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Market meltdown ensures no silly season for Cameron and Osborne

Posted on 5 August 2011 | 9:08am

There used to be a silly season. However it looks like global economic woes will ensure this year’s silly season has a rather more serious backdrop than usual, what with front pages around the world showing traders looking like they’ve just been told a loved one has died.

David Cameron and George Osborne are having to get used to the fact that in some jobs, there is really no such thing as a holiday.

Cameron’s general hyperactivity on the public front, and Osborne’s relative invisibility make them both easy targets for the ‘topping tans while we all suffer’ attacks; Cameron because he likes to give the impression that nothing important can happen unless he is involved, Osborne because he prefers to cultivate an (eroding) image of big picture strategist whilst leaving the tactics to others.

However this looks like becoming one of those scenarios where strategy and tactics may come very close together. And it is hard to direct tactical responses if you are stuck on the other side of the world, trying to give your family the sense of a normal holiday.

I don’t join the chorus calling for ‘someone to come back’ as a kind of ‘something must be done’ therapy for the nation. But I would be surprised if Osborne and Cameron are not spending at least a third of their waking hours on the phone or reading briefing papers rather than books. However, Treasury minister Justine Greening’s attempt to describe Osborne as being on top of things did not exactly fit with her admission that she and he have not spoken for a week.

One final, and moderately interesting, thing in all this. Nick Clegg appears to be away at the same time as Cameron and Osborne, and nobody seems terribly concerned. A year is a long time in politics.

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  • Ehtch

    Tits up city in the various old The Citys of the world, isn’t it? Anyway, we can always become farmers again, planting spuds and turnips into every corner of any land we have, and keeping pigs and chickens for our morning fry ups?

    We have got to laugh, please, do. The old USSR, mainly Russia, must be laughing their behinds off, knowing how much natural reserves they have got left, whether it is diamonds, oil, gas, coal or exported online porn!!

  • ambrosian

    Cameron and others put forward two contradictory defences. Firstly, that modern technology means they can run the country from anywhere in the world. Secondly, that it’s important for them to have a proper family holiday away from the pressures of their job.
    But if they are spending much of their day on state business and crisis management, then they are not getting the benefits of a holiday.

    More puzzling is that Cameron, Clegg and Osborne are all away at the same time (hence the Mirror’s front page splash) without, as far as I know, anyone nominated as in charge on the home front. However meaningless the ‘acting PM’ tag might be, it’s surely good PR to do it.
    And talking of PR, at a time of austerity it’s not wise politics to holiday abroad especially when the £9,500 a week price of your villa is widely publicised.

    Admittedly, this is a no-win for politicians. Blair was lambasted for his freebie holidays and Miliband will be ridiculed for going to Devon with a stack of esoteric books on political and economic theory, just as Brown was mocked for his holiday in Suffolk.
    I’m with fellow-nerd Miliband on this one, spending my summer in my garden reading political diaries (not yet Alastair’s but it’s on the list) and Owen Jones’s ‘Chavs: the demonization of the working class’, which I cannot recommend too highly.

  • I just feel the need to wonder, Alastair (as a regular commentator here) if it was wise/kind to use the first born analogy with DC as subject matter as I don’t believe it was meant as a jugular puncture.

    And having both PM and DPM away at the same time alarms me a little except when I recall it never looks like the stand-in actually has to do much in the summer recess except look busy.

    How easy this administration makes it to be cynical.

    • Ehtch

      PM and DPM are part-time jobs it has become, it seems for some. Where is your sense of duty, you both total tools, and feckless parts? Sitting on a yaught in the med with some russian oligarch? And don’t get me started on G Gideon O! Lost in space?

      Anyway, good luck to Wales tomorrow in Twickers – hope they slaughter the english united nations XV, the gobshites that they are. But I will not be holding my breath. : )

      Sam Warburton, the welsh openside flanker and 22 year old captain tomorrow, with an english dad! O-O! feck!

      On Sky, but I don’t partake in Murdoch’s party, so I will be watching on pirate computer, via my mates from La France/Eastern Europe, as usual, as with the Heineken Cup ; )

  • Yonks

    Belgium seems not to have particularly suffered as the result of no government at all for more than 12 months, perhaps we adopt the same approach…

  • ep

    The government seems to be very relaxed about the unfolding situation, or maybe they have acknowledged that there is nothing they can do about it, so they have decided to enjoy their holiday     

  • Mike Wilkins

    Given that politicians appear to have little or no idea regarding economic matters, perhaps the fact that they are both away may actually help the situation.

