappointing that elections have become presidential but Cameron consistently polled better than Miliband who reminded me of the earnest students I encountered at University, those for whom “out with the trots” didn’t mean an upset stomach. They burned with zealotry to right some perceived wrong and always seemed to be campaigning, protesting or expressing “solidarity”.

Despite claiming to support the many rather than the few, sufficient of the many, as Lord Ashcroft found considered that Labour “no longer seem to stand up for people like me”. Against a confident incumbent “Blair’s heir” who had a growing economy and falling unemployment Miliband’s failure is understandable.

Despite some glowing character references, largely from lefties (!), in Corbychev I see a cold, humourless lefty and there is a good reason for that – he is a cold, humourless lefty! He has the wearisome attitude of someone who wonders why he needs to explain his self evident “truths” to lesser mortals.

It’s difficult to see a fundamental difference to Miliband, the polls indicate that the more the public see of him the less they like him, and again he’s appealing to the few rather than the many.

From my perspective, and, yes, I’m “Tory Scum” who, come the revolution, will be first against the wall, I believe that a credible opposition is essential.

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Thanks to Corbyn, I might not vote Labour. Here’s how the Tories could win my vote in 2020

05/02/2016, 03:06:31 PM

by Samuel Dale

I have a confession to make. If David Cameron was Conservative leader in 2020 fighting an election against a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour then I would have no choice. I’d vote Conservative for the first time in my life.

I wouldn’t duck the choice with a vote for Tim Farron’s ludicrous Liberal Democrats. Farron has done nothing to build on some of Nick Clegg’s smart, centrist positioning while detoxifying the party from its shambolic U-turns and dreadfully naïve politics when in coalition.

Nope, it’s Tory or Labour at a general election. It’s about choosing a prime minister and there is no doubt that Cameron is better than Corbyn.

We are all familar with how Corbyn has gleefully abandoned Labour moderates and centrists. His pacifism and masochistic foreign policy, opposition to Trident renewal, business policy, monetary policy, income tax levels and much more beside, make him unpalatable to me.

So how can the Tories capitalise. Cameron won’t be leader in 2020 and Corybn may not be either. The real question for Conservatives is, how much do they want my vote and thousands like it. Blairite, pro-EU liberals comfortable with high levels of immigration and capitalism but worried about inequality. Corbyn has opened the space, can they take it?

The Conservatives have made no secret of their desire to (occasionally) pitch to people like me since their May election victory. It’s not easy to prise away Labour tribalists but are making good progress.

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Britain’s EU referendum must be fought on the future

02/02/2016, 10:45:36 PM

by Callum Anderson

As David Cameron edges closer to a final agreement with the European Commission and the other 27 Member States, both Leave and Remain campaigns struggle to wrest control and momentum ahead of a possible plebiscite this summer.

Whenever the referendum takes place, Britons will have to make their biggest decision for more than a generation. One that should be definitive and non-reversible. One that will ultimately decide Britain’s place in the twenty-first century.

Opinion polls – if we still trust them – have been highly volatile and are likely to remain so, with challenges such as terrorism and the migrant crisis looming large.

It, of course, goes without saying that Britain Stronger In Europe, backed by organisations such as British Influence and Labour’s In for Britain, must continue to make a positive case for Britain’s membership in the EU and call out the myths spread by the Eurosceptics.

The economic benefits – jobs, trade and investment – must be messages unceasingly repeated to citizens on the doorstep.

Equally, as Jim Murphy articulated superbly last summer, Britons must be reminded that the EU has not only been a free-trade area but also responsible for one of the great moral triumphs of our time: the establishment of democracy and the rule of law in the south and east of Europe.

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We are locked in a Dad’s Army politics of the left and right

02/02/2016, 02:44:44 PM

by Jonathan Todd

As Europe faces its biggest refugee crisis since World War II, our prime minister tours the continent talking tax credits. The puniness of David Cameron next to the magnitude of events, the narrow, inward focus of his preoccupations, means that if he were a film he’d be a Dad’s Army remake.

