Sunday, 12 October 2008

Dave & the sound of the crowd

Another curious week for the main party leaders: The Brow-Furrowed Son of the Manse (who has appeared relatively gay at times over these terrible last seven days); and the man whom most young Tory PPCs think of as Jesus but to whom Simon Heffer near-religiously and sneeringly refers to as 'Dave'.
Cameron has capped it by going on Adam Boulton's Sky show and saying: yes, he would support the government taking a majority shareholding in RBS; yes, Brown did ‘the right thing in announcing the pan to recapitalize the banking system’; and yes, he accepted that accordingly ‘borrowing is gong to increase.’ He further declared that ‘it would be completely wrong for senior executives in those banks to get a bonus this year’ and, when asked about whether some ought to get the sack, remarked that he ‘would be very surprised if they all kept their jobs.’
So another robustly bipartisan show from DC, the stuff about bankers very much contra to Boris Johnson’s would-be stirring statements at Tory party conference the other week; and the stuff about state intervention in banks clearly not the message George Osborne would have liked to convey at conference either, at least before the initial collapse of the US bail-out caught that conference squarely on the hop.
It looks like in the main the Tories are going to sit this ruckus out politely, trust that in other respects Cameron’s strident efforts to make the party look a little more clean-limbed and cuddly will be judged effective, and that in the long run the electorate will end up blaming the Government for The Crisis. John Rentoul in today’s Independent certainly thinks they surely will: ‘We can argue about whether they are half-right or half-wrong to blame Brown for the economic difficulties that now loom before us, but there is no doubting what the majority opinion is. I expect that the Tories' focus groups reflect the views of the members of the public buttonholed by TV cameras on the street last week: they blame the Government and are especially furious that they, as taxpayers, should be asked to bail out the greedy bankers who were allowed to break the economy.’

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