Is Cameron becoming a liability for the Tories?
Posted on April 30, 2012
Anyone who’s been watching the exchanges in the House of Commons recently can’t fail to have been struck by Cameron’s increasing inability to deal with those who oppose him with anything approaching equanimity. In fact he’s becoming so bad tempered, red-faced and shouty just lately I’m beginning to think, his odious politics aside, that he really is becoming a liability for the Tory party. Seriously, who could possibly want a rude obnoxious bully for a leader?
This time last year I was convinced Cameron’s shitty attitude towards others was a simple case of sexism, as he appeared to treat female MPs with even less respect and more disdain than he treated others. But after his embarrassing performance today, I’m starting to think there’s more to it than that.
What I initially saw as Cameron’s sexism was especially evident when he told Angela Eagle to “calm down dear” during prime minister’s questions in April 2011, and it was also on display last Autumn when he told Nadine Dorries, again during prime minister’s questions, that he understood she was ‘frustrated.’ Indeed, Cameron resisted the urge to end that sentence with a “nudge nudge wink wink say no more”, but the guffawing from those around him helped to ensure the point was made. And yes, much as it pained me to do so I did stick up for Dorries on that occasion, and I would again if she were subjected to similarly boorish and sexist behaviour from the PM, or from anyone else for that matter.
Then during last week’s PMQs Cameron patronisingly commented “well read” to another female MP who dared to ask him a question, leading even more people to wonder what exactly his problem is with independent, outspoken women.
Today however Cameron showed that it’s not necessarily just women he’s got an issue with, it’s actually anyone who doesn’t agree with his world view. And before anyone says “but that’s politics Cath, and surely something you must be used to as a trade unionist”, it’s not the fact that he disagrees with people that I think is the problem, but the way he goes about it.
During today’s urgent statement on the Jeremy Hunt situation for example, Dennis Skinner made a perfectly valid point: why is the culture secretary getting better employment rights than the rest of the working population? And what was Cameron’s intelligent and considered response to this?
“well, the honourable gentleman has the right, at any time, to take his pension and I advise him to do so.”
Honestly, that was the response from the Prime Minister of this country to a democratically elected MP.
There are some who are now branding Cameron ageist as well as sexist, and others who are pointing out that there’s a class thing going on on top of that. John Prescott in particular Tweeted earlier that “Cameron’s arrogant treatment of Dennis Skinner & Margaret Hodge proved class IS an issue in politics” – managing to beat me to the obvious punchline in the process:
Cameron's arrogant treatment of Dennis Skinner & Margaret Hodge proved class IS an issue in politics. Cameron showed he has none—
John Prescott (@johnprescott) April 30, 2012
I think Prescott’s got a point. Cameron’s sense of entitlement, a sense of entitlement incidentally that you rarely see from those brought up without privilege and from those who didn’t attend the so-called top public schools, is now so evident and in your face he’s fast becoming an embarrassment. And I think he’s becoming an embarrassment not just to the Tories but to the country at large.
This man is meant to be our Prime Minister; he’s also meant to be our representative on the international stage. And I don’t know about you, but every time he appears anywhere now I cringe, wondering what on earth he’s going to do or say next: and more importantly, wondering how long it’s going to be before he loses his temper and turns into red-faced shouty man yet again.
And personally I think we all deserve better. Believe it or not, I actually think the Tories deserve better too.