Why, Peter Bradshaw not unreasonably asks in his Guardian review, do we need this film?

The answer, Uncut suspects, is involved with an observation previously made by Bradshaw’s Guardian colleague, Jonathan Freedland: “We have turned 1939-45 into a kind of creation myth, the noble story of modern Britain’s birth”. Basking in this myth is preferable to the grim reality of Europe’s shared contemporary challenges.

During World War II, Freedland argues, “we were unambiguously on the side of good. That, of course, is a key difference between us and our fellow Europeans, for whom that period is anything but simple or unambiguous.” The war has inculcated a sense of Britain, separate and special. This is reinforced as consistently on the printed pages of the Daily Mail as the Kardashians feature in its digital edition, wildly popular in the US. Soft porn celebrity, soft porn history.

While it is to be hoped that no one invested in Dad’s Army anticipating box office on the continent, some jokes amid the myth do little harm. It is our myth, our humour, our film. Let’s not expect it to pack Berlin cinemas.

Entertainment is one thing; politics is another. Politics ought to be more than myth peddling. But that is what Cameron provides when he claims that tax credit collection by citizens of other EU countries in the UK is the big issue now facing us and the rest of the Europe.

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Doesn’t anyone check what Cameron says?

02/01/2016, 08:00:36 AM

by Kevin Meagher

David Cameron famously doesn’t believe in “green crap”, but that didn’t stop him recycling his New Year message slogan.

His pledge to focus on knotty social problems in order to build a ‘Greater Britain’ is a neat enough line, until you remember its unfortunate antecedents.

It was the title of Oswald Mosley’s 1932 tome extolling his vision of a British fascist state.

Meanwhile, the campaign group formed in the early 1960s by Britain’s most notorious post-war Nazi agitator, John Tyndall, was called the Greater Britain Movement.

Okay, it’s a small gaffe in the grand scheme of things. But it’s emblematic too of just how slack Cameron’s Downing Street ‘chumocracy’ is. It’s the kind of mistake that would never have been made under Blair or Brown (or, indeed, Thatcher).

It reemphasises how Cameron is beatable, but also how Jeremy Corbyn’s team should be much sharper in exploiting these kinds of miscues.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

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The Uncuts: 2015 political awards (part I)

31/12/2015, 12:56:58 PM

Politician of the year: David Cameron

It’s easy to overlook David Cameron. The political news is dominated by Labour’s travails while the Conservatives seem more pre-occupied with their leadership succession.

But there David Cameron sits in Number 10 as prime minister, with a Conservative majority and a wide lead over Labour in the polls.

During the general election campaign, he was virtually written-off. Even Uncut, one of the few sites that consistently predicted a triumph for Cameron’s Tories over Ed Miliband’s Labour (here’s one, from almost exactly a year ago), did not see the Tory majority coming.

David Cameron defeated the last vestiges of New Labour when he beat Gordon Brown in 2010. He’s now beaten the soft left alternative in Ed Miliband and played a central role in driving the Labour party over the edge of electability with the hard left Jeremy Corbyn.

The Prime Minister dominates the centre ground and has put the Tories in their strongest position since the early 1980s. Several Labour MPs privately talk of the prospect of Tory rule until at least 2030 as a likely prospect.

And now, as David Cameron enters the New Year, he is ideally placed in his final major battle: to keep Britain in the EU. The polls are tilting his way with all of the evidence pointing towards a decisive break in his favour among undecideds when he claims to have secured a significant reform deal.

Despite the grim Tory expectations at the start of the year, the doubts of most of the media and his own avoidable missteps, such as pre-announcing his own resignation before the general election campaign, 2015 will go down as David Cameron’s annus mirabilis.

Media disaster: Edstone

Every general election has one of those moments that defines the losing  campaign.

