July 7th, 2011
|08:52 am - Louche, affluent, power-hungry and amoral|
I am going to stick my neck out, and I could be proved spectacularly wrong. I think the British Prime Minister is finished. In speaking to friends and family about this I have not found anyone to agree with me. Most use the term 'Teflon' to refer to Cameron. But Teflon is shallow. To be fair, shallowness has served Cameron well. A shallow craft is more manoeuverable than a deep liner, it moves quickly to take advantage, but when a great wave comes it is easily overwhelmed.
I do not think David Cameron will survive politically.
Here's a article by Peter Oborne - the Daily Telegraph's chief political commentator. (ETA for non-brits, the Telegraph is an ultra-mainstream Tory newspaper)
The series of disgusting revelations concerning his friends and associates from Rupert Murdoch’s News International has permanently and irrevocably damaged his reputation... We are talking about a pattern of behaviour here. Indeed, it might be better described as a course of action. Mr Cameron allowed himself to be drawn into a social coterie in which no respectable person, let alone a British prime minister, should be seen dead...an incestuous collection of louche, affluent, power-hungry and amoral Londoners, located in and around the Prime Minister’s Oxfordshire constituency.
Incidentally - you may judge for yourself whether you believe him - Oborne claims that Nick Clegg was personally warned by Alan Rusbridger (editor of the Guardian) about the evidence they had on this issue before the last election. So it seems that Clegg entered into an alliance with Cameron knowing what he was.
Remember this is not me saying this as some lonely lefty in Coventry. This is from the heart of the Tory party.
Mrs Brooks... was responsible for setting standards. Those standards, as the world now knows, were foul beyond human credibility and she bears much of the blame. It may well be dangerous for David Cameron to ditch Mrs Brooks. She may have acquired a great deal of information about him and the senior members of his cabinet, both at those quiet Chipping Norton dinners and quite possibly through other, nefarious means. Mrs Brooks is cornered and liable to strike out. But that is a risk the Prime Minister must take.
I literally don't think Cameron can take that risk. He dare not ditch Brooks. Because look what he is risking now - how much easier his life would be if he could denounce her. He is only standing by her because he knows what she can do to him. Eventually she will do it, and he will be finished.
I am sorry I am posting a lot on this, but I think something real is happening in politics, minute by minute unfolding, which is out of anyone's control. The people have power, and the amoral elite are on the back foot. I am completely fascinated.
How easy is it to oust a sitting PM in the UK? Opinion and lost support only matter when it's decision time.
It's a good question. Thatcher and Blair were ousted while in power (Blair had slightly greater control over the timing of the process) while Major and Brown lost elections. Those are all the PMs since I was old enough to vote. The Prime Minister is just 'the leader of the party which can make legislation', so the decision is with the party, rather than the electorate. Currently the Tory party have internal elections for leader, and I believe such a vote can be called at any time, but there are huge inhibitions in any party against doing that. Things have to be very bad. They aren't that bad yet.
Like Dr Who, the Tory party has more than one heart. It's Telegraph heart values tradition and inherited wealth - it's distaste for these people is as much based on the fact that they had to "buy their own furniure" as on anything they've actually done. These people were essentially trying to make a buck in a sleazy world. And a venerable one - if my memory serves me well, The NoW has been selling sex, gossip and lurid crime stories for longer than the Telegraph has been selling its po-faced view. I think Cameron has plenty of other friends in the Tory firmament, plenty enough to see him through.
Yes, whatever you think of Rebecca Wade, the "louche, affluent, power-hungry and amoral Londoners" remark drips of old-school landed-Tory hatred for "trade"/women/nouveau-riche/immigrants/etc/
Yes. This is a fair analysis, but even though their motives are cheesy, these people actively want to bring him down, and they now think they have their chance. All that will stop them is the feeling that he
wins elections gets them power. If he no longer serves that function, then he's nothing.
I'm more intrigued by the fact that the copper they were spying on for an affair was investigating the Daniel Morgan murder. The degree to which that killing keeps cropping up in the press with weird connections to things makes me wonder if there really is some James Ellroy-style huge web of corruption behind it.
I think you may be onto something. The more I read, I think the Morgan murder goes right through this case. Rees and Fillery sound like utter shits, and Fillery has been convicted of possessing child pornography. Lovely guys.
The Telegraph has never liked Cameron. Dangerous pinko who made an alliance with commie liberals. They'd like nothing better than to replace him with someone more rightwing; not convinced they've got enough forces to do it.
What I'd like to get out of this is a weakening of the addiction of the ruling party - any ruling party - to Murdoch. Not convinced we'll get that either.
(And, of course, the Telegraph is desperate to do down the organs of Murdoch in order to weaken The Times.)
Edited at 2011-07-07 10:15 am (UTC)
I wonder whether you think a temporary alliance between right and left wing forces to oust the Cameron-Osborne axis would be a strategic mistake? Or should we 'Always keep a hold of nurse, for fear of finding something worse'. Because undoubtedly there is worse than David Cameron.
I wouldn't embark on anything without a clear idea of the likely alternative. Not sure I even want a general election at this moment; I think we'd recover this constituency, but I'm not sure whether the public indignation is strong enough yet to win nationally. Should be soon. For the time being, I think a weakened Cameron struggling against events beyond his control works for me.
I generally don't blog about this type of thing myself, but I find your posts on the subject fascinating, especially in the unfolding situation and possibly more insightful than the glimpses I get of news reports.
So they're suggesting that Brooks definitely won't play by Chatham House rules then?
LOL. I think integrity isn't in her dictionary.
I think Brooks is planning to leave News International, which might have precipitated the Guardian to action.
What I find really depressing is it doesn't matter who is in power, they will have to court Murdoch. Look what happened to Brown - my feeling is the depth of his unpopularity was a completely constructed media artefact. And correct me if I'm wrong - he wasn't as pally with Murdoch as wither Blair or Cameron.
I think you are absolutely right about Brown. He had his faults but they were played up by Murdoch, while the faults of his Tory equivalents are played down. One can only imagine the furore if a member of the Labour inner circle had deliberately hampered a child murder enquiry. And events like the microphone 'accidentally' left on, so his unguarded comments were picked up. Do we believe that Conservative politicians never say rude things when they are alone with their aides? Of course not.
Please continue posting a lot, this is completely fascinating.
I am glad it is interesting. I am utterly gripped.
And, I should add, I find the analysis and commentary much more interesting than the reporting. The facts are compelling, but the context and speculation far more so.
As others have said, thanks for posting. This analysis is fascinating.
I think you're probably wrong about the impact on Cameron, sadly. The reaction so far seems less damaging for the PM than the Blair/Ecclestone scandal, say, and that one didn't have much lasting impact.
Yes, I am sticking my neck out a bit. It may well be that the management of news and opinion is so great that this slides off him. But it's going to be an interesting few days now.