Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Here's something you should read too, Prime Minister

It is of course very good that a busy Prime Minister should take time in the House of Commons at Prime Minister's Questions no less to promote the activities of the Fabian Society.

"Maybe they should listen to the speech that the trade and industry shadow minister is to make this afternoon", Cameron said. "He will say quite rightly: "Fight the cuts is a tempting slogan in opposition. But if that is all we are saying the conclusion will be drawn that we are wishing the problem away".

We have a new problem in British politics: its called deficit denial, and I am looking at a whole row of them.

That was rather selective in many fairly characteristic ways.

Cameron somehow managed to omit "and there are indeed some that must be fought" from the quotation he had cribbed from this morning's Guardian.

But given that Pat McFadden (actually shadow Business secretary) had already given the speech this morning, well before David Cameron was speaking at noon, might it not now be rather a good idea for the Prime Minister to take his own advice and read the speech himself?

After all, a good centrist like Dave ought to find the advocacy of neither Thatcherism nor denial interesting and useful in working out how to come up with a "progressive" policy agenda.

And the PM might particularly want to ponder the critique of why the Coalition government's lack of an account of the role of government in the economy gives it no obvious means towards promoting those jolly nice Cameroonian objectives of a rebalanced economy, better skills and a low carbon economy.

Pat McFadden told Next Left:

“Cameron didn’t mention that the speech said that the Tories must take responsibility for the consequences of their budget decisions. That these things are a matter of choice and judgement and that, while of course, a simple fight the cuts position is not enough, there are some that we should oppose, especially those that hit the poorest or that tear up the root of future economic growth”.

Cameron's 'Punch and Judy' answer was a not particularly relevant response to a sensible, rather non-partisan question from Labour's Russell Brown who had quoted the director of Parkinsons UK about a new Oxford trial. Brown said he was sure was welcomed on all sides of the House, and sought an assurance that, "despite the global economic conditions", the Prime Minister would commit to protecting important medical research.

Cameron ignored the topic he was asked about, instead reaching for his folder of notes and leafing through it to read out a selective quote from this morning's Guardian, to set up his pre-prepared lines to seek to reinforce his narrative about the deficit, an argument which McFadden's speech had unpicked and challenged.

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