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Posts Tagged ‘David Cameron’

STRATEGI | Det är nästan omöjligt att inte då och då ägna sig åt sällskapsspelet ”Tänk om…” när det gäller politik och valrörelser.

david-cameron

Om förlorarna bara hade gjort a, b, c så skulle valresultatet blivit helt annorlunda.

Men ofta är dessa kontrafaktiska resonemang näst intill meningslösa. En som dock lyckats ganska bra när det gäller folkomröstningen i Storbritannien är Tim Shipman.

Shipman är politisk redaktör på The Sunday Times och författare till All Out War: How Brexit Sank Britain’s Political Class.

I The Spectator har han listat sju händelser och strategiska vägval som skulle kunnat ge Vote Remain segern och därmed garanterat premiärminister David Camerons fortsatt regeringsinnehav.

1 ”A proper ‘deal’ with Brussels.”

2 ”A Yes/No referendum, not a Leave/Remain.”

3 ”Losing Dominic Cummings as head of Vote Leave.”

4 ”Michael Gove backing Cameron — and Remain.”

5 ”Vote Leave not being recognised as the official Out Campaign.”

6 ”Accurate opinion polls.”

7 ”Cameron making a pre-referendum ‘vow’ on immigration.”

När det gäller punkt sex och sju skriver Shipman följande:

Korrekta opinionssiffror:

Throughout the campaign, Stronger In’s pollster Andrew Cooper told Cameron and Osborne that they would win the referendum and that economic risk would trump immigration with the key swing voters. Cooper’s surveys — indeed, those of most pollsters — dramatically underestimated the number of traditional non–voters who would turn out for Leave (nearly three million of them). Cooper’s polls convinced Tory high command that they should stick to the gameplan which won them the Scottish referendum and the general election — of using warnings about economic risk. Had they known they were behind throughout the campaign, Cameron’s team would have felt compelled to change tack. As one campaign aide put it: ‘Frankly, we’d have been better off having no polling at all, or going out into the street and randomly stopping every fourth person and asking them what they thought.’

Cameron och immigrationsfrågan:

Non-Tories in the Remain campaign, including Will Straw and Peter Mandelson, repeatedly demanded that Cameron make a Scotland-style ‘vow’ telling the public he had listened to their concerns on immigration. Cameron’s aides wanted him to say he would veto Turkish entry into the EU. Cameron felt any public comment on migrants helped Leave.

In a meeting 11 days before the referendum, Cameron ruled out making a speech or a vow. The following day his communications chief Sir Craig Oliver emailed Cameron to say he should do something. Cameron went into work the next morning resolved to act, but was again talked out of it. In a call with Merkel, he made no requests. ‘If you ran the perfect campaign on immigration you still wouldn’t have made the fence on the issue. But you would have been competing,’ a Remain campaign staffer said. ‘And we just didn’t compete.’

Bild: PA

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SWEXIT | Den som följde den svenska debatten kring Brexit lade säkert märke till att Jonas Sjöstedt syntes mer än vanligt i media.

Jonas Sjöstedt

Men vad ville Sjöstedt med alla sina framträdanden? Det är inte säkert att någon riktigt uppfattade något tydligt budskap.

Vänsterpartiet verkar inte riktigt veta vilken fot man skall stå på när det gäller frågan om en eventuell svensk folkomröstning om EU-medlemskapet.

Men läser man mellan raderna kan man ana att partiet skulle välkomna en folkomröstning. Men tydligen vågar man inte säga detta rent ut. Därav deras minst sagt vaga budskap.

Troligtvis är man rädd att äventyra Vänsterpartiets strategi att alltid försöka framstå som ”statsmannamässig”. Detta kräver att man inte uppfattas som ett ytterlighetsparti i viktiga frågor.

När Vänsterpartiet inte fick ingå i den rödgröna koalitionen var Sjöstedts upprördhet påtaglig. Men istället för att dra maximal nytta av sin oppositionsroll har partiet valt att fortsätta på den inslagna vägen.

En annan orsak till att man inte vågar ta ordet folkomröstning i sin mun är att man då skulle hamna på samma sida som Sverigedemokraterna i frågan. Därav deras något krystade resonemang kring Brexit och dess konsekvenser för Sverige.

