The Futility Monster

He'll pointlessly derive more enjoyment out of your resources than you

Cameron’s “Misspeaks”

Posted by The Futility Monster on August 6, 2010 @ 14:20


David Cameron is a long way from George W. Bush’s league in terms of mis-speaking, but the past couple of weeks have been rather interesting and perhaps slightly concerning.

It’s hard to believe that someone so polished, with so much media experience, and with a term of handlers who know exactly how the media will react to anything, could be making so many deliberate mistakes though. From his frank talk about council housing, to speaking the truth about Gaza, or getting the Iranians’ backs up, and then marching Pakistan’s President up the hill and then down it again, it really hasn’t been a good time for him lately in the PR stakes.

We can only assume, given they wouldn’t deliberately be putting their foot in it, that these are actually the first tentative steps of a Prime Minister not yet acquainted with the extremely diplomatic language used on the world stage. A sign of inexperience. Not yet ready for prime-time, as some might cruelly quip.

The question, though, is maybe his approach is right. We all, apparently, want our politicians to be straight-talking with us. But how much “straight-talk” can we accept before they start saying things we really don’t want to hear? See Election 2010 for the proof, and the lack of acknowledgement of what cuts were around the corner.

The bizarre thing is that Cameron actually seems to be being liberated by power, rather than being constrained, as is the norm. In opposition, desperate to detoxify the Tory brand, everything the Tories said or did was carefully planned and co-ordinated. Sure, muppets like Chris Grayling would occasionally make a mistake, but on the whole, the top brass moved in lockstep, and nothing came from their lips unless it had been approved by eight out of ten focus groups.

But now, Cameron is increasingly speaking his mind, something he wasn’t really known for.

It might get him into trouble, especially on the international stage, where no one says boo to a goose. Indeed, the only person who ever really did in modern times – George W. Bush – ended up being quite widely despised for his total lack of refined character and inability to press the flesh or keep people sweet. Coalition building was never his strong point…

And that’s the problem. Coalition government requires the key players to keep talking all the time, and certainly not in public. Not if you want to keep the presumption of good faith on all sides.

Perhaps discretion from our politicians is the best thing after all…


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