It is difficult to exaggerate the shallowness of David Cameron. The man undoubtedly has a brain, even in these days of debased educational qualifications a first from Oxford is indicative of something. The unfortunate thing about Cameron, the self proclaimed “heir to Blair”, is that, like so many politicians, he lacks ideology and only seeks power for the possession of power.
Anointed in large part by the slanted reporting of the BBC and other media during the Conservative Party leadership debates with David Davis, Cameron’s leadership has been shambolic. You only realise how incompetent Cameron is when you watch him stumble along and suddenly think, “Hey, this chap is a dead ringer for Jim Hacker in Yes Prime Minister”.
In a general election facing a demoralised party led by one of the most unpopular prime ministers in recent memory, the man who helped create the economic debacle we endure today, David Cameron failed to win. Instead the only way he could see to power was to enter a coalition with those limp wristed loons the Lib Dems. In comparison Alex Salmond was able to parlay a minority government into a strong parliamentary majority in a system specifically designed to keep his party out of power. Salmond may be obnoxious but at least he has political cojones and nous, attributes lacking in David Cameron.
As someone whose only real job outside politics was as a PR man for a television company one would expect Cameron to be reliable on the presentation front. Even here he displays the sure-footed precision of a drunken docker.
Labour are resurrecting the mansion tax this week, it will interesting to hear Cameron’s defence of the wealthy. A couple of years ago his wussy coalition partners proposed what was termed a “mansion tax” on all dwellings valued at £1 million or more, quickly altered to £2 million plus when it was realised that Nick Clegg, Vince Cable and many Lib Dem backers lived in houses valued at £1 million.
At the time Cameron’s Conservative Party opposed this attack on the wealthy pointing to all the widows in staightened circumstances living in family homes who, whilst they might be property rich were cash poor. A mansion tax according to Cameron and his chums would victimise the vulnerable.
Move on a year or so and we have the announcement of a few measures of welfare reform. Cameron was on to a sure fire winner here, everyone knows in their heart of hearts that our welfare provisions need reform. That is apart from die-hard progressives who have no hearts.
No-one wants welfare reform more than the poor, much to the chagrin of the Guardian. But then middle class progressives know the poor intimately in the same way that in the 70’s and 80’s they would claim that “Some of my best friends are Black”.
Any rational person would think that on this issue the Conservative Party would be on a sure-fire winner. That would be to over-estimate the sure-footedness of our drunken dockers.
The Conservative Party have proposed what has come to be known as the “bedroom tax”. In an attempt to cut the £23 billion housing benefits bill welfare recipients living in accommodation larger than their bare needs will have their welfare provision cut. Under the proposals, social housing tenants in homes with one extra bedroom would lose £12 a week, while those with two or more extra bedrooms would lose £22 a week.
It would be difficult to dream up a proposal more likely to repulse fair minded people. And most Brits are fair minded; apart that is from fans of the Old Firm, supporters of both teams tending to paranoia and persecution mania.
The government itself admits that because of a shortage of housing 85% of those affected will not be able to move elsewhere to downsize. This means that the government will require people to downsize and then, knowing that the housing stock is not there, they expect or even hope that people will be unable to do what the government are telling them to do and thus find their benefits cut. Unless this happens there will be no savings on the housing benefits bill.
It is not just the photogenic disabled, and severely ill trotted out by the media who will be hit. Kate, a regular reader of A Grain of Sand (perhaps I should call you beachcombers), writes of an unemployed friend in a 2 bedroom house in an area where there are only 2 bedroom houses readily available. If, as is likely, he is unable to move he will have his benefit cut and be forced further into poverty and the government will save roughly £12 per week.
Cameron’s reaction to the outcry against the inept attempted reform is to say that the government is trying to end a “spare room subsidy”. A PR man to the end, and a not very good one at that. Having alienated much of the core support of his party with his attempts to appease the politically correct Cameron has now alienated a great swathe of the British population.