Who’s hiding in the shadows? Cameron’s cabinet problem

Like many of you, I’ve looked at the various versions of the David Cameron poster that have been created, some of them absolutely hilarious. If you haven’t looked at them, you should definitely go and check them out on the most visited politics site in the UK after reading this blog. Even the original poster, slapped on billboards around the nation by the Tories, is fairly amusing. It’s not that the photo has been touched up. We all know most photos in adverts and magazines get touched up. Just part of everyday life. It’s more that this one has been touched up so badly, and the Conservatives didn’t think anyone would notice. It’s laughable really.  

As well as providing non-Tories with a lot of giggles and providing the Labour party with the basis for a viral campaign, the original poster does draw attention to something else. The poster puts all the focus on David Cameron (admittedly mostly on his forehead, but we can’t all be perfect) as the Tories have done for the last couple of years. He’s the leader of their party and probably their most marketable asset. Which is fine if everyone around the country was voting for him, but only the people of Witney will be doing that. Voters might be happy with the idea of the Tory party being all about Cameron if Cameron was going to be in daily charge of all the departments of state, but he wouldn’t be, would he? He has to appoint Secretaries of State for that. And that’s where it all rapidly goes wrong for the Tories. Because his shadow cabinet has all the depth of an RBS-backed Kraft cheese slice.

George Osborne is the Chancellor-in-waiting. The man who would be in control of the nation’s purse strings has a meagre understanding of his brief and even less of an interest. The millionnaire aristocrat who told the country “we’re all in this together” when it came to the recession and then recommended policies that economists say would have deepened the problems as they did in Ireland. The man who even the Tory party are scared to let out  in public in case he should, you know, say something. He’s also the man that was investigated for financial irregularities over the Deripaska affair, predicted the total collapse of sterling, and was rebuked for overclaiming on his mortgage payments. It’s safe to say his grasp of finances isn’t his best attribute. 

William Hague has the foreign portfolio. Well known as a failed former leader and brilliant orator, as well as a half-decent biographer, he has a love of all things American and commentators have noted his apparent disinterest in, erm, everywhere else. He pulled Conservative MEPs out of their centre-right grouping and aligned the party with extreme right wing anti-federalist groups.

The shadow home office desk is overseen by Chris Grayling. Responsible for one of the biggest departments, including law and order, Grayling is the MP who claimed £100,000 for a second home in Pimlico despite his constituency home being less than 20 miles away. Last year, he infamously compared Manchester’s Moss Side to the crime-ridden set of US TV show The Wire. In the same statement, he said that during a one-day guided tour with Greater Manchester Police, he’d witnessed “urban war”. A couple of months later, during his party conference, the BBC asked him about Conservative plans to offer Richard Dannatt an advisory role. He said he hoped it was not a “political gimmick”, and said “We’ve seen too many appointments in this government of external people where it’s all been about…..PR.” He later said he was “really delighted” with the idea. Ooops.

So we, as Labour activists, need to remind people who it is that could be running the country.
Vote Brown, get Mandelson, Darling, Johnson, Harman, Balls, the Milibands, Straw, and of course Brown.

Vote Cameron, get clowns.


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