Have we seen the birth of Calamity Cameron?
David Cameron has led the country with something approaching a magical Teflon tendency to avoid the stigma of his own governments rampant unpopularity. However, with the government descending into utter farce the big question is how long can that last?
The implosion of the workfare scheme has been quite a sight to behold; despite seeming to enjoy a reasonable level of public support, firms have taken flight at an amazing rate of knots. Not content with watching the scheme implode, government ministers thought they might as well really stick the boot in and actually broaden the opposition by demonising those who do actually oppose it as swivel-eyed crypto-communists. Meanwhile, Labour has not really been as vocal opposing the scheme as many would like yet it must be feeling thinly veiled glee at the tribulations of a Prime Minister whose performances at the despatch box are also starting to reflect his failing grip. It truly is Yes Minister stuff.
Leadership crises however, do not start in the wider public psyche – they start in the ranks of a leaders own discordant flock and it is here the NHS Bill is causing a mischief quite of its own; syphilis (and even the Liberal Democrats) are currently polling with much higher approval ratings than Andrew Lansley’s Bill. It is particularly unpopular with Conservative voters which in unsurprising as the core demographic of the blue vote is likely to be hardest hit and feel the most insecure about the changes. Given that Cameron has given the changes his full endorsement, he, not Andrew Lansley may well be made to carry the can when they blow-up and the recriminations begin. Meanwhile, other issues, like House of Lords reform and the tax cuts that wont happen, are brewing on the edges of the government’s policy pot into a noxious brew that could terminally poison Cameron’s leadership.
If only I could veto a European Union treaty today is a thought Cameron must be close to thinking every morning. If the Conservatives start to suffer a poll dip he will be made the scapegoat and I have no doubt that David Davis will start to gather support against a leadership that lacks real social roots in the Conservative Party in any case. For so long Cameron looked invincible, untouchable even, but now he looks distinctly mortal. Ed Miliband now has a fantastic opportunity to move the media narrative onto Cameron’s crisis of leadership; whether he takes that or not is up to him.