Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#Leveson : #Cameron The Arthur Dailey Of Westminster.


Increasingly, Mr Cameron’s enemies conclude that he is a privileged lightweight, for whom this is just another excuse to get his name gilded on the board. (His wife Sam, for whom moving into Downing Street was a downward step, tells her friends only half in jest that she plans to whisk her husband out of there as soon as possible to save him from the madness that previous residents of No 10 have fallen prey to.)

The more the Government looks shaky, the more the insouciance of the man in charge looks complacent. Where once he was praised for showing a cool head in a crisis, now he is taken to task for whistling while all burns around him. Quiet competence looks like aloofness, verging on arrogance. Now that the true extent of his cosying up to Rupert Murdoch has been exposed, the questions about Mr Cameron’s style are morphing into ones about his judgment and are coming perilously close to touching on his integrity.

The public administration select committee published a useful report yesterday highlighting the Government’s lack of an overarching strategic direction. Its “inability to express coherent and relevant strategic aims is one of the factors leading to mistakes” ranging from the defence review to the pasty tax, it concluded. In a phrase, it hit on the failing at the heart of Mr Cameron’s difficulties: he is so busy being a successful manager – and if this is success, what does failure look like? – that he has forgotten to provide the political direction that would give his government purpose. His party increasingly fears that, without purpose, he risks going down as the Tory leader who never won a general election and lost to the worst Labour leader ever.

Until now, he has relied on a circle of passionate ministers with titanium beliefs – Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith, Andrew Lansley – to provide him with the ideological muscle, while he presides, like Stanley Baldwin, on behalf of the nation. His instinct is to keep working on the red box, but it may no longer be more