'Dim Dave' has been four years in the job and it's not unreasonable, as we approach the next election, to ask whether he has learned enough to justify putting him back inside No. 10. Hitherto, I have tempered my criticism of him because I recognise that the difference for any political animal between being a mere operator on the side-lines and actually sitting at the desk with all the levers of power at your command is huge beyond comprehension. Not the least of the unexpected difficulties is the gradual realisation that actually many of those so-called 'levers of power' are either not connected properly or simply do not work at all! That is why it is essential that any new prime minister has an ideology upon which he can lean for support and which will provide him with the long-term goals towards which he must steer the rickety-rackety ship of state.
Well, it's blindingly obvious now (as it was four years ago!) that 'Dim Dave' has absolutely no long-term strategic aims beyond wanting desperately to be re-elected. However, what has been just as disappointing has been his obvious lack of ability in the day-to-day tactical manouvrings required inside the Westminster village. There was never any good reason to hire Andy Coulson as his communications chief - and a host of reasons not to touch him with a barge-pole! I should add that I suspect Mr. Coulson is a very intelligent man and even if he isn't, he and his ilk deserve every praise for the excellent job they have done over the years in helping to clear the sewage from British public life. However, Dave has one quality which has been invaluable to him - good luck! He has been blessed by an opposition leader so inept, so clueless, so ineffably Mr. Bean-like, that even Dave has waltzed by him effortlessly. Yesterday in the Commons with Coulsen found guilty at the Old Bailey, 'Milipede' had the chance of a lifetime. Quentin Letts in The Daily Mail describes the disaster with a witty headline:
Ed drew less blood that Suarez
Have you ever seen an Olympic polevaulter hurtle down the runway, knees lifting high, his face full of athletic intent? Great sight, isn’t it?
Prong! Our hero jabs his pole into the ground. He rises in the beginnings of a magnificent arc. The crowd gasps. His trainer starts to dream of gold. But then – och noooooo! – the pole snaps in two, fragile as a Twiglet. The vaulter crumples to the floor.
And then there is the never-ending problem of Europe. I can understand that Cameron began his premiership filled with European nonsense but, I wonder, are the realities finally sinking in? Surely the words aimed at him by his old Bullingdon Club fellow member, Radoslaw Sikorski, now Poland's Foreign Minister, "He fucked up, he doesn't get it!" must have given even 'Dim Dave' a clue as to how he (and us!) are viewed 'just over there'. If not, then surely the Kaiserin's double-cross and the 'coronation' of 'Juncker the Drunker' as Europe's Capo Di Tutti Capi is the final reality that will lift the scales from the eyes of our prime minister. Well, we may hope but it's doubtful if he lives down to the description of him by Peter Oborne in The Telgraph as "a shallow, amoral, conniving careerist, determined to secure high office at any cost."