Så här lät t.ex. Sjöstedt i Svenska Dagbladet inför folkomröstningen i Storbritannien:

Den brittiska kritiken mot EU har flera ansikten. Kritik mot EU-medlemskapet finns från både höger och vänster. Men en påfallande högljudd del av den brittiska EU-kritiken präglas av nationalism, traditionell högerpolitik och ibland ren främlingsfientlighet. Det är en form av EU-kritik som vi känner oss främmande inför. Vi kommer därför inte att stödja någon sådan brittisk nej-kampanj. Vår EU-kritik handlar om folkstyre, självbestämmanderätt och demokrati.

[…]

Om Storbritannien väljer att lämna EU bör de erbjudas ett nära samarbete med ett nytt avtal med EU. Ett avtal som kan ersätta dagens EES-avtal och i vilket även Norge kan ingå. Ett sådant avtal ska garantera fri varuhandel utan tullar och personers fria rörlighet. Samtidigt måste maktförhållandena i ett sådant avtal ändras så att de inte ensidigt bygger på att samtliga länder ska tillämpa EU-rätten. För att vara hållbart på sikt bör avtalet vara ett avtal mellan jämbördiga parter när gemensamma regler utformas.

Ett sådant nytt avtal skulle göra ett brittiskt utträde ur EU mindre dramatiskt och kunna vara grunden för ett gott framtida samarbete mellan våra länder. Ett brittiskt utträde ur EU skulle säkerligen starta en debatt om fortsatt EU-medlemskap i Sverige och andra EU-länder. Ett bra samarbetsavtal skulle vara ett bra alternativ om/när Sverige eller andra länder i framtiden väljer att lämna EU.

Detta låter som Sjöstedt både vill ha kakan och äta den.

Rivalen Kommunistiska Partiet har satt fingret på Vänsterpartiets ömma punkt. Så här skrev Jenny Tedjeza, chefredaktören på partitidningen Proletären, om partiets inställning:

Vänsterpartiet har, för att behålla sin parlamentariska ställning, stegvis tonat ner kravet på ett EU-utträde och därmed lämnat öppet fält för högerpopulistiska och nationalistiska strömningar att ta över. För att sedan använda den yttersta högerns EU-motstånd som en förevändning för att i praktiken helt överge kravet på utträde.

När det nu visar sig att Storbritannien är EU-kedjans svagaste länk och Brexit-anhängarna ser ut att kunna vinna torsdagens folkomröstning vägrar därför Vänsterpartiet och Jonas Sjöstedt att ta ställning, just med hänvisning till de nationalistiska, främlingsfientliga och konservativa elementen i Brexit-kampanjen.

Istället bekänner sig Vänsterpartiet idag till den diffusa EU-kritik som bygger på föreställningen att unionen kan göras mer progressiv inifrån.

Klockrent.

Sjöstedt skulle aldrig erkänna det men Vänsterpartiets strategi hamnar bra nära premiärminister David Camerons inför folkomröstningen.

Så här skrev tidskriften The Spectator i en kritisk ledare efter Brexitvalet:

His strategy of holding a renegotiation of Britain’s terms of membership with the EU, followed by an in-out referendum, was logical.

[…]

The fault with Cameron’s strategy is that it was based on a false premise: that the EU is open to reform. It is not and never will be. The louder the voices for reform, the more its unelected leaders retreat into their siege positions. The threat of a British referendum was supposed to jolt them into the realisation that their dream of a pan-European pseudo-state is less and less shared by the public. But instead of sending scouts to hear what the people wanted, they stayed up on the ramparts and boiled the oil ready to pour on the mob.

Detta vet även Jonas Sjöstedt. Trots detta har han valt att låta mer som David Cameron än EU-motståndarna på den svenska vänsterkanten, inklusive de som finns inom det egna partiet.

Expressen ställde en direkt fråga till honom efter valet i Storbritannien. Sjöstedts lät återigen som den konservative premiärministern innan han tvingades gå med på en folkomröstning om EU.

– Det kan komma ett läge då vi tar upp frågan om folkomröstning om ett utträde i Sverige, säger han.

[…]

Vänsterpartiet var det enda av riksdagspartierna som inte ville ta ställning inför omröstningen. När beskedet om brexit kom på midsommaraftons morgon meddelade V-ledaren att han vill omförhandla det svenska medlemskapet.

Men du sträcker dig inte så långt som att du vill ha ett swexit?

– Det kan komma ett läge då vi tar upp frågan om folkomröstning om ett utträde i Sverige. Men då vill vi först veta vad som är förutsättningarna för ett omförhandlat medlemskap.

Detta är tydligen Vänsterpartiets försök att triangulera. Men vaghet i stora avgörande frågor brukar inte belönas av väljarna. Vi får se om det lyckas för Sjöstedt.

Bild: Anna-Karin Nilsson / Anna-Karin Nilsson Expressen.

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VAL 2016 | Inom Torypartiet kampanjar man idag inte bara för Vote Remain eller Vote Leave utan också om vem man vill se som nästa premiärminister.

Newsweek 20 maj 2016

Även om kampanjen för att positionera Boris Johnson, partiets populäre tidigare Londonborgmästare, inte sker allt för öppet kan alla ändå se tecken på att striden pågår bakom kulisserna.

Johnsons strategi tycks gå ut på att bara kritisera David Cameron när det gäller hans inställning i folkomröstningen. I övriga frågor har Johnson intagit rollen som den lojale partianhängaren som inte kritiserar sin premiärminister.

Isabel Oakeshott, political editor-at-largeDaily Mail, har skrivit en artikel i Newsweek om rivaliteten mellan de två och kampanjen kring Cameron och Boris Johnson.

Johnson publicly declared he would be campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, in direct opposition to Cameron, who called the referendum but is backing the Remain campaign.

Johnson’s announcement—on the issue that has repeatedly divided the Conservative Party over the past three decades—added personal drama to the historic decision facing the British electorate on June 23: whether to remain part of the economic and political bloc that formed in the wake of two catastrophic wars in Europe to bring peace and prosperity to the continent. The now-public contest between Johnson and Cameron will result in either the defeat and possible resignation of a sitting British prime minister or a potentially fatal blow to the ambitions of his rival, Johnson, who may be the most intellectually capable and popular politician of his generation.

”The last thing I wanted was to go against  David Cameron or the government,” Johnson told reporters gathered outside his home on February 21, the day he made his public declaration.

[…]

The prime minister had good reason to believe his entreaties to Johnson might work. Johnson is multilingual and fundamentally internationalist in outlook. Privately, his doubts about the merits of the EU were usually outweighed by his appreciation of its benefits. But he wavered. A friend of Johnson’s, who wants Britain to stay in the EU, says Johnson once told him, ”I have to warn you, one day I might say we should come out of Europe.”

After Cameron’s election victory in 2015, the prime minister promised to negotiate a new relationship between Britain and the EU, one that gave Britain more power over its own policies. Still conflicted, Johnson waited until Cameron had concluded his dealmaking before making up his mind. In the end, it was Johnson’s wife, Marina Wheeler, who helped persuade him that the prime minister’s deal did not reclaim enough British sovereignty.

If Johnson ends up on the losing side of the referendum it would be a blow—but, in an odd twist, he could end up benefiting from the defeat, because in the eyes of many Conservative MPs he will have been on the right side of the argument. The next few years might then play out like this: Cameron stays on as leader and prime minister until 2019 (the process for choosing a new leader takes several months), or he might quit earlier; a leadership contest takes place; and Johnson defeats Cameron’s key ally, George Osborne, chancellor of the exchequer, who is less popular with the Conservative legislators. (A March poll by YouGov showed 43 percent of Conservative Party members backed Johnson to be the next leader, while just 22 percent backed Osborne.)

In that scenario, Johnson would likely lead the Conservatives to an election victory in 2020, over a Labour Party that has weakened since its catastrophic defeat in 2015. That would bring Eton’s tally of prime ministers to 20.

Publicly, Johnson shrugs off the suggestion that he is fixated on getting to 10 Downing Street. In truth, his campaign for that job seems to be well underway. ”Low-key and loyal to Cameron” is how an insider describes his strategy. By ”loyal,” the insider means that Johnson is not making it his business to challenge or undermine the prime minister on subjects other than Europe. His outriders—a handful of MPs working, very unofficially, on Johnson’s behalf in an attempt to improve his prospects—are assiduously avoiding the small but significant faction of anti-EU Conservative MPs who detest the prime minister and would like him gone at any cost. At this delicate early stage, Johnson can’t come over as too grabby.

He is unlikely to find an easy path to the most powerful job in Britain. Osborne, who has played Cameron’s understudy for years, will fight him hard. And while Tory MPs like a winner—and even Johnson’s political enemies acknowledge his electoral successes—he hasn’t cultivated his colleagues. During his long years in City Hall, he spent little time in the House of Commons tea room—networking, sharing gossip, forging friendships and alliances. Colleagues who envy his career or disapprove of his foibles and indiscretions are unlikely to hold back from damaging his chances when they can.

Tidskriftsomslag: Newsweek den 20 maj 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Säg den glädje som varar. När Labour valde Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare var det många konservativa som tackade högre makter.

New Statesman 8-14 April 2016

Inom partiet var näst intill säker på att regeringsmakten var näst intill säkrad för lång tid framöver när det största oppositionspartiet valt en partiledare långt ut på vänsterkanten.

Detta naturligtvis under förutsättning att man inte förflyttade partiet för långt ut åt höger. Detta var också premiärminister David Camerons strategi efter partiets överraskande valseger. Man ville säkra sin position i mitten.

Men det var innan de interna partistriderna inför folkomröstningen om medlemskapet i EU. Nu befinner sig Conservatives i ett inbördeskrig mellan ”Leavers” och ”Remain”.

Skiljelinjerna mellan anhängarna till Brexit respektive Bremain går rakt igenom regeringen. Sex ministrar har t.ex. valt att stödja ett utträde.

Och detta är bara de som öppet har tagit ställning för ett utträde. Hur stort mörkertalet är i realiteten är det ingen som vet.

Simon Heffer, kolumnist i The Daily Telegraph och The Sunday Telegraph, har skrivit i New Statesman om stridigheterna och David Camerons krishantering.

The Conservative Party is approaching not only a historic referendum, but a historic moment of crisis. It is deeply divided over whether or not to stay in the European Union, and the divisions are unequal. At the top, most want to stay in: not out of conviction, but because most ministers have found it politic to agree with David Cameron, even if they cannot support his view that he got a great deal from other EU countries after his supposed “renegotiations” with them. Among MPs generally the mood is far more hostile; and at the party’s grass roots it is predominantly in favour of leaving. Where this ranks in the history of Tory party crises is not easy to say.

[…]

The current division is open and is breeding hostility, luxuries afforded by one of the Tories’ few unifying beliefs: that Labour poses no threat at the moment, and they can have a quarrel that may even verge on civil war without fearing electoral consequences. Whatever the outcome, the present quarrel allows the opportunity for a major realignment of the party without it having to go out of office. A minister who is (just, and after much soul-searching) committed to our staying in the European Union told me frankly last week that the Tory party was “a mess” and that, whatever happened on 23 June, the referendum would be the beginning and not the end of a painful process for the Conservatives.

[…]

There is an idea on both sides that scores will have to be settled after 23 June, and, the way things are going with party discipline and out-of-control aides in Downing Street, such an outcome is inevitable. Should Remain prevail, a wise prime minister would understand that this was a time to heal wounds and not deepen them. It remains a matter of conjecture how wise Cameron, whose vindictive streak is more often than not on the surface rather than beneath it, is prepared to be.

Those who work for his party at the grass roots, and on whom MPs depend to get the vote out at elections, will be unimpressed by a purge of those who have not backed him over Europe. There isn’t much of a voluntary party left, and there will be even less of one if he acts rashly in victory. If it is a narrow victory – and it is, at this stage, hard to envisage any other sort – his party could become unmanageable unless he acts with restraint and decency.

[…]

Conservatives worried about the stability of their party believe that only Labour under a new, more effective and less factional leader could present the serious electoral challenge to them that would shake them out of these unprecedentedly acrimonious and self-indulgent divisions. We can only imagine how differently the In campaign would be conducted if Labour had a nationally popular and an obviously electable leader.

As it is, many more dogs are likely to be unleashed. Things promise to become far nastier, dirtier and ever more internecine for the Tories, not just before 23 June but for a long time afterwards: and with the party in power for at least four more years, one can only guess what that means for the governance of Britain.

Tidskriftsomslag: New Statesman, 8-14 april 2016.

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FOTBOLL | När fotbollstidningen When Saturday Comes fyllde 30 passade man på att fundera över hur synen på sporten förändrats över åren.

WSC April 2016 Issue 350

When Saturday Comes gave voice to a quizzical tone of protest at a time when the Conservative prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, believed football supporters were a hooligan mob, an ‘enemy within’, to be singled out for compulsory identity cards. Such is the transformation of the game’s status since that her successor, David Cameron, feels compelled to present as a fan himself, even when he can’t remember which club he says he supports.

Tidskriftsomslaget: Premiärminister David Cameron: ”We’ve got to stay in.” Englands coach Roy Hodgson: ”At least until the quarter finals.” (WSC: When Saturday Comes, nummer 350, April 2016)

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VAL 2016 | Det kommer att bli svårare för David Cameron att få ett Ja i EU-folkomröstningen sedan Boris Johnson valt att stödja ett utträde.

The Spectator 27 February 2016

Många ifrågasätter om det var en så klok strategi från Cameron att så intensivt attackera den populära Londonborgmästaren efter hans besked om att han tänker stödja ”out”-kampanjen.

En av premiärministerns anhängare citerar t.ex. Michael Corleone: ”Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”

James Forsyth, redaktör The Spectator, har beskrivit Camerons reaktion när det stod klart för honom att Johnson inte kommer att stödja premiärministerns kampanj för att Storbritannien skall stanna kvar i EU.

Many Tories had doubts about David Cameron’s EU renegotiation, but only Boris Johnson was promised a piece of legislation to assuage his particular concerns. It was quite a compliment. The so-called Sovereignty Bill was, in effect, the Get Boris Onside Act. It was designed to deal with the Mayor of London’s fears about the relationship between the British parliament and courts and the EU. It was also mooted that Boris would be offered a top cabinet job — perhaps Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister was convinced that this combined offer would be enough to secure Boris for the ‘in’ campaign.

But a few days before the Brussels summit, when Oliver Letwin telephoned Boris to run through the Sovereignty Bill, he sensed trouble. As the conversation went on, Boris’s concerns seemed to multiply. Even if Cameron secured his deal, he said, EU law would still retain supremacy over UK law. And there was still no answer to the question, posed by Boris’s wife Marina Wheeler QC in The Spectator, about the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Then Johnson told Letwin he was going to put the call on speakerphone while he consulted his dinner guest Michael Gove. The Lord Chancellor was already known to be tending towards supporting ‘out’. When Letwin finally put down the phone, the Tory leader-ship had to face the fact that Boris might follow Gove in backing Brexit. Perhaps this episode explains why Cameron was so short with the Mayor when they met the next day to discuss the matter.

Four days later, Boris made it official. He would defy Cameron and advocate leaving the European Union. Today, the two best-known Tories in the land stand in direct opposition on the most important vote the UK has had since the second world war. Only one of them can win.

Cameron is infuriated by Boris’s decision and makes little attempt to disguise it. In the Commons he launched a thinly veiled and deeply personal attack on his fellow Old Etonian, implying that he was only backing ‘out’ to further his own career. After the exchange, one observer said Boris looked as if he had been mugged. A member of his camp said: ‘We weren’t expecting a warm reception, but we weren’t expecting that level of vitriol either.’

And it has only just begun. Cameroons claim Boris’s decision is an act of ‘naked self-interest’. A source close to the Tory leadership predicts that Boris’s decision to back ‘out’ will be a disaster: ‘He’s going to struggle in interviews as he doesn’t believe in getting out of Europe and he’ll face the kind of scrutiny he’s not faced before. He’s not good on detail.’

The personal attacks will only increase in ferocity as time goes on. ‘He was given all the time in the world to make up his mind,’ another source adds. ‘He’s made his bed, he’s now got to lie in it.’ When I asked if Boris could still serve in a Cameron cabinet, the acid reply was: ‘Boris will make a very good International Development Secretary.’

It might be satisfying to savage Boris in this fashion, but it is not entirely wise — as some cooler-headed Cameroons admit. No. 10 appears to have forgotten Michael Corleone’s dictum, ‘Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.’ But if it wasn’t war before, it is now. ‘Boris is going to have to come out gloves off,’ warns one minister who is backing ‘out’. The Mayor is acutely aware that he is fighting for his political Life.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 27 februari 2016.

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VAL 2016 | Som det ser ut nu kommer premiärminister David Cameron att få ett Ja i folkomröstningen om Storbritannien skall stanna kvar i EU eller inte.

The Spectator 6 February 2016

Som så många gånger i valrörelser handlar det inte bara om att ena sidan kampanjar väl utan lika mycket om att motståndarna är riktigt dåliga.

Trots att ingen, inte ens EU-anhängarna, blev speciellt imponerade av innehållet i det avtal som Cameron tog med sig hem från EU-förhandlingarna verkar motståndarna blivit helt tagna på sängen.

Anhängarna av Brexit verkar varken kunna formulera ett konsekvent budskap eller få sin kampanjorganisation på plats. Och med tanke på det tidiga datumet för folkomröstningen måste man på bara några månader göra det man skulle behöva år för.

James Forsyth skrev följande i The Spectator:

Eurosceptics could hardly have asked for more favourable conditions for a referendum. After barely surviving a financial crisis, the European Union has been overwhelmed by an immigration crisis — one made much worse by its failure to control its own borders. The European Commission seems determined to make itself even more unpopular in Britain, and is considering whether VAT should be levied on food and children’s clothes. At a time of righteous anger at sweetheart tax deals for multinational corporations, the man who bears more responsibility for these than anyone else in Europe is its president, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Then came David Cameron’s renegotiation. After months in the kitchen, Cameron has come up with the political equivalent of nouvelle cuisine: a tiny, disappointing dish served up with a big fanfare. He has nothing, for example, on the Common Agricultural Policy, or the fisheries policy that has inflicted such misery on British seaside towns. When he proposed the referendum three years ago, he spoke of a fundamental recasting of Britain’s relationship with the EU. This has been abandoned. Donald Tusk, president of the EU Council, confirmed after unveiling the proposed deal that the principles of the EU would not be altered by it.

So this ought to be the moment of Eurosceptic triumph. Instead, the movement is in chaos.

[…]

The arguments for Brexit are all there, waiting for someone persuasive to marshal them. Events could also intervene. Cameron and Osborne are so keen to get this vote over as soon as possible because both know how volatile the situation is. A repeat of last summer’s migrant crisis, another ‘Cologne’ or the eurozone going to the brink again could sway public opinion towards quitting the EU.

Yet at the moment Britain is sleepwalking into an ever more centralised EU, and the painful truth is that Euroscepticism is not ready for the confrontation that it has so long agitated for. With the government intent on a June referendum, the ‘out’ campaign will have a few months to do the work of years. If it cannot do that, then Britain will stay in the European Union. More than that, voters will have ratified the transformation from the European Economic Community that we joined in 1973 to the imperial institution that the European Union is today.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 6 februari 2016.

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POLITIK | Har vänsterns försök att vinna val på klasskamp misslyckats? Det ser åtminstone så ut i Storbritannien.

Francis Urquhart, played to icy perfection by the late Ian Richardson.

Idag ser inte Labour ut att kunna komma ur den grop man grävt åt sig själv genom att välja Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare.

I tv-världen är Ian Richardsons tolkning av karaktären Francis Urquhart, från den engelska serien House of Cards, den typiske maktpolitikern inom det konservativa partiet.

Men även om premiärminister David Cameron har just en sådan privilegierad bakgrund som lätt kan framstå som den klassiska nidbilden av en konservativ politiker så är det Torypartiet som väljarna har förtroende för.

Toby Young, associate editor på tidskriften The Spectator, tror att det mest är den politiska klassen och media som tror att politiker från “överklassen” är till nackdel för ett parti. Väljarna däremot bry sig inte.

Following Labour’s triumph at the 1945 general election, the aristocracy became convinced that the nation had been seized by revolutionary fervour and embarked on a frantic public relations offensive. Stately homes were demolished, accents were played down and ostentatious displays of wealth became taboo. As Nancy Mitford put it in her famous essay on the subject in 1956: ‘The English lord has been nurtured on the land and is conversant with the cunning ways of the animal kingdom. He has often seen the grouse settle into the heather to rise and be shot at no more.’

Whether as a result of this strategy or not, no serious attempt to redistribute wealth has taken place since the Attlee administration. One of the most striking facts about post-war politics is that if you discount the three victories won by Tony Blair — who was about as left-wing as David Steel — Labour hasn’t won a general election since October 1974 and that barely counted. Without Blair, Labour hasn’t won a convincing majority since 1966, almost 50 years ago. The politics of envy has failed.

To be fair, even the Tory party, which prides itself on understanding how to win and retain power, took a while to wake up to this. After Alec Douglas-Home failed to win in 1964, it concluded that the party should never again be led by a toff and the next three leaders seemed to vindicate that decision with varying degrees of success. But after three consecutive losses in 1997, 2001 and 2005, it was forced to re-evaluate this policy and put another Old Etonian in charge. Exactly 10 years later, David Cameron has proved to be one of the most successful leaders in the party’s history.

Some might argue that Cameron has only triumphed by toning down his privileged status — resigning from Whites in 2008, for instance – but such efforts have always been half-hearted.

[…]

Inside the Westminster bubble, the Prime Minister’s promotion of his friends to his inner circle is regarded as a political mistake, since it adds to the impression that he’s in politics to help out his rich chums. In fact, there’s no reason to think it has harmed his party’s electoral prospects. The British public isn’t nearly as obsessed by class as political journalists. In their eyes, I suspect, all politicians seem to be from another planet, with little attention paid to whether they went to Eton or Haverstock Comp.

Bild: EMPICS, via Landov. Ian Richardson som Francis Urquhart i den engelska tv-serien House of Cards.

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PROFIL | Få väljare har någon tydlig bild av premiärminister David Cameron som person och politiker.

Standpoint November 2015

Trots att Cameron nu är inne på sin andra mandatperiod framstår t.o.m. hans ideologiska övertygelser som aningen otydliga.

Och trots sina valsegrar – som bl.a. gett det konservativa partiet egen majoritet i parlamentet för första gången sedan 1992 och räddat kvar Skottland i det förenande kungariket – kommer historien antagligen bedöma honom resultatet av kommande folkomröstning om Storbritanniens medlemskap i EU.

Stephen Glover, krönikör i Daily Mail och tidigare redaktör för Independent on Sunday har försökt ge en bild av vem han är som person och politiker.

Glover skriver så här om Cameron i tidskriften Standpoint:

What kind of man is David Cameron? It is strange to be asking this question of someone who has been leader of the Tory party for 10 years, Prime Minister for more than five, and about whom there exists a colossal amount of information.

[…]

It is true he is almost unthinkingly ambitious (at 14 he declared without having shown much interest in politics that he was going to be Prime Minister), and capable of ruthlessness. We saw how at Prime Minister’s Questions he loved to play Flashman to poor, heavy-footed Ed Miliband. But if he knows how to be shitty, he is not a shit. On the contrary, his nature is sunny and well-meaning. I even found myself reinterpreting some words of congratulation he had uttered after I had delivered a eulogy at a friend’s memorial service in 2007 at which he was present. He twice complimented me, which seemed excessive. I assumed then that he was trying to oil up to a journalist, but now I wonder whether he wasn’t going out of his way to be kind to a stranger, offering words of reassurance to someone plainly exhausted by making a testing speech that was probably not particularly good.

Of course, we should never be starry-eyed about the people who rule us, but I submit the proposition that, his sense of entitlement and flashes of ruthlessness notwithstanding, Cameron is unusually decent for a leading politician, as well not unpardonably (in view of his considerable gifts) confident.

With the elegance and self-assurance of one of those natural cricketers at school capable of scoring a hundred without breaking sweat, he has eased his way forward through life apparently effortlessly. There were sadnesses, of course: his father’s disability, and later, and much more tragic, the serious illness and death of his first child, Ivan. But the early misfortune was mitigated by his father’s good cheer and lack of self-pity; and the latter, when it came, could be dealt with because he was such a well-balanced and grounded person.

