With friends like these, this dog of a government has had its day

Exactly who does support David Cameron’s government these days?

He’s got Tory ‘grandees’ like Lord Tebbit calling it a “dog”; he’s got the 2010 intake of Tory MPs rebelling against him – presumably in the belief that they’ll have more chance of promotion through backstabbing than waiting for him to shuffle them into his ever-growing Cabinet; and he’s got Cabinet members who are themselves liabilities.

I suppose he should count himself lucky he’s got the support of all those corporate doners, pouring millions into Conservative Party funds in return for the billions of pounds worth of government or NHS contracts he’s been handing out to them (and the devil take the public, who won’t benefit at all).

The ‘youth revolt’ might be a serious threat to Cameron’s authority, but it is the attack from Tebbit that will be the most damaging. At a time when polling shows only one per cent of the population believes the Coalition is likely to be more competent than Labour, he made it perfectly clear that he thinks Cameron doesn’t know what he’s doing.

“This dog of a coalition government has let itself be given a bad name and now anybody can beat it,” he wrote in an Observer column.

“The abiding sin of the government is not that some ministers are rich, but that it seems unable to manage its affairs competently.”

This is an attack that the coalition will find hard to disprove, especially after Cameron’s hastily-announced plan to force energy companies into putting everyone on the lowest possible tariffs (of which the Energy Secretary and department apparently knew nothing). “Back-of-the-envelope” policymaking, as Ed Miliband might say.

“It has let itself be called a government of unfeeling toffs,” said Lord Tebbit.

Again – impossible to deny. Look at the Comedy Chancellor, Gideon George Osborne, sitting in a First Class train seat with a standard class ticket. One wonders if this will re-ignite the debate over rail ticket pricing – as they are clearly too costly even for a millionaire like him…

And then of course there’s Pleb-gate, or Gate-gate – the saga of the short temper and long decline of now-former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. Whether he actually called a Downing Street police officer a “pleb” or not is immaterial, and has been ever since it was first reported; that was the moment the public made up its collective mind and Cameron should have known it. Instead he hung on to a lost cause, dragging his entire administration down as the story dragged on.

Mitchell’s replacement is Sir George Young, a man who is on record has having described the homeless as “What you step over when you come out of the opera.” He has been described on the Void blog as “a stuck-up, not so nice but dim, advert for class war” and as a “chinless f*cking wet-wipe”. In other words, he’s likely to be even more unpopular than Mitchell.

Lord Tebbit, who – we are told – represents a growing number of senior Tories who are questioning whether Cameron has the qualities necessary to lead a government, said Cameron must impose “managerial discipline, not just on his colleagues but on himself.”

He continued: “Had Mr Miliband concentrated his fire on a long list of muddles – from the proposed sale of our national forests to the BAE and energy policy muddles of recent days, it would have been far worse.”

With respect, Lord Tebbit, Mr Miliband didn’t have to – you did it yourself.

And with friends like these, Cameron doesn’t need enemies. The Nasty Party’s reputation for back-stabbing is well-deserved.


  1. Chris Tandy October 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    A great article as usual, Mike. ~ I’m not picking holes here, but can I just point out that a ‘doner’ is a fat greasy confection guaranteed to make you vomit. I think you mean a ‘donor’. But on the other hand…

    • Mike Sivier October 23, 2012 at 12:34 pm - Reply

      “Donor” is exactly what I meant to write – and I usually take such pride in my spalling. Now, because of your comment, I’m going to have to leave the mistake in the article for all to see!

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