I had a thought that made me shudder when reading all the Philpott reaction this week (this was apart from all the obvious shuddering that was already going on due to the horrific nature of what Philpott did).
I don’t quite understand anyone who praises the latest U-turn by our government, saying it shows that the coalition are listening to voters.
I would much rather have a government that actually knows what it is doing, and has confidence in itself. One that is able to deliver a Budget that is thought-through enough that the things it contains can come into fruition.
Not one that is so hapless and unsure of its own ability that it is willing to drop policies all over the place at the whim of an opinion poll or a few angry journalists. David Cameron’s PR background is showing through more and more, with evidence stacking up that all he really cares about is opinion polls, not what is best for this country in the long-term.
Even those who are natural supporters of the government are beginning to realise just how serious and damaging this behaviour is.
Fraser Nelson, editor of the Spectator, says in his latest Telegraph blog that the sense of mission is draining away in Downing Street. “I gather that even Mr Cameron has started to wonder where his Government is going, and has been asking aides what his legacy will be,” he writes.
He later adds why this is particularly worrying: “Each U-turn may be trivial in itself, but there is a cumulative effect. They serve to devalue the word of the Prime Minister and, worse, the credibility of the Chancellor.”
So I for one am not happy about the latest U-turn, on this occasion delaying the rise on fuel duty. The majority of the public do not have available to them the insight to research and other key data and analysis that the government does. And if the government genuinely believed this policy was for the best for this country then it should have stuck to it, no matter how unpopular that decision may have been.
Of course, the other possibility is that there was not the meticulous planning behind this policy that there should have been before it was announced. And then subsequent research found that it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Clearly, both of these situations are far from ideal, and I would hope for a lot better from a government – the supposed leaders of our country.
By Sophie Hudson
I’m not even sure where to start with this mess of an election, so I’m just going to write a few bullet points about the whole sorry debacle:
- Off the top of my head these are some of the pretty obvious reasons why Thursday should have been an easy win for the Conservatives: Iraq, Tony Blair in general, constant ramblings by the Daily Mail and others about ‘broken Britain’, a Prime Minister we never voted for and never seemed to warm to in the slightest, bigotgate a week before the election, pretty much every national paper being against Labour, the expenses scandal, the Iraq War inquiry.
- And if a hung parliament really is the best that Cameron can do under the circumstances then I think the result on Friday says a lot more about Tory unpopularity and their idiotic decision to put Cameron in charge than it does about Labour.
- It is only angering the country further that Brown is not taking quick, decisive action now that he has had the chance to be voted in as Prime Minister, almost three years after he actually decided to take on the job, and has clearly not got the enough of the country’s support. He needs to do the right and honourable thing now and allow himself to be replaced as leader of the Labour party so that they can at least have a fighting chance of gathering together some power.
- I was reading Nick Davies’ ‘Flat Earth News’ yesterday and suddenly realised that if he was rewriting the book now, he could add the story about Nick Clegg’s ‘popularity’ to his list of non-stories that the press waste our time with. I.e. this could be added to the ‘Millenium bug’ story, swine flu and other non-existant drivel that today’s ‘journalists’ write about even though there is close to zero truth in any of it.
- Can we please not all jump on the proportional representation bandwagon just because it sounds different to what we currently have. If we already had this system in place, since Friday a certain racist party would have seats in the Houses of Commons.
- Since when did politics turn into glorified PR? I wish someone wouldn’t be scared to stand up for what they believe in and would fight for it whether they thought it would make them Mr or Mrs Popular or not. One positive thing this election has shown me is that people are generally not stupid and when it gets to crunch time they will vote for what they know to be sensible and just. If there had been someone standing in this election who the people could see was honest, was standing for things they knew to be right, even if not popular and had a team behind them who could deliver on their promises, then I have no doubt in my mind that they would have won a majority.
- If a polling booth is open from 7am to 10pm, don’t be lazy enough to turn up at 9:30 then try to blame someone else when it’s too busy for you to vote. It’s not ‘undemocratic’ in the slightest, you had 15 hours to practice democracy but you decided to leave it till the last minute when you knew perfectly well that there was a chance it would be too busy that close to closing time. It’s a good job the whole country didn’t take this approach or barely any votes would have been cast.
By Sophie Hudson
I’ve somehow just managed to watch the original conversation between Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy, the woman our current Prime Minister now infamously called ‘bigoted’.
I make this sound like some kind of a feat, because it proved tricky to find the clip of the actual conversation.
Most of the news outlets covering the story have decided it is best to merely show a small, irrelevant snippet of the end of their conversation and then the recording as Brown grumbles his true feelings in the car, not realising he is slowly unravelling the entire Labour campaign.
Are we all not intelligent enough to watch the actual conversation, hear Brown’s comments, and then make an informed decision ourselves as to whether or not Ms Duffy deserved this label?
This aside, what strikes me most when watching the confrontation was how basic Ms Duffy’s complaints about immigration were. Any quick-witted, loquacious leader would have heard that she simply had the same old, typical, but granted rather ignorant, complaints as many other people in the country right now.
With his far superior knowledge and understanding about immigration Brown could have so easily quickly put her mind at ease by efficiently explaining to her the importance of immigration, what is going to be happening with it going forward, and why she has no reason to be concerned about it.
She would have been happier with him, he would have very quickly seen that really she was just having a moan because people almost feel they are meant to be moaning about immigration these days, and the whole incident would have been avoided as he would have understood there was probably no real reason to call her ‘bigoted’.
I’ve written before about Brown’s image problems. He may be very intelligent, and quite frankly on the intellectual or economic side of things I would far rather he was running the country than David Cameron, but what Brown doesn’t seem to realise is that this is just not enough if you want to be a leader.
You need to have the emotional intelligence not to land yourself in these situations quite so frequently. You need to be able to read other people and the environment around you to seemlessly navigate each day and each person’s grievance without continually landing yourself in hot water.
I thought the incident would leave me liking Brown more. Finally some honesty in politics, even if it was not on purpose.
But instead I’ve seen yet again that he is just dismally not Prime Ministerial material. He and his party should have realised this a long time ago, and maybe then we wouldn’t be facing the equally depressing reality that we are probably going to be under Cameron’s ‘leadership’ from May 6th.
By Sophie Hudson