One day, maybe I will grow weary of pouring scorn on David Cameron. Then again, maybe one day he’ll stop being such a twonk. That day has yet to come.
He told his party conference at the weekend: “If last year was all about change, this year is about grit. The gritty determination to say where we stand on the big issues. To stick to our guns, to take tough decisions…”
So, following a year of screeching U-turns in which he junked the policies from the manifesto he wrote for Michael Howard, he can now guarantee consistency. Having apparently decommissioned his guns, he will now courageously stick to them.
On the NHS, he promised to end “Labour's mania for controlling and directing things from the centre” and yet condemned some Labour MPs for opposing hospital closures, which he also opposes, which were being carried out by individual NHS Trusts, to whom Labour had given the power to decide these things locally. Got that?
And Cameron criticised the Chancellor: “Gordon, you are not the answer to spin. You are spin, and we won't let people forget it,” he spun.
But his strongest contempt was reserved for an unnamed politician who was all PR and no substance: “Anyone can say they're green. It's easy to do the softer things like ride your bike, visit glaciers and rebuild your house to make it green.”
(As Tom Hamilton says, it certainly is easy to visit glaciers when you can afford to use a private jet. I presume the carbon emissions from the flight there were offset by those from the flight back – that is how it works, isn’t it?)
Wanting to assure us that he’d never dream of such media gimmicks, he said that he was ready to be tough and take unpopular decisions. He set up a fine contrast between his vague proposals for taxing aviation and Gordon Brown’s… er… increases in aviation tax in December (which Cameron ridiculed at the time) and Brown’s apparently imminent doubling of road tax for gas-guzzlers.
Another example of Cameron’s tough policy grit was tax breaks to support marriage – because if there’s one thing that’s always soooo politically bold for a Tory leader, it’s bribing the middle classes at the expense of lone parents.
In other news: A Sunday tabloid sent someone to rummage though Cameron’s dustbins, and found… rubbish. They could have just listened to his speech! Boom boom!