  • A year is a long time in politics, but it often feels even longer.

  • Ehtch

    …or couldn’t give a feck with their millons in their personal family banks in various Carribbean IIslands, and most will be left after the shit goes away, while rest of us will be tits up with our megre pensions?

  • Jim Brant

    Where is Gordon when the world needs him?

  • Gilliebc

    With the markets tumbling as they are,  I can’t help thinking that if GB were still
    PM or Cof the E at least he would be doing or saying something to try and calm the markets.  If this was happening (again) under a Labour Gov. the majority of people would be incandescent with rage at said Gov.  But this ConDem Gov. are largely getting away with it, so far anyway.

    That being said, this was always going to happen because of the way the system is effectively rigged in favour of the wealthy ruling elite.

    Olli I, can and hopefully will explain it in detail better than I can.  But I am aware of the gist of what is happening and more and more people are catching on every day.  It’s what, if anything, can be done to thwart these plans?

  • MicheleB

    It’s amazing that the ‘PM’ didn’t insist that the ‘DPM’ was here during his own holiday, isn’t that what being a deputy is about, being trusted to speak FOR your chief no matter what IT is available? 

    If IT availability is the new criteria then deputyism is redundant.  Perhaps this ‘PM’ insisted his deputy was NOT here during his own absence, Clegg’s absence negates any pretence at being a deputy in anything other than job title.

    Professor Joseph Stiglitz spoke on radio last week about such a terrifying and (he feels likely) imminent scenario, double-dip is inevitable, as is below 0% growth (can it be called that?) and said this depression will last longer than that of the 20s.

    Btw, for the sake of objectivity, the £9k pw quoted in the thread is for the whole estate.  Cam is paying a part per week, sharing with two other families.  Oh what a prancing preening panto they are in for.

  • Dave Simons

    George Osborne will now have a genuine excuse for the sluggish economic recovery. Instead of the wrong kind of snow, the unusually hot April and the Royal Wedding Bank Holiday he can put the blame on the new global financial crisis. There is a problem in that the whole Tory strategy of the last few years has been to blame Labour for the UK’s economic woes rather than the obvious global financial crisis of 2007/8. However I doubt if George will concede that there is a problem, and I doubt if his media toadies will nail him with it.

  • MicheleB

    well I don’t think he will be reaping whatever benefits there are to be made on the stock exchange; wonder who is?

  • Rebecca Hanson

    It looks like we’re heading for a seriously flawed further integration of Europe. 

    The problem is that in the short term this will create a strong and stable Euro which we will be on the outside of.  Very worrying when the speculators shift their attention.

  • Patricia Shepherd

    How may holidays does Cameron need for goodness sakes ,we can’t afford an away day ,yet he has  had about 4 holidays this year!
          We’re all in it together are we?

  • Marymot

    We have a Prime Minister, DeputyPrime Minister and Chancellor. Wouldn;t you think the people entrusted with these positions could stagger their holidays so that it at least looked as if someone was watching the shop. Instead we have the Foreign Secretary ( who should be concerned with firing missiles at Lybia (how many £millions  now?) and firing strong words at Syria) and the Business Secretary ( whose economics change with which piper is playing which tune) to soothe us thro’ this crisis.
     With Gordon Brown and Alister Darling,. uncharismatic or not, unloved by the Tory Press or not, one felt they were competent and at least interested
    I wonder how our woes can be blamed on the Labour Party this time?. 

  • Ehtch

    BLIMEY! Wales played like a Merlin the Wizard XV in the last twenty minutes. Had England united nations XV well streteched on the rack. OK, we lost by only four points, and it is a game of two legs – looking forward to you english arrogants in Cardiff next Saturday – IT WILL BE A CRACKER.

    And all the very best to Morgan Stoddart, the welsh full-back, on breaking his leg/ankle in the match today. Bumped into him several times, since he plays for my local side, (Llanelli) Scarlets. A top, top bloke.plays the game with total heart.

    And well done Alastair, Scotland came back well to beat Ireland. They’ll be dancing in the streets of Hampstead tonight, as Bill McLaren would have put it.

  • Gilliebc

    Exactly Michele.

    Yasmin A Brown was wondering the same thing on Skynews press preview last night.  This has happened before, i.e. the markets fall,
    stocks and shares are bought at rock bottom prices by the very wealthy.
    The markets eventually rise again, vast amounts of profit are made and so the cycle goes on to repeat this pattern time and again.

