Tag Archives: david cameron

Did you spot the Liberal Democrat in David Cameron’s Resignation Honours?

Really. There was one:

Screen Shot 2016-08-05 at 00.45.02

There’s a surprise. Lena Pietsch, Nick Clegg’s former Special Adviser when he was Deputy PM, gets an OBE.

This is what the Standard had to say about her two years ago when they named her one of the most influential people in London.

Nick Clegg’s director of public relations
The happiest Lib-Dem in Britain on July 13, German-born Pietsch was celebrating her team winning the World Cup. On maternity leave during the summer, having given birth to her second child, she continued to advise Mr Clegg from home, including on using Twitter to appeal to women voters. An ex-journalist, she was key in persuading the DPM to do his Call Clegg show on LBC Radio.

Cameron has done what Nick Clegg failed to do last year. When he announced his dissolution honours, female Special Advisers were conspicuous by their absence, as Jo Swinson wrote for us.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 11 Comments

So farewell then David Cameron…

In the week of Chilcot, we can at least observe that David Cameron didn’t cause an unnecessary Middle East invasion which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Posted in Op-eds | 13 Comments

Goodbye, David

As David Cameron leaves No 10, his legacy is being scrutinised.  I have to say that I found the glowing tributes coming from his Cabinet colleagues as they entered Downing Street yesterday pretty nauseating.

Much of the news commentary has been way too positive.

I am dreading the inevitable fawning over him that’s going to happen as he faces his last Prime Minister’s Questions. I will not be happy if, as they did for Blair, any of our lot indulge in any applause or standing ovations for him.

Let’s look at some of the key compliments people are paying him:

Stabilise the economy?

Well, do you remember the 1980s when the recession lasted for years because the Tories insisted on cutting public spending beyond what was sensible? Well, this time they were prevented from doing so by the Liberal Democrats in coalition. They wanted to cut further and faster. It was Nick Clegg and David Laws, by and large, who saw that common sense prevailed. Even then, some of their ideas weren’t put into practice because the Tories wouldn’t have it. Some of us felt that even the Liberal Democrats in Government too far but at least the economy was starting to do well. Until, that is, David Cameron’s actions have led to a spectacular crash in the value of the pound. More money was wiped from the country in the days after the referendum than we ever paid to the EU. And that’s only the start.

Same sex marriage?

Well, he didn’t really. The person who drove that through Government was Lynne Featherstone, backed up by Theresa May. Cameron regretted it because of the fuss his backbenchers made. He couldn’t even get half of them to go through the lobbies in support of the measure. Nick Clegg was the first leader to enthusiastically embrace the concept of same sex marriage and did so even ahead of the 2010 election.

He won two elections and a referendum?

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 22 Comments

A PM fails this country and destroys another, yet faces no action. Where’s the accountability in that?

I’m watching an at times close to tears Tony Blair giving his response to the Chilcot Report.

He asks us to accept that he took the decision to go to war in good faith. I’m not sure that was ever actually in doubt. Charles Kennedy, in disagreeing with him in the House of Commons during the March 2003 Commons debate, did not doubt the sincerity of his position.

However, Blair’s comments, and all the regret he may feel, cannot make up for what the report makes clear was a very flawed decision making process, with insufficient planning for the aftermath, putting British forces in added danger as they were fighting on two fronts (Iraq and Afghanistan) and weren’t given the resources to do their jobs and that the process establishing whether the decision was even legal was flawed.

The “with you, whatever” memo is not quite damning as it seems. If you read the whole thing, Blair is actually trying to steer the US President down a path of forming an international coalition and pointing out the consequences of not doing so. The problem with the memo as Chilcot says is that he sent a fairly detailed exposition of the UK Government’s position without even asking the Foreign and Defence Secretaries to comment. However, I am less convinced that Straw or Hoon would have changed anything, but that’s just a personal opinion. Also, using loose language like “with you, whatever” is at best not advisable. At worst it shows a contempt for Parliament and the decision making process in Government.

I have never been one of those people who has thought that Tony Blair should be tried as a war criminal. To suggest such a thing, that there is some equivalence between him and the likes of Radovan Karadzic, sentenced earlier this year for his part in the Bosnian genocide is to my mind inappropriate. The errors of Blair and his Government were not of brutality but of folly, negligence and incompetence.

Those were pretty major errors but nobody involved is actually going to face any consequences for that. How can that be? If Blair were still in office, he would have to resign in disgrace. A decade on, he enjoys a privileged and comfortable life with an international career.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 16 Comments

Farron reacts to David Cameron’s resignation

Tim Farron has said that this “self-inflicted wound” will be David Cameron’s legacy as he commented on the Prime Minister’s resignation.

12 months ago David Cameron had the best result of his career. Today, the worst.

I was honoured to share a platform with the Prime Minster on this campaign, but this result, this self-inflicted wound, will be his legacy.

There have been many things I did not agree with the Prime Minister on, but I must thank him for his stewardship of the country and for the way he took the very bold decision to create a Coalition Government in 2010. It was an incredible act of bi-partisan cooperation.

The result of the referendum has left him with no choice. In this immediate period, the Government must act quickly to steady the economy, reassure the markets, and immediately set a new course.

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Cameron should make way for people capable of making a positive case for Remain

Last night I spent an hour of my life I won’t get back listening to two men who, respectively, don’t much like and loathe the EU, take questions separately from an ITV audience.

It was every bit as dire as you would expect and then some. Watching Cameron head up the case for Remain is a bit like watching that kid (who would have been me at my school) with no hand-eye co-ordination being forced to captain the netball team. Except, of course, that nobody forced Cameron into that position. He chose to pander to the right wing of his party and UKIP.

What was worrying is that the worm thing on the Times Red Box website was mainly pro Farage, but I did wonder if that was because the sort of demographic who would be using it would be more predisposed to Leave. Matt Chorley’s email this morning confirms that, saying that 80% of those using it were pro Brexit to start with.

The problem is that he sounds half-hearted in his arguments for the EU. There is no positivity, nothing in his demeanour or his words to inspire people to vote his way.

During the Scottish referendum, for all he increased the Yes vote every time he opened his mouth, he did at least appear sincere about wanting the UK to stay together. Don’t, he said, vote Yes to hammer the f-ing Tories. He seemed genuinely worried, at least until the result was declared and then he was quick to put party before country and pointscore on English Votes for English Laws.

Last night, Cameron did a lot of Leave’s job for them, legitimising their anti-immigration lines rather than spelling out the many positives of immigration. The whole programme centred round the economy and immigration. That was it. Nothing on human rights, nothing on workers’ rights. The latter is the one argument that I’ve found can switch people. Very few people actually think that the Tories would preserve their hard-won employment rights, particularly if they move substantially to the right post Brexit.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 30 Comments

Laws: Cameron was frightened of Boris

David-LawsI just happened upon the tail end of Michael Crick’s Channel 4 programme about the relationship between Cameron and Boris. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it. The programme contains an interview with David Laws in which he says that Cameron and Osborne were always very sensitive to what Boris was doing. Asked if he thought Cameron was frightened of Boris, David said “Yes.”

He also savaged the Prime Minister for putting the country through this referendum, taking such a huge gamble with the nation’s future,   purely to try to deal with the age-old split in his party.

Michael Crick wrote about his programme for the Radio Times site:

Some see Johnson’s declaration in favour of Brexit as another calculated move, albeit a huge gamble – one that almost matches Cameron’s big risk in holding the referendum in the first place. The friends and allies of 2005 are now seemingly adversaries to the death, as Cameron increasingly came to fear Johnson as the only man who could really destroy his leadership.

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