Tuesday 19 October 2010

There'll be no cuts to frontline services under a Tory government, says Cameron

No - that's certainly not what the government will say tomorrow as it unveils its comprehensive spending review.

But our current Prime Minister could hardly have been clearer on the final Sunday of the General Election campaign, speaking to Andrew Marr to make his final week pitch to the British public.

The widely reported promise on which Cameron sought a mandate was very helpfully captured and summarised in a report from Tim Montgomerie of ConservativeHome, to which we are indebted for our headline: "There'll be no cuts to frontline services under a Tory government, says Cameron".

There were certainly commentators and advisers warning David Cameron that trust depended on warning about the spending cuts he was planning to introduce - advising that he needed a ensure one prominent "to camera" moment where he explicitly sought a public mandate for what he planned to do in power, and which could be played back and referred to as the government outlined its proposals.

Instead, what Cameron told Andrew Marr and the nation was that he could make every saving necessary by cutting waste; indeed that he would personally veto any ministerial plans to cut frontline services to reduce the deficit:

"What I can tell you is any cabinet minister, if I win the election, who comes to me and says: 'Here are my plans' and they involve frontline reductions, they'll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again. After 13 years of Labour, there is a lot of wasteful spending, a lot of money that doesn't reach the frontline."

The quote could be of some use to David Cameron, since he now seems to have amnesia about what he did and did not ask for a mandate for. He told his party conference that "the result may not have been clear-cut when it came to the political parties. But it was clear enough when it came to political ideas".

The idea of the "high-spending" state had been defeated, Cameron claimed, neglecting to mention that he had neglected to mention this to the electorate at the time.

It is certainly true to say that no party can claim to have been straight about the public finances at the last General Election.

Neither David Cameron - still less Nick Clegg, who vociferously agreed with Labour through the election campaign on the timing, pace and scale of spending cuts - can claim any electoral mandate for the spending cuts they will propose tomorrow.

1 comment:

Stuart White said...

Thanks for this, Sunder. I'm going to create a link to this article on the facebook page of Oxford Save Our Services. We may use the quote from Cameron in one of our leaflets...