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David Cameron’s oddballs

7 September 2012

4:43 PM

7 September 2012

4:43 PM

I’m coming to the conclusion that the character of the Cameron government is the inversion of the Brown government. During the dying days of New Labour there was a snarling, socially dysfunctional Prime Minister whom most of the electorate found deeply unappealing. But around Gordon Brown was a group of Cabinet ministers who were really pretty impressive and, well, normal. Alistair Darling, Jacqui Smith, James Purnell, Andy Burnham, Ruth Kelly (remember her?), Alan Johnson, Yvette Cooper: these are all people who it was possible to imagine having  a chat or a drink with in the local pub (or perhaps wine bar).  I could go on.

The inverse is true with this government. David Cameron is socially adept and genuinely charming. Whether it is an act or not, he does good normal. At a senior level the Labour Party knows Cameron is the government’s biggest asset and remain in slight awe of him, much as the Tories were in awe of Blair in opposition. But who are those strange oddballs he surrounds himself with? Does he not realise how these people seem outside Toryworld?

The two main beneficiaries of the reshuffle represent the twin poles of Tory unattractiveness. The smug grin of Jeremy Hunt has become emblematic of the government’s patrician core, while Chris Grayling (known to Lib Dem colleagues as Voldemort) fizzes with Thatcher-era thuggishness. The defeminisation of the Cabinet has the effect of giving it the feel of an all-boys’ school. As any school teacher will tell you, girls have a civilising effect on a classroom of adolescent boys. The same is true of senior politicians. The blogosphere (another arena suited to bullying boys) is full of stories of “hysterical” female ministers failing to take their sackings or demotions with equanimity. This is playground stuff. Bring back the grown-ups.

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Show comments
  • rndtechnologies786

    Good view.

  • M. Wenzl

    “David Cameron is socially adept and genuinely charming. Whether it is an act or not, he does good normal. At a senior level the Labour Party knows Cameron is the government’s biggest asset and remain in slight awe of him, much as the Tories were in awe of Blair in opposition.”

    ?????

  • quietcommentator

    Hmm.. I think if we start talking about which politicians would be good for a chat in the pub we get into very dangerous territory indeed. I’m not being funny but can you really see yourself sitting at a bar with Ed Miliband? And there are quite a few ‘normals’ in the govt now – Theresa May is one, I’d love to go for a drink with Hague, Phil Hammond, although a bit grey, seems alright and IDS is great. Plus James Purnell is and was a bit weird.

  • alexsandr

    be with jaki smiff in the pub. I would run a mile. She is a nasty feminazi narrow minded theif. I’m glad i no longer have to see her smug face on the TV. Just worried i see her in the supermarket cos she lives quite close 🙁

  • Jules

    “David Cameron is socially adept and genuinely charming.”

    I’m struggling with this statement.

  • Jules

    “David Cameron is socially adept and genuinely charming.”

    I’m struggling with this statement.

  • Any school teacher.

    ‘As any school teacher will tell you, girls have a civilising effect on a classroom of adolescent boys. ‘ What a trite comment! There are plenty of uncivil girls and many civil boys.

  • In2minds

    Cameron has got balls?

  • Lerxst

    Vulture – surprised that you pick on Ruth Kelly. Yes, her particular religious leanings may not exactly be of the masses, and she might not have been the most effective of ministers, but she was a perfectly pleasant sort. Far easier to imagine sitting in a bar with than the deeply tribal Yvette Cooper.

  • Prof. Colin Talbot

    See my ‘take’ on why the whole Coalition has suffered from “Child-Child” syndrome over on Whitehallwatch.org
    Playing the Game Like Adults: Coalition does not mean Coalescence.

  • InundateLimp8
  • Vulture

    I always knew you were a bit odd, Martin. But the idea that either Jacqui ‘thunder thighs’ Smith or Ruth ‘ pointy chain round the thighs’ Kelly is ‘impressive’, let alone ‘normal’ puts you beyond the pale.
    And if you really would enjoy sitting in a bar with them, you need to seek urgent medical help.
    They were useless, pathetic and deeply unpleasant – like most Labour folk.

    • coventrian

      James ‘Sideburns’ Purnell? The man who suggested forcing welfare recipients to take lie-detector tests. Like your drinking chums Marty! Still I suppose it makes a change from Israeli war criminals.

      • Malfleur

        vote left – vote islamic terror

        • coventrian

          Get help.

          • Malfleur

            We are.

          • Malfleur

            We are.

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