Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Can Cameron Convince He's The Man Who Can?

Ahead of the curve, Mr Fix-It is turning his sights on some serious people politics to break the stranglehold of government and Downing Street in the wake of MPs' scandalous expenses. Will this herald a new era of politics or is Mr Ambition doing a Blair and Obama, making election promises for the sake of the sound bites, peddling his personality disguised as people power? 

Voters disgust over MPs' expenses has left a bitter taste. Parliament has prostituted itself to a New Labour ruling class. A bunch of crooks and spivs in a fag-end government have been exposed clutching at straws and in denial in a desperate bid to cling on to power to the bitter end. 

All parties are falling over themselves to be the big reformer and Cameron is setting the pace. 

The Tory leader has been way ahead leading the way, dealing with the rotting mess, dealing with the scandal, tapping into the public mood with measures which chime with voters and grasping the agenda back from the grubby paws of Downing Street.

Dave is billed as 'the man who can' but at heart he remains Mr Ambition. The public was disgusted by the moat and duck house but clearing out Tory grandees and Thatcher old guard from Cameron's conservatives suits him down to the ground. 

This is one smart kid on the block sure but we've been there before. Is the heir to Blair showing his true colours? 

No one can hold a candle to past master Blair. But Cameron is proving to be every inch a smart apprentice. 

Flying high on the back of scandal and sleaze, the device, used so effectively by Blair and Obama, is simple. Contact and convince. Capture the public mood. Say what the public want to hear. He who wins over the hearts and minds wins the votes. 

In the US, Obama's election promises have been blown out of the water because they were just that - electioneering promises. Now Americans are getting an uneasy, queasy feeling of being betrayed by a man they put the hopes and dreams and trust in with blind faith.

Cameron can work the crowds but the Orange Party would not tar Dave with the same broad brush as Blair and his new US counterpart. Cameron is in it for the pleasure and the passion of the politics. Both Blair and Obama were in it to win it for themselves. 

Today in the Guardian the Tory leader promises to deliver a "radical redistribution of power from Westminster" in response to voter disgust over MPs' expenses. From "the political elite to the man and woman in the street". Few would disagree with such fine words but actions speak louder. 

At the heart of the rhetoric though is the one issue which New Labour has either failed to grasp or it is not in its interest to do so. 

And that is the power and influence of the government in general and Downing Street in particular on the working of parliament and the State. 

For New Labour, its government is the State, with parliament playing second fiddle to a premiership turning into a presidency. 

Among Cameron's proposals is a plan to curb the powers of Number 10. A strange position for any future prime minister to crave for less power rather than more. 

Introducing fixed-term parliaments, ending the right of Downing Street to control the timing of general elections is welcome. That gets to the heart of the Supreme Leader’s stubborn refusal to bow to the will of the people and go to the country.

But of all the measures, the Orange Party would single out the limiting of the royal prerogative which allows a prime minister, in the name of the monarch, to make major decisions without the backing of parliament.

That device was used by Blair with full, devastating and scandalous effect as he moved towards his president style of government - from keeping it in his back-pocket to satisfy his taste for war, to throwing out displaced islanders of Diego Garcia to create a secret Gitmo, to using it to promote his spin doctor Campbell and side step and override the civil service. 

Publishing the expenses claims of all public servants earning more than £150,000 is another thorny issue which has to be addressed. Why must it be  left to the dogged determination of Private Eye to expose the expenses scandals of Sir John Bourn at the National Audit Office?

In one fell swoop Cameron has managed to switch the agenda away from the airy fairy PR referendum electoral reform mumbo jumbo revealed by New Labour leader-in-waiting Johnson, in Murdoch's  The Times. That not only fell on voters deaf ears but hasn't a cat in hells chance of being implemented in the next generation parliament. 

The Orange Party wants to believe Cameron won't just turn into another Blair or Obama promising the earth and delivering nothing. Mr Ambition sure but he is finding that golden bullet of trust and leadership and has honest anger and a passion for politics on his side. 

Moreover Cameron seems to be protecting himself from the temptation of using the Downing Street machine to tighten a grip on power even before he's elected. That iron grip has been the hallmark of a discredited New Labour brand and that's a healthy start. 

But Dave should play down the "people power" bit. Don't start down the path of the People's this and the People's that. The people have seen through that sham. They've been there before with Blair and now Obama. You cannot fool even some of the people some of the time with all that the Man of the People hype. 

The general election when it finally comes will herald a new dawn in politics. It has to for the sake of democracy.  A trusted straight politician who for once actually delivers on their promises, a pretty straight kinda guy who is just that would make a refreshing change.

1 comment:

AndyinBrum said...

A bit harsh on Obama who's being hamstrung by congress and events.

I think hes being criticised for not having a magic wand that the voters decided he had.