Behind the mask

How many times in recent weeks have we heard the Tories say that spending cuts aren’t ideological? How many times have they said they’re not enjoying the task? That ‘we’re all in this together’?

Lots right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I’ve never believed it for a second though, and now I’ve been proven right.

At a press conference in Brussels today, David Cameron tried to repeat the same old message and keep the narrative of necessity going. But he failed.

Following the BBC’s Michael Crick asking Dave how he can justify an EU budget rise of 2.9 per cent when huge cuts are made in the UK, Cameron said the following:

 “I would explain patiently – as I hope you will on Newsnight — that we were facing a 6 per cent increase. We’ve pegged that back to 2.9 percent.

At the same time, I will say, we’re all in it together, including, deliciously, the BBC, who in another negotiation agreed a licence fee freeze for six years. So what is good for the EU is good for the BBC.”

Crick came back with the retort that

“We’re getting a freeze. We’d love 2.9 per cent.”

Cameron then confirmed

“Well, I’m afraid it’s going to be a freeze. I am sure there are some savings available.”

Of course, anyone who has taken an interest in the spending review knows that the BBC didn’t even get a freeze. The BBC is being made to carry the costs of the World Service and Welsh language channel S4C, which were previously paid for by the Government. That means that the BBC is actually receiving a cut of 16 per cent.

That may have been a bit of banter, and I’ve no doubt that Hilton and Coulson will try to spin it as a Prime Ministerial joke. But the Tories have never been fans of expenditure on the BBC and letting the mask slip as he did, Cameron has shown a fleeting glimpse of his disregard for the suffering cuts cause to real people, whether they work for the BBC or claim child benefit. We really aren’t all in this together.  As far as the BBC goes, Team Cameron are apparently in this with Murdoch.


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