In 1992, it was the row over the Jennifer’s ear party election broadcast for Labour. In 1997, it was the Tories’ doomed Demon Eyes poster.

In 2015 it was the Edstone.

It is hard to describe just how blood-chillingly awful the idea of carving Labour’s key pledges on an 8-foot granite tombstone was.

The metaphors were obvious, so blatantly obvious, in fact, that the idea should have been strangled the moment it fell out of the mouth of the person who proposed it. For good measure, they should have been strangled too.

Like everyone else coming to this a bit late one drowsy Sunday morning, I saw #EdStone trending on Twitter and assumed it was some metaphorical remark he had made about his word ‘being like a tablet of stone’ or some such.

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Three Labour reflections on Tory conference

08/10/2015, 03:27:12 PM

by Atul Hatwal

It’s always an odd experience attending Tory conference (I was there to speak for the Migration Matters Trust at a fringe), particularly this year. As a Labour member it felt almost like Her Majesty’s Opposition had ceased to exist as a practical concern for the Tories.

Here are three reflections on how and why.

1.The protests have utterly toxified Labour’s relationship with the media

It’s not nice being spat at. Or being called scum. Nor seeing women being called whores and threatened with rape.

That’s the experience virtually everybody attending Tory conference had at the start of the week.

The people shouting and spitting weren’t necessarily Labour party members or supporters but the ideological comity between Labour’s leadership and the more extreme protesters is clear.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell is on the record as backing “insurrection” and “direct action” and there were plenty of Labour members and even parliamentary staffers on Twitter, eager to Corbsplain the abuse.

For the journalists, whose words and pictures will frame public views of the party, Tory conference indelibly connected the dots between Labour’s leadership and the nutters.

Beyond the horrendous nature of the experience for the journalists, it set a prism, one of extremism, through which most will now perceive – even sub-consciously – Labour politics.

It would be a miracle if this then didn’t shape their reporting.

2.The Tory leadership succession will dominate UK politics for the next few years (more…)

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Of course #Piggate is nonsense, but it exposes weaknesses in Cameron’s Tory party

22/09/2015, 10:27:09 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Like most people, I didn’t think I would find myself writing about whether or not a young David Cameron inserted his penis into the severed head of a pig in order to join one of those ghastly upper-crust Oxbridge dinin’n’cavortin’ clubs, but, here we are, having a good giggle at his expense.

But behind the head shaking wonderment at how the other half lives lie some interesting revelations about how Cameron deals with people and how he copes in a crisis.

  1. The first is that a Conservative peer and former political editor of the Conservative-supporting Sunday Times (Isabel Oakeshott) are responsible for bringing the grisly revelation to light. Lord Ashcroft, for it is he, is quite open about his “beef” with Cameron for not apparently honouring a promise of a government job after 2010. So is this his elaborate revenge? If so, it doesn’t say much for Cameron’s people management skills that he cannot handle his dealings with the biggest single donor to his party over the last 15 years and, perhaps, that he cannot honour a deal.

    But what of the source for the story? Ashcroft/Oakeshott insist it was a Conservative MP (and assumed contemporary of Cameron) who repeated the tale to them, on several occasions. Cui bono? And why the alacrity in sticking the knife into their own leader?

  1. Then there’s the handling of the revelation itself. Downing Street initially poured cold water on the story, haughtily refusing to “dignify” the allegation with a response. This avoids the follow-up headline: ‘Cam rejects claim he put his penis in a pig’s mouth,’ but it’s also a classic ‘non-denial denial’. It urges us to move along without actually rubbishing the veracity of the tale.

    Indeed, it’s interesting there has been no retinue of Conservative MPs hitting the airwaves to denounce it. (It comes to something when Toby Young is the ‘go to guy’ to offer Downing Street’s off-the-books counter-spin). Perhaps Tory MPs calculate that being on the right side of Michael Ashcroft is better for their long-term prospects than helping out a Prime Minister who will be gone in the next four years?

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