The rumblings of right-wing discontent at David Cameron’s leadership grow louder on the day that he confirms the end of the patient’s passport (on which the Tories fought the last election) – of which more later.
Irwin Stelzer – a key aide of Rupert Murdoch – uses a column in The Guardian to complain about David Cameron’s consensual style of politics. The points he makes are a reworking of things he wrote for yesterday’s Sun:
"One has only to look across the Channel to the double-digit unemployment in France and Germany to realise that when the state requisitions too large a portion of a nation’s wealth, the private sector becomes unable, or unwilling, to invest, create jobs and take the entrepreneurial risks involved in innovation. Yet Labour and Tories agree: the state must continue to grow. Indeed, they even agree, in effect, on the rate at which that growth should take place…
The consensus does not stop with public-sector growth and the need to redistribute income. It goes much further. Cameron has put an end to any hope that "patients’ passports" might provide an escape from the toils of the NHS; Letwin makes it clear that the Tories will not propose the introduction of tuition vouchers that help parents to pay for private-school tuition; the welfare of asylum seekers is to be given priority over national security – no surprise, since the Tories (only a handful shamefacedly) trooped into the lobby to deny the security services the 90-day detention period needed to gather evidence on suspected terrorists.
The list goes on. David Cameron has at the top of his priority list consensus with the Liberal Democrats, so he favours the greening of Christmas by encouraging the recycling of cards and wrapping paper; consensus with the feminist movement is to be achieved by introducing all-female lists to force local parties to choose women, rather than the candidates whom they deem most able to represent them; and consensus with New Labour is to extend to a host of "lifestyle" measures that, in practice, transfer to businesses and the state costs once assumed to be the responsibility of individuals."
In the The Telegraph Jeff Randall, business editor, is excoriating about Mr Cameron’s attacks on big business:
"Business, especially when preceded by "big", will always be a convenient target for vote-starved politicians. Simply by saying the B word with the right kind of sneer on their faces, ministers can make it sound like an unsavoury activity. If all else fails (and for the Tories in the past three elections, all else did fail), tell the people that they are victims and then create culprits for them to blame. In the search for demons, successful free enterprise fits the bill nicely. Never mind the jobs it creates, the taxes it pays, the pensions it funds, all that money-making can’t be right, can it? So let’s stand up to big business. Better still, let’s go the whole nine yards and stand up to big bad business. Hallelujah, brothers!"
Mr Randall ends his column with strong criticism of Mr Cameron’s role in the £1.2 billion OnDigital disaster.
Simon Heffer completes today’s barrage of criticism by noting the moves to the centre on education, healthcare and immigration and concludes that Mr Cameron is a follower, not a leader.