There was a time – though it seems hard to believe now – when David Cameron had the aura of a “nice guy” about him. One of the biggest problems that Labour had at the last election was the failure to persuade the public that Cameron was a nasty old Thatcherite. The public didn’t believe it. He was “call me Dave”. He hugged huskies and hoodies. You could almost imagine going for a pint with him.
Not any more. Now he’s the guy who makes insensitive comments about the Hillsborough disaster and fails to apologise for them. “Bad Dave” is back with a vengeance.
He’d been holding back in recent weeks, but today BadCam returned. Bullying. Hectoring. Rude. Shouting. The “crimson tide” flashing up his face and turning him beetroot red from the outset of this boisterous PMQs. The Labour benches cheered and jeered at Cameron’s embarrassment. That only served to turn Bad Dave into Desperate Dave.
And desperate he was, lashing out at Miliband indiscriminately, whilst showing no interest in answering Miliband’s simple (and somewhat bland) questions. Perhaps Ed had been reading Lord Ashcroft’s thoughts earlier today, that suggest the more the Tories bang on about Europe, the less likely they are to win the next election. If so it’s a smart tactic – because this PMQs was all about Europe, either overtly or covertly. Does Cameron want to opt out of the social chapter? Does he want to throw away the promotion of employment and improved living and working conditions contained within it? He wouldn’t say. Instead he listed some countries that he didn’t like – Portugal, Greece, and even Italy got a passing mention. All part of Cameron’s spectacular European diplomacy plan one presumes. Who would be an ambassador eh? Even after Miliband sat down, the linegring discomfort was still there. The knowledge of the enemies that Cameron has sat behind him. not the Lib Dems of course (they do what they’re told), but the enemy within. Those who John Major called the “bastards”. Cameron now has bastards of his own. And they’re hurting him.
The nadir of today’s PMQs was when Cameron decided that in was acceptable parliamentary language to call Miliband a “mug”. The speaker – often accused of being soft of Labour by the Tories – let it slide. Afterwardss Labour MP Kevin Brennan asked if “mug” was now acceptable for use in the house as he’d like to use it to describe Nick Clegg. How we laughed. But my advice to Labour MPs would be to hope Cameron uses such insults again – it shows clear as day when he’s losing.It’s an even better indicator than the flushed face or the ostentatious hand gestures.
The poor man is as transparent as clingfilm, and on today’s performance, he’s just as flimsy.