David Cameron has had a torrid time over the last month or so. The honeymoon is truly over and the real political game has begun.
As policies are scrutinized the lack of detail and thought can be seen in many departments of government. The inexperience of a party being out of power for 13 years and another for 60 years is shining through. Not surprising when the star of the coalition is often cited as being William Hague who showed his own inexperience and lack of judgement as leader of the Conservatives a decade ago.
From Education policy through to the NHS the lack of detail and planning and the wish to rush through policy at almost any cost is causing enormous problems and scaring people even within the professions who will be benefiting from the changes.
However, now we have to take a deep breath. The Forest sell off was a disaster. Anyone who had seriously considered selling off the forests should have at least understood the public’s concerns, but it seemed that the coalition thought they could just rail road through a quick privatisation and no one would notice. Thankfully in this information age, opposition was mobilised quickly and the government entered a storm they were simply not prepared for.
I have to say that finally David Cameron has called it right. As a Prime Minister you have to pick the fights worth fighting. Although the forest bill should never have come this far, at least he has done the right thing and listened to the people. For the first time since coming to power, I actually agree with a decision he has made.
It is also interesting to note Ed Miliband’s performance recently. He seems to gain popularity the less he is in the public eye – just look at the polls. The Labour Party has no real policies to speak of, but then why should they when the election is not for another 4 years. David Cameron himself didn’t have a single policy for 2 years when he became leader.
Ed Miliband has taken a lot of stick from political commentators with his lack luster performance in the commons. Oddly however, his performance has had some interesting results.
A few weeks ago he asked a question regarding David Cameron putting his personal photographer on the government payroll. He was roundly criticised for asking this question, but within 3 days David Cameron had reversed this decision. Last week he asked a question regarding the funding of Sure Start. David Cameron again appeared to come out on top with witty remarks and batting the question aside. However, we now know that the figures used by Cameron were wrong and disingenuous.
Now we have a situation where many thought Cameron was witty and performed well in the commons yesterday, but within 24 hours the forest flagship policy has been withdrawn. Cameron stated the “Miliband wagon has hit the tree”. I think the Conservative Tree was well and truly felled at Prime Ministers Question time yesterday.
Ed Miliband may well not be the wittiest performer at the dispatch box, but as William Hague found, this does not necessarily win elections.
Some on the right will be saying that David Cameron is showing weakness and any u-turn is a bad thing. I take the opposite view, Cameron has done a good thing in reversing what would have been a damaging, unpopular and unnecessary policy. We should applaud a Prime Minister who listens to people’s concerns.
All we need now is for him to reconsider the policies affecting the scared and vulnerable who are going through the debilitating process of applying for new disability allowances; the front loaded cuts to services that are relied on by the poorest in society; and letting Bankers off the hook and watering down European Banking regulations etc etc etc.
Maybe this will be a sign of a new listening Prime Minister . . . .or maybe not.