What would Clement do?

A Labour blog that witters on about Clement Attlee. Hurrah for The Major!

Archive for the tag “Prime Minister”


Yes, sad but true, there is only ONE Boris Johnson.

To read the recent press coverage, some Tories, and possibly all Westminster hacks wish there were at least two, possibly three, with at least one in the House of Commons. One for City Hall, one to annoy Cameron, and one for “the ladies”. (Maybe another to make sure that the press is suitably gagged when any mention of his extra marital affairs and resulting possible offspring come up…)

Johnson has clearly been putting it about since the Olympics, parking his tanks on Davids lawn, getting the cheers whilst Hamface gets the boos, ignoring the debt he owes to previous incumbents and Governments for his good fortune, fudging figures and avoiding a scandal over provision for the London Fire Service. And it is working…

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (OE, Oxon) is the most popular politician in the country. 

There are some signs that this may be a cause for alarm for his own dear leader, yet before we rub our hands with glee, let us stop to think for a moment. Johnson is popular with the public for a number of reasons, and a skilful media operation is one of them. Not being in Parliament, and therefore not being really in the Coalition helps. So far in his career, Mr Johnson has had no significant national responsibility, save being in the Shadow Cabinet, which means he spent his time, at best, say “well would never do that…”. He even managed to get sacked from the front bench then.

So far in his career, Johnson has presented himself as something he isn’t. For example, although he has an Eton/Oxbridge background, and drops a classics reference at the drop of a microphone, he simply is not as posh as he would like us all to believe. Like many from the old “upper-lower middle class” (copyright Mr E.A. Blair), he spent much of his school and Varsity days aping the supposed manners of Waughs’ “Brideshead” set. His anachronistic language, his cultivated scruffiness, his shambling gait are all very much part of his mid-eighties “young fogey” image.

The BoJo & HamCam rivalry continues…

In his job as Mayor of London, he has been the cynics very epitome of a politician, in that he has so far been able to distance himself from both Central Government policies, and his own policies when they are unpopular, yet claim credit for anything and everything perceived as good that happens within his jurisdiction. He has, since being elected in 2008, been notably ruthless in his disposal of deputy Mayors, as long as he can evade any blame.

As of this week, fourteen letters have been received by the Tory 1922 committee to open nominations for a leadership election. Though hugely short of the forty-six letters needed, this comes less than three years into Camerons’ premiership, and within weeks of Tory part conference. Clearly there are concerns throughout the true blue mob that possibly they need someone less chillaxed in charge, someone other than The Hamfaced Crimson Tide…

I hate to agree with John Major, but last Sunday he did say one thing that fans of the Johnson forget – he is not an MP, and therefore cannot become Leader. True enough, a safe seat may be found, someone convinced to stand down, a by-election could be won, yet the history of Tory Leadership elections shows that it is never the original favourite who wins, as Heath, Heseltine, and David Davis know to their chagrin.

Personally, I think that he may prefer the job of Mayor, where you can ultimately cash-in with your Telegraph column, then blame central Government for any mess. Should ever stand for/become Leader of the Tories, I relish the challenge, because I doubt that his image would withstand the full force of public and media scrutiny that he would inevitably attract. He simply would not be able to keep his past indiscretions from becoming front page news.I also do not think that Johnsons’ right wing instincts actually chime with the general public. True enough, they finds him amusing, much in the same way that Jeremy Clarkson once was, but for a rightwing humorist, he is certainly no PJ O’Rourke, and as Clarkson knows to his cost, it only takes one slip to taint your brand…

So for me, the current shenanigans say more about Cameron and his weakness than they do about the popularity of Johnson.


Is Cameron up to the job?

So, Jeremy Hunt is still in his job tonight, loyally deflecting the press from going for the PM and Chancellor, who, if the evidence presented yesterday is even partly true, are in the ordure up to their eyeballs. 

The much bigger question should really be whether David Cameron is actually up to the job of being PM. We know he likes it, and that it leaves him enough time for a spot of tennis. We know that he likes looking important, that as a practised PR professional he enjoys trying to sell British products (mainly weapons) around the world. Like Peter Cook’s TVPM skit, he is very good at travelling around the world on our behalf, and at our expense.

Yet whenever things go wrong, as they seem to do so often with this bunch, David Cameron at first denies any culpability, then blames Labour, then promises to stick by whichever minister has messed up, then relies on Nick Robinson to explain a way out of it. If caught out at PMQs, as he was once again today, it is the same old story – bluster, shrill and loud blaming of Labour, followed by turning puce and shouting some more. This is pretty much the only response that any Coalition politician these days, now that their magic cloak of economic competence is torn to shreds.

A one-time PR man for Carlton Television, you would be justified in believing that Cameron should be adept at selling the odd shit sandwich now and again, but the frequency of blunders leads me to think that there is a much deeper problem at the heart of the Coalition.

Along with the assessment of Barak Obama that he is an intellectual lightweight, I think we need to add some other facets that David seems to lack:

Firstly, he relies upon loyalty, yet, outside his own little group, shows none to anyone else. That goes even within his Party, let alone the Cabinet.

Secondly, he is not ruthless enough. Having given Ministers a seemingly free reign and watch them stuff up – on Forests, Jeremy Hunt, Pasty Tax and a whole host of issues, he simply cannot move quickly and decisively. In fact, the only time he has done so was in the taking away of responsibility for adjudicating the BSKYB deal from vince Cable.

Thirdly, he is lazy. Really man, stop wittering about your work-life balance, and pay attention to your job.

Fourthly, he simply does not seem to be able to act quickly, nor does he seem to have the mental capacity to deal with mistakes of his own making.

Fifthly, it is increasingly clear that Gideon Osborne is the brains of the outfit, which is disturbing, given the mess he made of the Budget.

Simply put, the time has come for both Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to consider who really should be PM, because Cameron surely is not working…



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