Cameron's speech - Seeing through the spin

David Cameron spoke today in an attempt to blame Gordon Brown for the expenses scandal. The press seem to have allowed Cameron to be quoted, but not put any of his quotes in context.

Cameron said

"Last week we had the latest revelations from Parliament. The details might be new but the feelings they provoke are all too familiar. Disappointment. Despair. Even disgust. But as I argued in my speech at the Open University in May last year, anger at the expenses scandal is just the most forceful expression of a deep frustration people feel with our whole political system."

Indeed David Cameron might have said this, but the last time expense reform went before the house of Commons it was blocked with the great help of 21 Conservatives MPs, many of whom are members of David Cameron's front bench. If he really felt that strongly about reform, should these parliamentary expense reform "blockers" really be in his shadow cabinet ?
"It’s a system in which too much power is concentrated in the hands of the elite and denied to the man and woman on the street. We’ve been seeing the symptoms of that for years. Decisions made behind closed doors. The Houses of Parliament bypassed and undermined."

The ironic thing is, as Michael Brown, the respected journalist and former Tory MP said on Newsnight tonight, David Cameron has been the most controlling centralising leader the Conservative Party has had. He has introduced systems in to the Tory party that have manipulated who gets selected for safe Tory seats, and his words do not match his actions. and that leads us on to ...

"Money buying influence. Too often just an elite few choosing the people who become MPs for many years. We can’t go on like this."

Don't mention Lord Ashcroft to Mr Cameron. A multi millionaire who over nine years after receiving a Tory peerage, has yet to confirm if he pays full UK tax. Money, it seems clearly to me, can buy influence within the Tory Party.
"We’re just weeks away from an election. This should be the highest point in our democratic life – but never has the reputation of politics sunk so low. We’ve got to fix our broken politics and we’ve got to start fixing it now. The question is: who’s going to do it, and how are they going to do it?"

And one wonders why Mr Cameron when you make such a duplicitous speech, decrying the Labour Party but then replicating and in many cases doing exactly the same things within your own party.

"We are a new generation, come of age in the modern world of openness and accountability. And when we say we will take power from the political elite and give it to the man and woman in the street - it's not just because we believe it will help fix broken politics. It's what we believe, full stop.
We don't believe that an arrogant, all-controlling government sitting in London passing endless laws and regulations actually makes things better. In fact, on many occasions it makes things worse."

But again Mr Cameron, this does not equate or add up with your own party policies announced this week. Only yesterday the Tories were announcing plans to remove powers from local government to scrutinise and make planning decisions on new schools. Instead of locally elected local councillors making these decisions, and being locally accountable for them, the Tories propose that a minister in Westminster would make the decision. This flies in the face of your comments in your speech.

"As well as cleaning up Parliament, we’ve got to empower it. There was a time when Parliament used to stand tall, a beacon of democracy leading national debate. But people look at it now and see a place they feel little connection to, play little part in, and don’t feel proud to represent them. It all adds up to a weak Parliament – and we’ve got to get its strength back.
That must start by making people feel connected to it. They don’t right now, because they don’t feel connected to the politicians in it. To restore that link we need to restore proper accountability – we need to give people the feeling that they are the ones pulling the strings and that they hire and fire their representative in parliament."

The best way to get people to engage with politics would be to get rid of safe seats, have a system of fair votes and ensure that people's votes actually count. Of course, it is only the Conservative Party that actually opposes these plans. Hypocrisy ?

"And one of the biggest constitutional changes in our history - our membership of the European Union - has practically passed Parliament by. We are hopeless, totally hopeless, at scrutinising the European legislation, regulation and spending that affects our country."

Indeed Mr Cameron, we have given away lots of powers to the EU. too many in my opinion (as a Euro sceptical Lib Dem). But the biggest give aways in recent years were the Single European Act (signed by Mrs Thatcher without any referendum) and the Maastricht Treaty, signed by John Major without a referendum. We really should take no lessons on the EU from the Tory Party.


Johnny Norfolk said...

You never examin Labour or Brown like this. I think you are more of a Tory hater than anything else. It is Labour that is in government and I think more examination of what labour have ACTUALLY done rather than what the Toeries MAY do would be far more apropriate.

Oh I forgot you have been taken in AGAIN by Labours look at the voting system.

Norfolk Blogger said...

A Brown speech has not receievd this much coverage. That's why I tackles Cameron, but it is the hypocrisy that is why I cover this.

We all know Brown is the ptoblem, we all know labour isn't working, but for Cameron to pledge that he will do the very opposite of his own party's policies, that he offers real change and that he offers a new type of politics is total political bankruptcy.

We do need a new politics, but as I make clear, Cameron's actions speak louder than his words.