David Cameron has been Prime Minister now for a little over seven months. And actually, it’s not going too badly for him considering the promise of cuts on the scale he’s promising. Labour and the Tories are generally neck and neck in the polls and Cameron is doing better than both Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg in approval ratings. And, on issues such as tuition fees, it’s the Lib Dem’s who are taking the brunt of the criticism which is nothing short of a gift from Nick Clegg and something which must put a grin on Cameron’s face every time he lies in bed at night.
It appears that, broadly speaking, people have bought into Cameron’s claims that cutting the deficit is the priority and this has allowed Cameron to put in place policies which are contradictory to his pre election rhetoric.
During the run up to the election, David Cameron said of cuts in an interview to The Sun: “I will do it in a fair way. I will protect frontline services. I will do the right thing.” In an interview with Andrew Marr, Cameron confirmed: “What I can tell you is any cabinet minister, if I win the election, who comes to me and says: ‘Here are my plans’ and they involve frontline reductions, they’ll be sent straight back to their department to go away and think again.”
Cameron instead decided to talk about “efficiency savings” to divert attention away from possible cuts to frontline services during his election campaign.
But since coming to power, his choice to cut will likely see frontline services affected in the police, fire service and, despite saying he would protect the NHS, health chiefs have now too been told to make savings.
“We support social housing, we will protect it and we support social tenants rights” were Cameron’s words during his election campaign after Labour suggested that the Tory leader planned to change the rights of social housing tenants. Indeed, a Conservative Party spokesperson confirmed that the party had “no policy to change the current or future security of tenure of tenants in social housing.”
Soon after being voted into power, we learned that David Cameron would attempt to change social housing rights.
And what about education? During an election event, Cameron was pressed to answer whether he supported EMAs. His response was “yes”. We now know that the EMA has been scrapped.
Cameron has tried to tell the public the the economy was “worse than we thought”. But when Cameron came to power, borrowing was £30bn lower than predicted, making the economy better than was thought.
And what of Cameron’s and Osborne’s claims that without his policies the UK’s economy could go the same way as Greece and cutting the deficit at this pace is somehow unavoidable?
Nobel prize winning economist Prof Christopher Pissarides said Osborne had “exaggerated the debt crisis risk”: “It is important to avoid this ‘sovereign risk’. But in my view Britain is a long way from such a threat, and the chancellor has exaggerated the sovereign risks that are threatening the country.”
“Unemployment is high and job vacancies few. By taking the action that the chancellor outlined in his statement, this situation might well become worse,” he said.
“These risks were not necessary at this point. He could have outlined a clear deficit-reduction plan over the next five years, postponing more of the cuts, until recovery became less fragile.
“The ‘sovereign risk’ would have been minimal.”
But this isn’t the first time Cameron has been accused of dishonesty during his political career.
Jennifer’s Ear became one of the most talked about issues of the 1992 general election. It was a claim made by Labour that a deaf girl was made to wait six months for an operation because of Tory cuts. The young girls GP wrote a letter to say the Tory government had been unfairly blamed.
David Cameron, a then young and ambitious member of the party, discovered the letter and began re-writing it to increase the pain for Labour, an action described by one of his colleagues as “at best cavalier… at worst contemptuous of the truth”.
His reputation in the Conservative Party led to Lord McAlpine, a former Tory treasurer to say: “I do not know Mr Cameron and from what I hear of him I have no desire to. It is tempting to put these appalling creatures out of one’s mind.” He continued: “If Cameron were a dentist, I’m not sure I’d let him touch my teeth.”
But Cameron’s dishonesty continued.
Taking over as leader, his leadership speech included a story about one of his constituents who had died of MRSA in “dreadful and degrading” circumstances.
The ladies husband, however, had a different story to that portrayed by the new Tory leader.
He described how his wife was “pleased and satisfied” with her care, describing the nurse as “wonderful” who was with her in her final hours.
Cameron had decided to use the death of one of his own constituents for politcal gain by distorting the truth.
And what do others within the party think of Mr Cameron?
Quentin Davies, former Tory MP wrote Cameron a letter after resigning in which he said: “You have three qualities: superficiality, unreliability and an apparent lack of any clear convictions, which in my view ought to exclude you from the position of national leadership to which you aspire.”
Robin Harris who employed Cameron at Tory Central Office and former speech writer to Margaret Thatcher, said of Cameron : “He has no principled sense of direction; his only sense of direction is upwards.
“The opportunism he displays is deplorable. I don’t think one should aspire to lead Britain on the basis of day-to-day opinion polls, but that is how he conducts himself in opposition and I fear would conduct himself if he were ever in Number 10.”