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Wednesday, August 16, 2006 

David Cameron: still an idiot.

One of the few things that Obsolete is proud of is that this blog is within the top 5 results on Google when you search for "David Cameron+idiot". I don't have any idea how that came about, but it's still one of the main searches that brings people here.

I digress. Cameron yesterday, fresh from wherever he's been on holiday, decided to open his big trap to say that "I do not believe the government is doing enough to fight Islamist extremism at home, or to protect our security."

Whoops! Within seconds John Prescott appeared out of the locked room he's been kept in, frothing at the mouth like a English sheepdog with rabies, yelping that Cameron's comments "were almost beyond belief." A Home Office minister popped up to say the Tories "talked tough but voted soft", and today John Reid said "I think David Cameron's remarks are disappointing and ill-judged. At a time when we need the maximum unity in this country and throughout Europe, I think they were unhelpful."

The trouble with what Cameron said isn't that he's wrong on the actual details of what he suggested should be done; that the Muslim taskforce set-up after 7/7 was almost entirely ignored, and that intercept evidence needs to be made admissible in the court system; on both points he's entirely right. It's just that his main rhetorical flourish was a load of crap, and he walked straight into a huge trap.

The Home Office minister was shrewd enough to realise that the Tories voted against what the Prime Minister and police/security services felt were desperately needed powers to hold terrorist suspects for up to 90 days. Their opposition, before Cameron had ascended to the leadership, resulted in the Sun calling a huge number of MPs 'traitors'.

This isn't to say that the Labour ministers aren't huge hypocrites. For Prescott and Reid to suggest that Cameron's remarks threaten the unity of the country is nonsense. There is no unity in this country, as anyone other than a Labour apologist could have told you. Any unity that may have developed in the aftermath of 7/7 was demolished on two fronts; firstly with the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, and secondly when Blair decided to make his "the rules of the game are changing" speech. "The unity" certainly hasn't redeveloped since then, and the Forest Gate raid meant that a large proportion of the population are now sceptical about the huge threat that John Reid wants to convince us we're facing.

Even so, Cameron should have kept his mouth shut, at least until parliament is either recalled or reopens, or the government makes it known whether it is going to introduce yet another anti-terror bill. After all, the government's main media sponsors, the Scum and News of the World have already started to question whether the current legislation is tough enough. That the Sun did so the day after the plane plot was apparently foiled suggests that they've already been briefed as to what Downing Street plans to do.

Rather than being opportunistic, as they were accused of being in the aftermath of the terror vote, the Tories stand against the very worst aspects of last year's legislation was highly principled and a politically difficult decision. They knew they'd be criticised, and might even strain the support of their typical devotees, but it meant that this country was not thrown into the disgrace of having laws that would shame a dictatorship. Thankfully, Cameron's speech yesterday suggested that there's unlikely to be a change in policy; instead he suggested that there should be "a more hard-nosed defence of liberty."

Even more humourous were the suggestions from Labour that Cameron was "playing politics with terror", which coming from the government which played up the non-existent ricin plot, the non-existent threat to Manchester United's ground and sent tanks to Heathrow is just slightly rich. What should also be watched is just how similar UK and US rhetoric on the war on terror is now becoming: while Bush spoke of "Islamic fascists", Reid today talked of an "intolerant and violent totalitarianism", which pretty much sums up plenty of the regimes which the UK and US are propping up, both in Central Asia and in the Middle East. The move to compare the threat currently faced to that from Nazism in the 30s is something which governments over previous decades have tried to do to the other contemporary "daily hate" figure: the Soviets, Saddam Hussein, Libya, etc etc.

Really though, there's plenty of ways that Cameron could have gone about attacking the mostly bogus threat level. BlairWatch details a number of ways he could have gone about it, and Simon Jenkins' article in the Grauniad today makes good points about real risk levels and general hysteria. Cameron could have suggested that this government is increasingly using fear to sell its policies: why else would sections of the police be so insistent on having new "instant justice" powers? Because "yobs" threaten us just as much as terrorists do, duh. He would have been attacked, but he'd have less damage done to the credibility of his position.

There we have it. Cameron's still an idiot, mainly because he hasn't quite yet worked out how to spin like Blair and his cronies have for years. He's still a vacuum, as evidenced by the mini-manifesto launched today, which is the same re-hashed Tory policies of old, just with a kind, gentler, greener face. The only decent ideas are the drug rehabilitation schemes, binding targets for emissions and scrapping ID cards. A genuine Labour movement would have all three of those, but this Labour government is increasingly to the right of the Tories. The choice though, remains the same as ever. Either evil, the lesser of the evils, or a wasted vote. The only hope remains the hung parliament and Tory-Lib Dem coalition that brings in PR. We can but dream.

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Good stuff. Wholeheartedly seconded.

On the google front, nice work. This post'll probably cement your position at the top. The post titles make a big difference apparently.

I'm currently number one for "John Reid idiot". Strangely, it doesn't get me many visitors. Perhaps it's so self evident that no-one feels the need to google it.

It might also be because Reid isn't an idiot in the sense that Cameron is. He knows full well what he's doing, which makes him all the more dangerous. John Reid+cunt is more like it.

Thanks for the comment.

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