Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’

Uncut predictions for 2017 (and beyond): George Osborne is the next Prime Minister

08/01/2017, 10:06:14 PM

In the event of train wreck Brexit, or something near to it, the economic costs of Brexit are likely, unfortunately, to hit back pockets. This would have far more powerful political consequences than any slogan. But Osborne has put forward one of the best slogans since 23 June.

“Brexit won a majority. Hard Brexit did not.”

This slogan, in itself, does not change reality – but it positions Osborne to benefit when reality changes. The steeper the costs of Brexit, the sharper the political price paid by Theresa May, and the more dramatically political reality will shift.

As Nigel Farage cedes notions of a Brexit betrayal, blaming immigrants and foreigners for the costs of the unravelling that he so vehemently pushed for, it is hard, sadly, to rule out British politics taking an even sharper turn to the right. As much as this would benefit UKIP, PM Farage remains implausible.

As much as President Trump was also not so long ago unthinkable, a perhaps more likely scenario is a PM Osborne. He will be untarnished by any Brexit costs experienced under May. His opposition to hard Brexit would allow him to personify a change of direction, a return to the management deemed competent enough only 18 months ago, to deliver the Conservatives their first majority in nearly a quarter of a century, and more smoothly and credibly reach compromise positions with EU partners.

Misjudged party management drove David Cameron to a referendum. Its loss sparked a revolution in his party, requiring that a quiet remainder, May, can only wear its crown as an ardent Brexiter. If the costs of Brexit are large enough, they may power a counter revolution, and resurrect Osborne.

This series of events would have dramatic consequences for the UK and the EU but to a significant extent, this revolution was about the internal dynamics of the Conservative Party. Any counter revolution would be too.

A natural party of government with somewhat bipolar tendencies. It is their country. We just live in it. Till we can offer a better party to govern it. It shouldn’t be that hard, should it?

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The Uncuts: 2016 political awards (part I)

30/12/2016, 02:04:19 PM

Honorary Order of Suez – David Cameron

From triumph to tragedy, Uncut’s 2015 politician of the year is awarded the Honorary Order of Suez for 2016.

This is an extremely rare accolade, earned only by those politicians whose train-wreck judgement on a career-defining issue doesn’t just end their political life, but tips the country off a precipice into the dangerous unknown.

Anthony Eden is the one other politician to have qualified for this least sought after honorific. At a push, Edward Heath might have been considered in 1974 for calling, and losing, an election while at the mercy of striking unions. But David Cameron is the first politician to unequivocally clear the threshold for this prize since 1956.

Having become Conservative leader with a clear view that the Tories needed to “stop banging on about Europe,” David Cameron departs as Britain prepares to exit the EU with Europe set to dominate the next decade of British politics.

It’s hard to conceive of a greater or more personal political disaster for him. His manifold political successes – from beating David Davis for the Tory leadership to becoming Prime Minister in 2010, turning back Scottish independence in 2014 and winning an unprecedented majority at the 2015 election – will be wiped from the historical record. David Cameron will be remembered for one thing and one thing alone.

It is quite an extraordinary and dizzying fall.

British politician of the year – Theresa May

Getting to the top of the greasy pole merits recognition. Theresa May has hankered after the top job for many years and amidst the carnage of the post-Brexit Tory leadership campaign (see below Political suicide bomber of the year and Media moment of the year) she was literally the last candidate standing.

May’s ascent might have been comparative – less her rise, more others’ fall – but she is now resident in Number 10 and has the opportunity to define her governing creed.

Her challenges are plentiful and the whispers flowing out of Whitehall about micro-management and institutional sclerosis do not augur well. Her very Brownite journey to the top, defined by studied inaction, seems to have extended into a quintessentially Brownite management approach to the Number 10 in-tray.

Nevertheless, for the good of the country, Uncut wishes her well in understanding how Downing Street differs from every other department of state and a better fate than 2015’s Uncut British politician of the year.

Political suicide bomber of the year – Michael Gove

This is a special category created to recognise the extraordinary endeavours of Michael Gove in 2016.

He started the year as a family friend of the Camerons, a close political confidant of the Prime Minister Cameron and widely regarded as one of the smartest in the Cabinet with impeccable personal connections across the parliamentary party.

He ends it estranged from the Camerons, shunned by Prime Minister May, out of the Cabinet and with a new cadre of lifelong political enemies from the Boris Johnson campaign, sitting along-side him on the backbenches.

In 2016, Michael Gove couldn’t pass a bridge without burning it.

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Theresa May’s reputation for competence is the real casualty of the High Court Brexit ruling

03/11/2016, 10:35:52 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Tick tock, tick tock. That’s the sound of the clock running down on Theresa May’s Number 10 honeymoon.

