May 27, 2010

If Cameron is so much more than Blair reincarnated

Simon Jenkins in yesterday's Guardian:

The bond formed by David Cameron and Nick Clegg on May 11 produced an almost surreal moment in British politics, not so much a coalition as a fusion. Two lookalikes have become feelalikes, and it is hard to see how they can ever part. A cynic can add: fine so far … wait and see. But something remarkable has happened. It is time to take stock.
The government's ideological ambitions are almost identical to Blair's in 1997, which is why Cameron was so deftly able to fashion a centre-right coalition out of the ruins of New Labour's centre-left one. But he is a cleverer, deeper politician than Blair, with whom he once compared himself. Blair was hobbled by his obsession with headlines and his failure to understand how government worked. He surrounded himself not with doers but cronies.
Cameron suffers some of the same handicaps. But he seems a more original political personality. He is less blinded by the glamour of office. He walks to work and has dictated an ascetic administration. He seems to care about civil freedom, unlike Blair, and to be thinking afresh in areas of foreign policy.

Read the rest.

Since there are no cynics here, let’s put it this way: Fine so far ... keep up the good work, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Clegg!


  1. Simon Jenkins is a bit of a lefty-oddity himself. Which is why he fits in so much better at the Guardian than The Times. But he has, I think, Cameron well-sited.

    Cameron seems less interested in headline-grabbing that was Blair and Brown. In his opening weeks, he has rarely even been on TV; that unlike Obama who never seemed NOT to be on TV early on. Only today did Cameron give his first real PM speech.

    Cameron also has people around himself with actual life experience; they did not go from university to party organizer to MP, without ever participating in the world the rest of us do.

    Clegg has been rather the more visible; he, one reckons, is thrilled by the chance to help craft policy. No Lib Dem leader has in recent memory ever dreamed to have the opportunity to do more than snip from their 3rd party corner of The Commons and take part in anti-U.S. mass demonstrations (as Charles Kennedy did in February 2003).

    Whatever Jenkins says, it is a "fusion" perhaps only between Cameron and Clegg. Now, while everyone is still back-slapping and smiling. Overall, though, between the parties, it is most definitely a coalition: there are Tories who cannot stomach Lib Dems and vice versa.

    We'll see how long it lasts. But on the whole, they have won over a majority of voters its seems, for now at least. After the mess that they inherited, they deserve more than a few weeks or even months before everyone turns on them.

  2. Thanks so much, Robert, for helping us understand what's going on in the UK. Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend!