Tuesday, 19 March 2013

It's The Beginning Of The End For Agent Cameron

Leveson, traumatic and terrifying in equal measure, ending as it did 318 years of a free press, will go down as another, albeit much less significant, milestone.

It is the day the countdown to David Cameron's resignation as Prime Minister really began.

It is surely impossible now to see David Cameron as anything other than a hapless fool: his political handling of the whole Leveson affair has been truly horrendous from start to finish. To call the original enquiry was a dreadful error, but having originally stood up for safeguarding the freedom of the press, to then climbdown the way he has is nothing short of a total disaster. Had he stuck to his guns against statutory legislation, then at least he would have gone down fighting on an issue of high principle. Whether you agreed with him or not, he would have gained some level of grudging respect for his moral courage. Moreover, he would have surely have assured more favourable coverage in the press leading up to the next election, with his party relatively united behind him.

Instead, he showed himself to be a man of straw: weak, myopic, biddable and, as always, with a political tin ear towards everyone and everything outside his own Metropolitan bubble world.

Most seriously of all, it has reinforced the impression that he is, at the end of the day, really rather easily out-manoeuvred and is something of a loser. Behind the Eton gloss and style lurks John Major. David Cameron is an empty suit.

What remains of his dwindling band of  supporters must surely now see through him. This is especially true in the right-wing press, who must feel sorely betrayed. The great danger for Cameron is that they will now desert him, and, perhaps, the Conservative Party. Andrew Neil (@afneil) tweeted last night about the "huge anger" there was amongst major newspaper groups with him. Iain Martin, who became somewhat disillusioned with him some time ago, wrote in the Telegraph that Clegg and Milliband had Cameron by the short and curlies.  Either Cameron - not for the first time - just didn't think things through properly, or calculated in his arrogant, complacent way that everyone would,  come election time, grudgingly all fall into line.

Well, he may have sorely miscalculated on that score. Many newspapers must have looked at the rise in UKIP's support - and the lead taken by the Daily Express in particular - and must be wondering if some kind of flirtation with the party may be in order.

All this will not be lost on Conservative MPs and their remaining activists, of course. They have long suspected that Cameron wasn't really a Conservative, but now it must be obvious that he is becoming an electoral liability as well. After what is very likely to be yet another lacklustre budget from his chum Osbourne tomorrow, the serious plotting will begin.

Perhaps sooner than we think we will see the back him, with I imagine, mixed feelings from us 'Kippers. Yes, he has been a disaster as a Prime Minister, but with his carefully crafted insults and idiotic mistakes, he gravely weakened the Conservative Party and was the best recruiting sergeant we could have wished for.

Mission accomplished, Agent Cameron, return to base.