New Prime Minister’s always enjoy a honeymoon with the press. It’s a time when personal idiosyncracies are viewed as signs of authenticity rather than awkward weirdness, mistakes are overlooked and the slightest success is a soaring triumph.

Four months into her premiership, May still enjoys the good favour of the media. But the High Court judgement on Brexit has brought the end of her honeymoon significantly closer.

The judges’ decision itself will be of negligible substantive impact.

The votes were always there on the floor of the House to force a vote on triggering Article 50.

When the government has a tiny majority, as with John Major’s premiership in the 1990s or with Harold Wilson and Jim Callaghan in the 1970s, the political agenda is driven by the legislature not the executive.

However, the ruling will have an impact on the perception of Theresa May among the media and shape how they report her tenure in office.

Judgement is an invaluable commodity for a politician.

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When does the autopsy on the Remain campaign begin?

21/09/2016, 08:06:07 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Three months after the Remain campaign crashed to defeat, there is ne’er a squeak in British politics about what went wrong.

This is strange. Surely an autopsy on a losing campaign is entirely logical and much needed?

Where did the high hopes and expectations of Remainers come unstuck? When was the moment the voting public decided they wanted to jump the other way?

There’s lots of analysis about the effects of Brexit (with the Fabians weighing in just this week), but nothing about the campaign itself.

Perhaps the absence of any hint of organised reflection and public analysis is explained by the reaction of many hard-core Remainers.

They refuse to come out of the jungle and accept the war is over. Denialism is rampant.

They want to play on after the allotted 90 minutes. To continue boxing for a 13th round. Any excuse to avoid the glaring conclusion: they lost.

‘Ah but Leave promised to spend £350 million more on the NHS, that’s why they won.’

Their lies were better than our lies.

‘There should be a second referendum’.

Best out of three?

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If Labour MPs want to make ending free movement a Brexit red line, they’d better be ready to leave the single market

20/09/2016, 10:35:24 PM

by Atul Hatwal

One of the reasons the Labour party is in such a terrible state is that the many of moderate mainstream, those meant to offer an alternative to Corbyn, are so bad at the basics in politics.

Yesterday’s foray into the debate on freedom of movement by Rachel Reeves, Emma Reynolds and Stephen Kinnock, was a case study in ineptitude.

By arguing that ending free movement to reduce migration should be a red line in Brexit negotiations, they have constructed an argument that will not survive first contact with a journalist and set a broader public expectation which can never be met.

The obvious immediate question which journalists will ask these MPs is whether they are prepared to leave the single market?

If the central European states such Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, western European states such as France and EU President Juncker stick to their public position of vetoing any reform, are these MPs prepared for hard Brexit?

Will they back a version of leaving the EU that would see the flight of financial services from the City of London, the movement of major manufacturers like the Japanese car makers to the continent, the imposition of a hard border between northern and southern in Ireland and condemn tens of thousands of their constituents to the dole?

Seriously?

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Cameron’s resignation spells trouble for May

13/09/2016, 09:50:58 PM

by David Ward

It’s fair to say May hasn’t been tested so far.

With Labour trapped in a spiral of decline part demographic, part self inflicted, her real threat comes from her own benches.

She has an unenviable in-tray. Brexit, a large deficit with an economy stuck in first gear, growing unease with establishment parties, and growing pressure to make a real difference on housebuilding.

Readers of Uncut may well feel some of these are of the Conservative party’s own making. Nevertheless, her challenge is to deal with them while keeping a wafer thin majority intact.

Of course, as Echo and the Bunnymen advised us, nothing ever lasts forever. And you can usually tell what will bring a Prime Minister down before it happens. From David Cameron’s fondness for a gamble to Thatcher’s unshakeable belief in her own ideas.

Cameron’s resignation yesterday is a neat example of one of May’s looming problems. Her hasty clearout of the Cameroons and their ideas. Having made enemies amongst the left of her party, May must curry favour with the right, whose darlings include Liam Fox and David Davis.

Yet this only opens up arguments with former ‘modernisers’.

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David Cameron flunks his final test

13/09/2016, 07:43:37 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Twenty years. That’s what it will take for David Cameron’s name to be anything other than a byword for political failure. In the 2030s a new generation of Conservative politicians, untainted by the assumptions of their political forbears will rediscover David Cameron like some long lost Beatles recording.

I recall the process well from the mid-1990s when many of us working for the Labour party unearthed our own Rare Groove classics: Jim Callaghan and Harold Wilson.

When nostalgia and retro-chic return Cameron to relevance he will be 69.

Just three years older than the current leader of the Labour party, one year older than Hillary Clinton, most likely the next President of the United States and one year younger than Donald Trump, god forbid, the next President of the United States.

Instead of ascending to the highest office in his profession, based on a life of experience, David Cameron’s most productive working years will be spent trailing around the world engaged in lucrative but transitory and ultimately hollow pursuits.

