Coffee House

The gap between what David Cameron says and what he does

19 November 2012

9:18 AM

19 November 2012

9:18 AM

David Cameron (and a host of other politicians, including Ed Miliband, Vince Cable and Boris Johnson) will address the CBI’s annual conference this morning. Cameron’s widely trailed speech is a call to arms; indeed, he wants to put the public sector on a war-footing. The speech will contain the usual spiel about Britain being in a ‘global race to succeed’ and the need for innovation and cutting red tape, faster decision making etc, etc, etc.

You’ll know, of course, that these urgent words come from the man who feels that the decision on a third Heathrow runway cannot be made until after the next election. This fact mocks Cameron’s claim that ‘the Cabinet I chair is now a Growth Cabinet…I go around that table and hold people to account for progress on everything from superfast broadband to house-building, in a way that has never happened before’.


There is often a clear difference between what Cameron says and what Cameron does. And, for all his talk of ‘risk averse’ Whitehall and ‘bureaucratic rubbish’, the problem is political as much as it is administrative. The speech to the CBI will be tested against the Chancellor’s forthcoming autumn statement. Will Osborne add yet more regulations to the statute book? Will he complicate the tax code still further? Will the “tough decisions” lead to yet more Brown-style debt? We await the new political dawn with baited breath.

There is one area, though, where Cameron is determined to take action. As the Downing Street press release puts it, the Prime Minister will ‘announce plans to reform the Judicial Review process reducing the time limit when people can bring cases; charging more for successive reviews – so people think twice about time-wasting; and halving the number of appeals.’

This is not the first time that Cameron has picked a fight over planning law: it infuriates Tory backwoodsmen and makes for a good headline on page 6 of the Independent. Yet it is a philosophically troubling development for old fashioned Tories who believe that we are free by the law rather than from it. The no-nonsense jargon of the Downing Street press release partially disguises the fact that the executive plans to limit residents’ ability to challenge planning decisions; or, in other words, the executive will curb the private citizen’s access to the judicial system in the hope that economic growth might be stimulated. It also highlights a contradiction at the heart of this government: it preaches localism one week and centralism the next.

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Show comments
  • Daniel Tekel Thomas

    How can Britain be ‘in a global race to succeed’ when it is shackled to a dying horse.
    The European Union is on its last legs but Dave still insists our place is in Europe.
    The Conservative Party is going down the tubes and taking Great Britain with it. Our once proud country is being handed to Red Ed Miliband on a plate.

  • Open_Palm

    Nothing to add about the value of Cameron’s words. Just wondering how much of this ‘new’ tack stems from Nick Boles, whose aggressive stance on planning laws are well documented.

  • barbie

    There seems to be a message here in this article, do we believe the Conservatives anymore while Cameron is at the helm? Doubts and talk can ruin a man’s political career, but he has brought this on himself with is waffle in the past and lack of moral fibre. Making promises he could not keep, or half promises which deceived and gave the perception of a promise. He’s watched laws come he by the barrowful and done nothing to stop them, in the two and half years he’s been in power, one does have to ask why? Is it that the Lib Dems have so much power over the cabinet? He needs to step out of the shadow of the coalition; make waves, even storms, the Lib Dems are now decimated since the last by elections, now is the time.
    Next Thursday will be his D-day. Do or die. He will need nerves of steel, detirmination and will, if he fails he may find he’s on the way out. I don’t blame him not to put all his cards on the table, let them sweat a bit; they are all coming out with comments and it shows he’s got them wondering. The Poles whom we have supported through thick and thin now appear against us; well they would they are the ones with the most to lose. There is a lot to play for, if he can’t get then to see sense in this encomonic climate then he never will, he should then play his Ace card and walk away. We’ll walk with him he won’t be alone.

  • HooksLaw

    Loony tune central in full flood, with the charge led by Blackburn.

    In what sense is the problem political. Oh yes, at every turn when the govt propose planning changes to spur development we see tory backbenchers rebelling. The same backbenchers who vote with Ed Balls. Loony tune nut job hysterics, and David Backburn it seems, take the easy route and blame Cameron.

    • Vulture

      Oh, its lunchtime and Nurse has woken Hookie up for his rusks and medication.
      Everyone commenting here is a ‘nutjob’ except for our Hookie. Is that correct?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Luckily dave ed and nick have some way to go before they succeed in de-toxifying the electorate.

        The Romanians and Bulgarians should help by 2014

    • Colonel Mustard

      That is probably the way Cameron himself dismisses these criticisms and exactly why he will fail. The misgivings here are the tip of an iceberg – most people I talk to feel exactly the same way.

      There is no fool like a determined fool.

  • Powder

    One residential development of 30,000 houses on a brownfield site in north Kent has been mired in planning and appeals since 1995. This year they finally cleared one hurdle which will allow about 10% of the houses to be built by 2020. The rest? “Hopefully by 2040”.

    Yup. That’s right. Nearly half a century to build the number of houses the south needs to build every three months just to keep up with the creation of new households.

    NIMBYs aren’t the problem: BANANAs are.

