Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Challenge facing David Cameron

Mr Frazer Nelson is a very talented journalist. He's going to be up there with Charles Moore, William Rees-Mogg and Boris. This week he wrote an article for the Telegraph that imprinted itself on my consciousness, and which chimed with the general theme of discussion at Thursday's meeting of the Welsh Advisory Board of the European Care Group (which I've chaired for the last two years). We all see this great threatening darkness welling up on the horizon, and thundering towards us, loaded with pain and suffering. David Cameron is going to find that Gordon Brown has emptied the cupboard. The Labour Goverenment has spent all the money - and left massive IOUs behind. Its like waiting for next month's Barclaycard bill, after going on a crazed spending splurge this month.

Frazer Nelson outlines the terrible mission that awaits David Cameron when he accepts Her Majesty's invitation to repair our national finances when the most spendthrift Prime Minister ever to hold power in Britain is finally prised from office. We have become used to the natural cheerfulness and self belief that he carries so casually. Yet, the mission which will be thrust upon him will require other qualities - implacable resolution and ruthlessness. People sometimes ask me what sort of Prime Minister I think David Cameron would be. I've taken to donning a solemn expression, and announcing slowly and precisely that I think he has the personal strength, ruthless will and bravery to cope with the storm to come.

But back to our European Care board meeting. Our business is caring for people in need - of all ages, but particularly those needing residential and nursing care. Most of our 'service users' are elderly, suffering various degrees of frailty and dementia. We know that there is going to be increasing demand for the services we provide. We also know that the capacity of the care sector will decrease as the regulatory authorities remove poor performers and impose new standards (like ending dual occupancy of rooms). Nothing new here. What's new is that the capacity of our nation to pay for this is going to fall - perhaps by 10%, or 20%, or ? I recall the moment when it really hit me. I was listening to Alistair Darling reading out Gordon Brown's budget in April, when he informed us that he planned to still be borrowing £100 billion in five year's time - and that based on unbelievable growth targets. This was fantasy. There are terrifying bills in the post, and the spending splurge is still in full flow. I fear for the elderly, the demented, the disadvantaged children with long term problem who will always need care. These are people with quiet voices. We must all pray that David Cameron has the steel to share the burden and ensure that these quiet voices do not pass unheard. I believe he has.


alanindyfed said...

This Labour government will run Britain into the ground before the Conservatives take over power. It's in their nature as the animosity grows between the two parties.
There is another challenge facing David Cameron on his western flank.
Plaid in Wales and the Lib Dems in Cornwall. He need s step off the fence regarding the acceleration of devolution in both places.
His overtures to the N.Irish Unionists did not help.
Believe me, this is the chink in his armour. He must embrace change in the West, not only at West Minster. Remember the Thatcher years and the unfortunate Welsh Secretary? Many still do!
Borthlas' blog (John Dixon) has something to say on this.

WH of T said...

It's simple: David Cameron (DC) should apply the WH of T on taking over the reins of government.

For example, DC could authorize spending on a moat (with floating duckhouse) to be built around Parliament's MP's expense fees office.

Also, DC should set up a think tank to look into other solutions to the expense scandal.

What if a net +ve charge is applied to the clothing of MPs on entering Parliament (the building), and likewise a net +ve charge is applied to the clothing of employees in the MPs expense office, and with a new rule that fees can only be approved upon F2F meetings between the MP claiming and fee expense office employees we will see a remarkable drop off in expense claims.

For some sparks, the door knobs and floors near the fees office could be charged with a net -ve charge, this way MPs endeavouring to reach the fees office will experience a rapid discharge possibly sufficient to wipe out their short term memory thus negating any thoughts of personal enrichment.

If Cromwell was alive today ...

Anonymous said...

an empty cupboard is not aproblem if you have the answers that can fill it. he also needs good fillers -we dont have those in Wales with the group that are see as Tories in Wales Glyn, just look at them.

alanindyfed said...

If Cromwell were alive today the Irish would slay him.
In Wales he stabled his horses at the altar of St David's Cathedral while he defaced it.
He had a lot of blood on his hands and was missed by nobody.
Charles II was elected and rampant hedonism returned to Britain.

Adam Higgitt said...

It's "Fraser".

Glyn Davies said...

Alan - This is a difficvult subject for me to respond to in a definitive way. I can tell you what I think, and what I hope David Cameron will do as Prime Minister. I've no doubt that responding to the economic challenge that Labour will hav eleft will take his full attention to begin with, but the issue of full law making powers will become a major issue if the National Assembly asks for a referendum to be held. At present , I see no sign of any intention to do that. In fact, most enthusiasm is coming from those who intend to campaign for a No vote.

VM - Prefer not to comment about people who are members of the same team as me.

Adam - Thanks. Will,corect.

alanindyfed said...

This is why I advocate a break between Labour and Plaid in the Assembly. It'd time for Plaid to go it alone without the taint of unionism. Devolution has gone too far ahead to put the brakes on. DC should have the vision to see the inevitable conclusion.
Talk of the Lib Dems propping up Labour is out of the question and they could well be the second party as Labour sinks to oblivion sustained only by the die-hards.
Today's TV pictures of Darling and the PM say it all. The game is up.