He branded himself the heir to Blair a decade ago and as he travels through his fifties and sixties, David Cameron will truly take-up this mantle.

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Theresa May is eminently beatable. Labour just need a leader up to the job

12/07/2016, 10:43:11 AM

by Atul Hatwal

The ascension of a new party leader is usually a time for rushed, breathless hagiographies and fears among opponents, within and without their party, that a new tide will sweep away their forces.

Allow me to demur.

Theresa May has demonstrated many qualities to become prime minister designate, but her position is far from imperious.

For those of us around in Westminster in the 1990s, there are some recognisable contours to the new political landscape that now confronts Labour, following the tsunami of the past three weeks.

A major economic event fundamentally that changes the narrative on who can be trusted on the economy. Personal enmities and ideological divisions spilling into public view across the Conservative party. A Tory leader facing the prospect of recession while trying to protect a small parliamentary majority.

It all feels rather familiar.

In the 1990s, the starting point was Black Wednesday. In the mid-2010s, it’s Brexit.

In 1992, Sterling’s exit from the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM) re-defined the Tories’ image of economic competence. Whatever the rights and wrongs of leaving the ERM, it became the prism through which the ongoing recession was reported.

In the process, the Conservatives became associated with a deadly combination of economic incompetence and pain.

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Brexit poses existential challenges for Labour, the UK and the EU

25/06/2016, 09:28:47 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Labour is over. The UK is over. The EU is over. For sake of something that Daniel Hannan now concedes won’t necessarily happen: a fall in immigration.

We have conspired to legitimise Nicola Sturgeon’s call for a second Scottish referendum: a vote that seems likely to precipitate the UK’s breakup. Another vote in Northern Ireland may create a united Ireland around 100 years after partition.

While Jeremy Corbyn may be pleased by Ireland’s reunification, the breakup of the UK, closing off any Scottish Labour recovery within the union, reduces the prospect of Labour government. And this may not even be Labour’s biggest problem. Within England, the referendum exposed the perhaps unbridgeable divide between Labour’s liberal, metropolitan and socially conservative, provincial supporters.

The French cousins of that latter group dance to Marie Le Pen’s tune. The EU will muddle through Brexit but not Frexit, as President Le Pen threatens.

It is hard to believe that Boris Johnson – a Conservative and Unionist MP – intends the UK’s breakup; that Gisela Stuart wishes Labour to be so weakened; that the usually Whiggish Michael Gove wants the Europe that historian Sir Ian Kershaw sees opening up: “28 competing countries and in the hands of Le Pen, Orban, Kaczynski and the nationalists, a Europe breaking up.”

But that is where Johnson, Stuart and Gove – by acquiescing with the poison of Nigel Farage – have left us, which is unforgivable.

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The EU referendum is Cameron’s mess. So of course the media try to blame Jeremy Corbyn

15/06/2016, 05:31:29 PM

by Jon and Libby Bounds

The leavers are rising in the polls and everyone is starting to get scared that they might actually win. And, of course, it’s Jeremy Corbyn’s fault.

It’s not unusual for Corbyn to come under attack, he doesn’t sing loud enough, or bow at the proper angle, and he baulks at the idea of mutual mass destruction. And we all know what Cameron thinks about his suit and tie. But what is odd is that this time around he’s effectively being criticised for not coming to the aid of his opponent in his hour of need.

David Cameron is struggling to get his message across. For the first time his privilege is not buying him an easy ride with an unusually un-supplicant press: and he’s looking to those with experience of not having everything their own way.

Cameron did not see this coming, but in many ways he is the architect of his own downfall. The establishment is trying to pin the blame on the Labour leadership but everything about this is a Tory mess. Even leaving aside that the very referendum is Cameron’s own fault – a self-serving promise to prevent haemorrhaging even more votes and party “loonies” to UKIP – the actions of the Tories have created a situation in which rational argument has lost its power and a new idiocracy rides the waves of ill-informed public opinion.

When Ed Miliband said that the media has focused on the “sexy blue-on-blue action” in covering the referendum campaign, he may have made Today programme listeners push away their boiled eggs, but he was right. Labour has been hamstrung in getting the socialist case for remaining in the EU across, not through a lack of passion, but through a lack of coverage.

Labour (and especially Ed) are used to this, but it is the first time that sections of the Conservatives have been on the wrong side of the tactics that they have spent the last 10 years developing.

So successfully have they terrified the BBC into a false version of impartiality they call ‘balance’, that ideas are never challenged, only countered. Lies are given equal weight to the truth.

And the right wing press doesn’t even have to pretend to be impartial. So if a view – or most frustratingly a fact – isn’t palatable to the owners and their editors then it will get the shortest of shrift. This is a problem. Yes, social media and the internet means that we can go beyond newspaper bias to get to more of the truth – but only if we have the time, critical analysis skills and networks to do so. (more…)

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