Sunday, December 30, 2012

My response to David Cameron's "New Year's message"

David Cameron's New Year's message is very poor stuff. There are no less than four uses of Cameron's favourite "Our country" - a strangely alien and ambivalent construct. There are no less than four defensive paragraphs about the "inheritance" - haven't his advisers warned him that that line has long ago run out of steam? He is speaking for the Government but there is no mention of its Coalition status and the overall tone is Party political despite his attempts at inclusion. The word "we" is used 23 times but the "Big Society" gets no mention - indeed the fact that most of us get on with our lives and take our own decisions is ignored. The work that Games Maker's did in London 2012 was just a symbol of the fact that our citizens respond to challenges not because we are told to but because we want to and need to. Cameron's pompous message is all "top down" stuff - as if only Government can achieve change. I thought that Conservatives eschewed "Big Government" - well you wouldn't think so from this message.

There is no "thank you" anywhere in the message and no acknowledgement that we will only succeed if we are inspired to work and work together - which most of us try to do. And the world outside our shores only gets a mention as a threat - the "global race" with China, India and Indonesia (Indonesia?). How about our international partnerships and how about the fact that Britain is not alone nor can we be. This is not a "fight them on the beaches" moment - an acknowledgement of the interdependence of modern States would have been welcome.

It is a message full of blame-apportionment and loose rhetoric. A message from a man whose speech writing is repetitive and who assumes that Governing is the same as Campaigning. There isn't a spark of originality or intellect anywhere. There is no apology for failure. And above all no sign that Cameron understands how ordinary people live and what our true priorities are.