Oh for heaven’s sake Mr Cameron, if you want us to believe your brave words, don’t read them out as if you were a contestant in the Slough Grammar reading competition. Go study Bill Clinton. Learn how to deliver a speech so that people believe what you’re saying. What you did yesterday in Davos was to convince us that you’re not convincing. You had every right to berate Eurozone leaders. They do need to get a grip and sort things out, but say it in a way you’ll be noticed, not ignored – as you most certainly were.
Whenever David Cameron delivers a speech it’s not only his delivery that lets him down, his whole demeanour shouts insincerity and lack of confidence. He only seems to be at home at PMQs when he’s bullying the boy Miliband. Says volumes about what sort of man David Cameron really is, does it not?
Leaving Cameron’s presentational skills, or lack of, aside, it seemed a little bizarre he should choose to lecture Eurozone leaders on the very day that heralded Britain’s return to recession. Was he trying to blame the Eurozone for Britain’s problems? (Danny Alexander spent most of Tuesday doing just that.) The Eurozone crisis has certainly not helped, but exports to Eurozone countries have held up well. No, our problems are home grown.
What I detect in Cameron’s ‘demeanour’ is that he’s a frightened man. Why? Because he hasn’t a clue what to do. Few would argue that the deficit has to be reduced as quickly as possible, but to embark on a programme of naked destruction with no plan for growth, and what’s more, no clue about how to achieve growth, is a recipe for complete disaster. Without growth, the deficit is likely to increase and condemn Britain to decades of austerity. He’s an intelligent man, I think he now realises this, but doesn’t know what to do. He’s lost.
The time has come for him to summon up the courage and to take control. He needs to stop talking and do something. Time for action not words. He needs to listen less to George Osborne and surround himself with wise folk who can provide the ideas and inspiration he and his current set of advisors clearly lack.
There are so many things he can do, but he has to think big. He needs imagination and daring. For example, infrastructure spending: there needs to be a massive Macmillanesque house building programme. The creation of an infrastructure bank to fund other infrastructure projects. The creation of several ‘business banks’ to ensure SMEs get the loans they need at the right rates – and offer treasury indemnity for a proportion of those loans. There are a host of other ideas, but the key is to get things started as soon as possible. Delay will only exacerbate the problems we already have.
The engine of growth is consumer confidence, and that will only return when Cameron thinks big and acts big. The emphasis must be on the positive with a clear and well articulated programme of action. Now!
But does David Cameron have the will, the balls, does he have the courage? I’m not sure he has. Mouse or man?