The next general election has in some minds already happened. Reports of senior civil servants already openly working with shadow ministers are probably exaggeration, but certainly many clandestine meeting will have been held.
However what concerns me in this election is the inexperience of the government in waiting. All governments in waiting look inexperienced, but I really wonder about the team about to take the reigns of a country limping out of the worst recession in living memory.
We know precious little about Cameron, besides his choice of breakfast through his infamous podcasts. Over the years he kept promising more when the general election comes. Well the election is upon us, and still we have little idea what he stands for. Perhaps he realizes this election is for Brown to lose, not for him to win.
What we do know is that Cameron was educated at Eton then Oxford, after which he moved into the Westminster village. He only strayed out for a few years at Carlton television (now ITV) before returning to politics.
A similar lack of ‘life experiences’ can be found in his stalwart ally, godfather to his kids and heir to the Osborne baronetcy – George Osborne. According to an interview, after failing to gain a job as a journalist he settled for a job at conservative party and has never left. He likes playing computer games and lets his wife sort the mortgage. Before politics he worked as a towel folder (at Selfridges none the less) and data entry for the NHS.
UK politics is weaker for career politicians. Our parliamentary system was never designed to be a career path. There are no formal reviews, promotions or natural path of progression. Instead serendipity and timing and play a large part in cabinet positions or even election results. There was a time where MPs were successful leaders of business taking time out to serve their country for a few years. A good question is why are more captains of industry not interested and how can we attract them?
People are very aware of Cameron’s background as a PR man, so they are naturally skeptical about his authenticity. Does he support changes which could hurt him, particularly amount his own supporters? Is he willing to make the tough calls? Opposition is easy, but choices are hard. There is no evidence of Cameron taking on his own party for the sake of change, showing authenticity and his true beliefs.
If Brown is genius masquerading as mediocrity, then I fear Cameron is mediocrity masquerading as genius. I know which I would rather.