    At last though the ordinary people are becoming suspicious.  This does not happen by accident it is completely contrived.  There is much evidence on reputable sites on the web to support this truth.  Though it has to be said that this scheming on the part of the wealthy ruling (hidden) elite is now blindingly obvious as are some of their other nasty plans for the world.

    To anyone who is interested in the way this world is really run and organised may I suggest you make a start by Googling the Rothschilds,
    starting with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812)  He had a very clever and cunning way with money!

  • marymot

    I used tosay’ Olli for Chancellor ‘ now I think he should be promoted to leader of the IMF!

  • Mark Wright

    This ‘no goverment’ scheme seems to be working quite well. Any chance we can extend it through to 2012?

  • marymot

    Where are the Home Secretary,Mayor, Local Government Minister…..anyone?  Are they hypnotised,paralysed or thinking ‘this is not how I thought being in government would be ….I’ll just not bother’?

    Will there be criticism in the press? We will see. Imagine the headlines if the riots had happened on Gordon Brown or Tony Blair’s watch!

  • Not that TB had any problems when he was away!!!, the backstabbing that took place in London while Blair had fun!

  • Ehtch

    Seems to be going bananas in various boroughs of London tonight, following Tottenham last night, as reported in the Guardian at this present moment. Many have predicted things could kick off with the increasing social discontent, but this is something else. And when things like this start, it becomes an almost fashion, and is hard to stop. August 2011 for the UK will be depressing to read in future historical books. And no need to mention how these feelings in people, the younger ones especially, has been built up.

  • Ehtch

    Digression time again, can’t get the Harry Nilsson who I saw again on BBC4 documentary, and with references with the great beautiful references of Gene Tierney put into this song from on US telly in 1969. He was quite a bloke. We are lacking such blokes as such in the UK at the moment. Saw the Tom Hanks played movie on Charlie Wilson, the Democrat Representative from Texas that managed to send out arms to the Afghans when Russia invaded them in 1980, and the message of ‘we missed a chance not to build the country’, which has become in time succinct.

    Anyway, Harry Nilsson on US telly in 1969,

  • Chris lancashire

    Hope they both stay away for as long as possible. Arguably we wouldn’t be in such a mess if Gordon had taken a lot more holidays. The economy is too important to leave to politicians.

  • Richard

    The ConLibs do not have anybody with safe hands like DPM John Prescott to leave in charge when they go on holidays.

  • Ehtch

    Sorry, that post of mine was disjointed and all over the place. With the Tom Hanks Charlie Wilson movie, on the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, what I meant was that at the end, the message was ‘we missed a chance to build the country’, when funding was withdrawn, not the other way around.

  • Mark Wright

    Today we finally saw the appearance of a ‘big hitter’ in the form of Deputy PM Nick Clegg.

    Of course he condemned the violence. But he surely cannot be surprised at this recent turn of events. After all it was Nick Clegg himself who predicted such civil unrest with such prescience during the 2010 general election.

    Mr Clegg deemed his analysis of the consequences of spending cuts coupled with a govt seen as having little or no mandate from the electorate that he even issued a press release and did the media rounds. Cameron dismissed his warnings out of hand.

    But Clegg was right.

    So how must he now feel? There must surely be a burden of responsibility weighing heavily on his shoulders; made worse by the fact that his initial instincts were correct. He should have stuck to his instincts.

    We’ll never be privy to their private conversations but there will surely be a ‘I told you so’ moment coming sooner rather than later between the PM and Deputy PM.

    This feeds into the wider debate about Cameron’s judgement. Coming hot on the heels of the News International fiasco Cameron is increasingly looking not just a hostage to events but worse…the unwitting instigator.

    This is a time for strong government and strong leadership. We currently have neither.

    Nick Clegg has no need to say ‘I told you so’; the pictures of him walking through the broken streets of Tottenham this afternoon say more than words ever could.

    To put it simply: I agree with Nick (from March 2010). I wonder if Nick agrees with Nick?

    The answer to that question could govern the direction of the coalition from this moment onwards.

  • Mark Wright

    Maybe Cameron couldn’t stomach the notion of the country being run by a Lib Dem. Never underestimate the power of the political ego.

  • Ehtch

    always look at the mother when you are sizing up a wife, ALWAYS.

    Learn from my fool simple young life. A strong mother – daughter strong wife. Don’t fall in the trap I did, being too soft, with a total knob of a prospective mother-in-law. But it is your choice of journey though.