David Cameron will go down in history as the British Prime Minister who was so out-of-touch with the impact of his own policies that the leader of his local council – who is a member of the same political party – had to spell it out to him “as if to a slow learner”.
Now, Cameron’s letter of protest to Oxfordshire County Council has prompted the Labour Party to accuse him of hypocrisy – supporting harsh cuts while pretending not to know their implication for the country.
In fact, it is more likely that he is just plain stupid – but neither explanation excuses him for what he has done.
Here’s Guardian columnist (and fellow Mid Wales resident) George Monbiot on the latest blunder of the Stupid Party:
In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire County Council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameron expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. This is the point at which you realise that he has no conception of what he has done.
Cameron complains that he is “disappointed” by the council’s proposals “to make significant cuts to frontline services – from elderly day centres, to libraries, to museums. This is in addition to the unwelcome and counter-productive proposals to close children’s centres across the county.” Why, he asks, has Oxfordshire not focused instead on “making back-office savings”? Why hasn’t it sold off its surplus property? After all, there has been only “a slight fall in government grants in cash terms”. Couldn’t the county “generate savings in a more creative manner”?
Explaining the issue gently, as if to a slow learner, the council leader, Ian Hudspeth, points out that the council has already culled its back-office functions, slashing 40% of its most senior staff and 2,800 jobs in total, with the result that it now spends less on these roles than most other counties. He explains that he has already flogged all the property he can lay hands on, but would like to remind the prime minister that using the income from these sales to pay for the council’s running costs “is neither legal, nor sustainable in the long-term since they are one-off receipts”.
As for Cameron’s claim about government grants, Hudspeth comments: “I cannot accept your description of a drop in funding of £72m or 37% as a ‘slight fall’.”
Again and again, he exposes the figures the prime minister uses as wildly wrong. For example, Cameron claims that the cumulative cuts in the county since 2010 amount to £204m. But that is not the cumulative figure; it is the annual figure. Since 2010, the county has had to save £626m. It has done so while taking on new responsibilities, and while the population of elderly people and the numbers of children in the social care system have boomed. Now there is nothing left to cut except frontline services.
Have you ever wondered how the prime minister sleeps at night? How can he live with himself after imposing such gratuitous pain upon the people of this nation? Well now, it seems, you have your answer: he appears to be blissfully unaware of the impact of his own policies.
Amazingly, the stupidity does not even end there. In a related Guardian article, a stupid spokesman for stupid David Cameron said, stupidly: “There is still significant scope for sensible savings across local government to be made by back-office consolidation, disposing of surplus property and joining up our local public services; we will be discussing with Oxfordshire how this can be taken forward to help protect frontline services.”
What part of “the council has already culled its back-office functions” is in a foreign language to this stupid spokesman for the Stupid Party? What part of the information that the council “has already flogged all the property” available to it? What local public services does he envisage “joining up” – waste collection and adult social care, perhaps?
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