The hopes of Britain’s 4.8 million members of the enterprising business community were dealt a savage blow in this week by, of all people, the Labour Party.
Dave was reeling in the face of the shambolic performance by Kenneth Clarke on penal reform. The volte-face was driven by Andrew Cooper, Dave’s polling guru, who is a member of the 1984-style team driving the PM in Downing Street. This is the subject of my book ‘Calm Down Dave’ which is being published by Enterprise Britain at the end of this month. I suggest the contents and revelations should worry you.
But even more serious, both for Dave and the British public, was the Lib-Dem driven climb down on Andrew Lansley’s proposed NHS top-down reorganisation. No doubt again created by Cooper and possibly Steve Hilton (when not playing with his Happiness Index), Dave effectively replaced Lansley as Health Minister and made five pledges which are the work of theatre rather than rational politics.
This should have been Labour’s moment when Ed Miliband came out of his brother’s shadow and drove a spear through the heart of our power crazed Prime Minister.
What did he do? He managed an inept performance during PMQs and was openly derided by Conservative MPs and the media.
Worse was to follow. The publication (in itself worrying because a possible source was a Labour leak) of the Ed Balls papers, involving (in a minor role) Ed Miliband, will probably set Labour back months. The British public do not like conspiracy theories in politics (FIFA, Simon Cowell, MP’s alleged sexual attacks, no problem) and the two Eds, Miliband and Balls, may be fatally wounded. Ironically the thing that may save Ed Miliband is that Labour are £16m in debt and the Unions, Ed’s backers, are providing 85% of their non-government funding.
Dave was left walking on water and taking the afternoon off (following his Mediterranean holiday) to watch the tennis at Queen’s Club.
Which takes us to George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is sticking to Plan A. This is: (1) it’s all Gordon’s fault (2) there is no money (3) we make Greece look a haven of financial prudence (4) I’ve nothing more to say.
Plan A is that there is no Plan B (revised borrowing and spending strategies to allow some recovery in the economy). The IMF decided this week that Plan A isn’t working but don’t change it. The only hope was that Dave was so much on the back foot that he would ‘panic’ on the economy. Nil growth is nil growth, even in Greece.
In another Coalition broken promise Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, has given up trying to get Councils to return to the weekly collection of rubbish bins. His vote catching election pledge lies in tatters.
But, whilst this may be the portent of a winter of discontent (Dave version) that lies ahead, for the rest of the summer Dave reigns supreme. The Downing Street acolytes will fete him like a Roman emperor and George will go to bed cuddling Plan A.
All of which means British’s worn out, but still fighting, 4.8 members of Enterprise Britain will struggle on with no help from this Coalition Government. Local Enterprise Partnerships: forget them. They are already following the usual Vince Cable route of an ineffective and expensive Government flop.
The rubbish bins are to remain uncollected.
And, George, so are the hopes of Enterprise Britain.