David Cameron’s cringingly awful performance on Breakfast this morning with Sian Williams – click here to view – finds him talking earnestly, but tamely on issues of civic responsibility and anti-social behaviour. His is a call for a Revolution in Responsibility. Hear, hear! Who could possibly argue for – fun though it is – greater irresponsibility.
Despite the flash of Thatcherite individualism – ‘individuals are doing this [attacking public sector workers et cetera]’ – the interview confirms the death of Conservative intellectualism. We cannot expect government to have all the answers Cameron pleads, stopping just short of telling Sian to stop asking the questions. A minister has made a similar plea for greater responsibility, reports Sian. ‘But how will they do it?’, asks Cameron. Sian: ‘How will you do it?’ Cameron: ‘Stop expecting government to have all the answers!’
Asbos have failed he says. But when told: ‘I know you want to get rid of them [asbos]’, his hands fly up: ‘Oh no, no, no! I don’t!’
Then came the scary part. Sian: ‘I wanted to pick up on another line in your speech,’ Cameron gulps. ‘“In order to solve problems in our society, it involves risk, effort and short term sacrifice.” What are we sacrificing?’
‘Well… sometimes we’ll have to sacrifice the comfort of sitting here, for instance, and saying “well we’ll come up with this policy or come up with that policy” we have to say, “actually if we want to build a stronger safer country it’s long term work, it’s helping to build families and strong local institutions. It’s not knee-jerk reactions.” Sometimes that is a bit of a sacrifice.’
Sian: ‘I don’t understand… I’m not sure what sacrifice I’ve got to make and the viewers have to make…’
Cameron: ‘Well we’ve all got to take our own responsibilities. Media companies have to take their responsibilities. And government does too. That’s the very clear message in this speech. For too long we’ve thought that the only way we get progress is for government to take action. That is wrong. We’ve got to stress that individuals do have their responsibilities and that sometimes does mean making sacrifices.’
Moving on, Sir John Nott, defence secretary during the Falklands War, has accused Cameron of promoting ‘daft ideas’ that disillusion the Tory rank and file. Needless to say, Cameron can’t understand where he gets that from.
There was no mention of hugging hoodies.