[…]

Most of us grow tougher as we get older, and doubtless David Cameron has done so, but I don’t think this unguarded benevolence has left him. If he were a dog he would be an enthusiastic Labrador, bounding up to strangers with automatic good will and lack of suspicion, his tongue lolling out ready to bestow a lick, and reluctant to bare his teeth even when provoked. (He does, however, bear unLabrador-like grudges. Two prominent Tory MPs have told me that he has not spoken to them since being, in his view, crossed by them.) There is also an innate languor that can make it difficult for him to work up his energy levels.

[…]

As I write, David Cameron is basking in the sun. He has won the first Tory majority since 1992. The Labour party has turned in on itself. His only plausable rival, Boris Johnson, is marginalised and diminished. So confident is the Prime Minister that he made a centre-ground, even left-leaning, speech at the Tory party conference that might have tumbled from the lips of Tony Blair. In it he reached out rhetorically to the poor and dispossessed. (There was, however, one surprisingly tough-sounding passage about Islamic extremism in Britain that was largely ignored.) Things have never looked so good for our suave, sleek, soft Prime Minister who has filled out a bit, and looks ever more authentically Tory — master of all he surveys.

But there are once-in-a-generation issues in politics that cannot be dodged or massaged away by efficient despatchers of business and consensus-seekers. Europe is one of them. It looms like an iceberg in front of David Cameron and his administration. I am not at all sure he has any idea of what is coming his way.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint, November 2015.

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INTERVJU | David Cameron hoppas att hans eftermäle skall bli att han ”moderniserade” Conservative Party och erövrade den politiska mitten.

The Spectator 12-19-26 December 2015

I intervjunThe Spectator beskrev han också för tidskriftens medarbetare James Forsyth och Fraser Nelson sin förvåning över hur Labour utvecklats efter valförlusten och valet av Jeremy Corbyn till partiledare.

Cameron säger det inte rent ut men han tackar säkert sin lyckliga stjärna att Labour valt en partiledare långt ut på vänsterkanten samtidigt som Liberal Democrats näst intill utplånats som politisk kraft i Storbritannien.

He says he is ‘a great believer that you have got to do things properly and make sure you behave appropriately’.

[…]

Is this still the political epitaph he would like? Cameron shoots back a quick: ‘Yes, I think it is very important.’

So rather than an ‘ism’ or any great political mission, he would be content with a perhaps slightly old-fashioned sense that generally he handled events as well as he could. It is one of the curiosities of Cameron that while he is so often described as ‘a moderniser’, he actually harks back to a much earlier tradition of political leadership.

[…]

He declares that the general election was a ‘victory for Tory modernisation’ because he won votes from all manner of parties. ‘It demonstrated that you don’t have to keep tacking to the right to win votes — and, indeed, actually it’s a self-destroying ordinance if you do.’

Cameron says he is particularly proud of gay marriage, labelling it a ‘big achievement’, and talks with pride about how he still gets ‘a regular stream’ of letters. ‘As people go to get hitched, they send me a nice letter saying thank you very much.’ He is convinced that opposition to it is almost gone, remarking with great satisfaction that ‘even Nigel Farage is now in favour of gay marriage as far as I can see’. This is a change of emphasis: when he listed his proudest achievements during the Lynton Crosby-run election campaign, gay marriage didn’t feature. What a difference a majority makes.

Changing the Conservative party is something that still matters to Cameron: he wants his ‘one nation’ politics to define Conservatism even after he’s stepped down as leader. This is why he was so pleased by the speeches of his two most likely successors at Tory conference, George Osborne and Boris Johnson. ‘What surprised me, in a very positive way, was that the tone, message and overall feel of those speeches were absolutely similar. Very much that the Conservative party should be strong in the centre ground, a compassionate force.’ He says that it made him think that ‘this party really has changed in a good way. A traditionally Conservative way of responding to events and things going on in our society to make sure it is still doing a proper job.’

[…]

Ultimately, the most surprising development in British politics this year was not Cameron’s majority but Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader. Cameron admits that he ‘did not see it coming at all’. He seems genuinely puzzled — ‘I thought it was so obvious why they lost the election’ that they would plump for a ‘more sensible centre–left approach’ — but likes to credit himself with a small role in Labour’s lurch to the left. ‘One of my longstanding friends and supporters said that because the Conservatives have taken the sensible centre ground, we have left Labour with so little to camp on that they have done that classic reaction of heading off into the hills.’

Tidskrifsomslag: The Spectator den 12/19/26 december 2015.

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