  • In2minds

    Cameron – “global race to succeed”, from a man who has failed, not impressive, not at all!

  • Cassandra1963

    His actions are governed by a tiny but powerful minority, his regime governs on behalf of vocal and connected minorities. And yet most annoyingly for this new world order puppet he still has to play to his core support base, its only waffle of course but as the secret agenda is progressed the plebs need to fed the usual crap to keep them on side. Cameron does not work for or represent the British people, he works for and progresses the interests of common purpose, one of his main objectives is to destroy the conservative and by extension the right wing. As far as that goes he is doing a better job of it than any labour party leader.

    When Cameron pledged to deport Abu Qatada we all knew from the moment the words left his gob that Qatada was not going anywhere, that he was going to stay in the UK, and its cost us millions. And yet Cameron has to say the words he knows have no value, he has to waffle about Euroscepticism while working to progress EU interests. From the moment Cameron was hand picked to lead the Tories he has lied without pause or conscience to us. Lies have become common currency with a common purpose to progress a an anti democratic narrative.

    • Colonel Mustard

      We are all being played by these manipulative goons, traditional Conservative and traditional Labour alike. An English Spring is needed, but the real enemies of the people have to be identified and a real leader has to emerge to rally our resistance. With the people divided, by political tribalism, by identity politics and by manufactured class war, they continue to rule.

      • 2trueblue

        Should read ‘allowing’ yourselves to be manipulated.

        • Cassandra1963

          Thank the Gods that more and more people are finally waking up to the threat to our democracy presented by the likes of Cameron and his freak show.

  • Noa

    Cameron’s lack of leadership has destroyed the Conservative party. A lazy man, without courage, without convictions, disliked, distrusted.

    Chilled so much that the electorate relishes the opportunity to take an axe to him.

    • UnsungPolitician

      destroyed the Conservative party? surely thatcher done that, but i must agree, Cameron really lacks leadership

  • terence patrick hewett

    The PM seems to have taken leave of his senses: would he get the planning change through Parliament? Never in a month of Sundays.

    • Colonel Mustard

      It does seem as if he has gone doolally – or is just working through a pre-planned agenda to destroy the Conservative party once and for all. Is Cameron really a socialist? Has he done anything reflecting conservatism? Interested parties want to know.

      • Cassandra1963

        One thing is for sure Colonel, the Tories are finished as an electoral force, after 2015 they will be lucky to retain a quarter of their current seats, if Cameron really was working to destroy the right as represented by the Tories he has done a fantastic job of it. Cameron will go down in history as the man who destroyed the conservative party.

        • barbie

          I wouldn’t bank on that at all. Are you suggesting Miliband would be our saviour while we face an economic war? It was their foolish polices that got us into the mess more severely. I know full well we had a global economic crisis but they didn’t help by spending and giving to all and sundry. That is one area Cameron is at fault with, foreign aid. If you look back in recent history, and Labour’s immigration policies which have changed the traditional state of this nation, just for their parties gain, unforgiveable. That alone made me make the decision never to vote for then again. Tories take time to realise they are in danger but believe me they will wake up and when they do, you will see change swiftly come to pass. They have always risen to the cry of the UK and they will do so again. With or without Cameron.

          • 2trueblue

            Wonderful how easy it is to whip up total hysteria. It must be the weather. Who so they think got us to this point? Disengaged brains.

          • Cassandra1963

            Please do not think that Milliband is any different from Cameron, they share a common purpose and a common agenda that transcends party politics. A Milliband regime would be no different to a Cameron regime, they are one and the same.

  • perdix

    We need to provide fewer incentives for parasitical lawyers. They stick their greedy oars in every aspect of life, including planning.

  • RKing

    This says it all:-
    “executive plans to limit residents’ ability to challenge planning
    decisions; or, in other words, the executive will curb the private
    citizen’s access to the judicial system”

    Does he not realise that the “residents” are the people who voted for him?

    This new spin doctor doesn’t seem to know who the electorate are either!!

    • RKing

      Less immigration……. less new houses?

      • Heartless etc.,

        Less new houses …? .. but perhaps larger .. to accommodate the likes of Abu Quatada … who IS permitted to appeal … ad infinitum it seems.

  • Magnolia

    This is a desperate man now.
    All pretence at representing and speaking for the Tory shires has been thrown away.
    The man is clinging to the hope that pro-EU Labour and business voters will keep him in power so that he doesn’t have to be hateful to that nice Mrs Merkel.
    We have been told that he holds grudges and this looks like a two fingered salute to his backbench rebels who themselves truly represent the Tory voters.
    In June 2010, I suggested that Osborne should be fired for incompetence and last year I suggested that David Cameron was quite literally the mole (in the Smiley sense) who was set on destroying the British countryside and the Conservative Party.
    That doesn’t sound quite so nutty now does it?

    • Colonel Mustard

      I still can’t decide whether he is terminally stupid, plain arrogant or the Manchurian candidate – or perhaps all three. But he has certainly done no favours for English conservatism. If he isn’t a mole then I doubt a real mole could have done a better job of splitting the Tory party, establishing an incompetence worthy of Labour and making the party unelectable for the foreseeable future.

      But to be fair he just represents a minority of metropolitan elite thinking “nudged” to perform by a minority of elite metropolitan thinking in think tanks, quangos, fake charities and expert enquiries who believe that the majority are racist nut jobs who need to be “nudged” and treated like toddlers in a classroom rather than represented as adults. The city state of London exercises power over its far-flung and largely forgotten English territories, the serfs of which have to be “nudged” and re-constructed to think correctly and not to resist the blessings of urbanisation, mass immigration, inventive taxation, projectile vomited regulations, incessant nanny nagging and wind farms. In short we the electorate must conform to represent what they want.

      • UnsungPolitician

        I think you should contact me colonel, your views are really great, i would love for you to write a piece on the tory party for a new site i am launching, contact me by email at

  • Vulture

    Cameron does not say one thing and do another. He says one thing and does…..absolutely FA.
    He is an empty bag of fart gas with a rubber face that emits the occasional raspberry. As David Davis points out today no-one believes his promises any more.
    And as Boris points out today, if he were a real leader he would stand up for Britain. But he isn’t and he won’t.

    • mikewaller

      According to today’s Times [not a bad paper, but as it owned by dear old Rup I never buy it; this one was on free loan at Waitrose) what dear old Boris Minor has had to say for himself is that Cameron should speak up for the banks and stop talking about the debt crisis.

      Out here in the real world, if DC did the former he would earned the visceral hatred of millions of people who think, not entirely correctly, that the banks caused it all; and if he did the latter he would kill the one factor which has helped businesses to cope with the continuing recession: their workers’ understanding of just how serious the situation is.

      So nought out of ten for Boris Minor, just about what should be expected for a guy whose one big idea entails sucking a large number of our feathered friends into aero-engines. .

  • Colonel Mustard

    He preaches localism but imposes centralisation. He promised to sweep away the nanny state but is instead extending it. There is not so much a “gap” between what he says and what he does but rather that he does the opposite of what he says he is going to do. And when he is challenged on this (which is not often and invariably half-hearted) his weasel words and troubled frown are something to behold.

    His direction seems to change like a wind vane with any robust gust from a minority agenda lobby, as in the case of the internet where 52 million people will have to follow a parental controls regime because 110,000 very silly people signed a petition. But in reality for him to act decisively on anything his personal values have to align to the lobbying objective, as with gay marriage and windmills. Then he becomes arrogant. On anything else he dithers.

    • dalai guevara

      Bang on Colonel, a rare occasion where we completely agree. Pickles must be out of a job, what is he actually doing right now? Buying up the last of the cheap White Lightning in his local?

  • TomTom

    Only Francisco Scaramanga can save the Tories !

  • TomTom

    Be fair, Cameron wants to give Developers more in return for their funding his party through the Conservative Planning Forum and the Reuben Bros. He is so like Blair but without the charm….a Charmless Blair in essence. He is panicking as he realises it will be hard to make it to 2015 and he is likely to be out on his ear with nothing but muddle and confusion to his name, and a reputation for deceit. He is so typical of the kind of Heathite mediocrity pretending to be a national saviour………….frankly, we need rid of these idiots and this series should be cancelled as it is losing audiences rapidly

  • Mirtha Tidville

    The headline says it all……..Cameron is just piss and wind…no more no less

    • Heartless etc.,

      piss and wind … correct … and why else resist appeals but to ease the way for him to piss money away on HS2 and Wind Farms?

      • dalai guevara

        You forgot to mention the subsidies to nuclear, fracking and the bearded smiley to complete the list. The bearded smiley scores top on my list: not only has he robbed me and you of a couple of hundred million quid by taking over NR, he also continues saving up to buy another Caribbean island from funds generated by his rail arm. Meanwhile, the French and Germans run their superior rail infrastructure in public ownership.

    • EJ

      Cameron HAS to go. I’m starting to think he won’t make it to 2015. He is HATED.

      The only hope the Tories have is to put someone like David Davis in charge. He speaks for conservatives on the issues conservatives care about. If this does not happen, UKIP will decimate the Tory vote. As you say, Cameron is piss and wind. He’s also an arrogant, contemptuous Leftie Trojan horse.

      • mikewaller

        The only role suitable for David Davis is that given the Duke of Windsor in similar circumstances: Governor of Bermuda i.e. put the daft beggar somewhere where he can’t do any more harm. He had his one “tryst with destiny” and blew it. Ever since he has just dome one damned fool thing after another.

        Prior to day’s nonsense about Europe he current star turn was the duo he has formed with that other time-expired veteran, Jack Straw, concerning prisoner voting rights. What an amazingly stupid topic over which to pick a fight. There are less than 100, 000 of the beggars anyway and most people who actually know something about lowering the horrendous re-offending rate suggest that teaching the large number of illiterates amongst them to read and write would be a big help. Getting at least some interested in politics might give them an incentive to improve their literacy. All in all the whole episode is a shameful waste of time and effort.

  • Jock

    Startling revelations. Politician says one thing and does another. Bears defecate in the woods.

    • Andrew Paul Shakespeare

      So much for localism.