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Cameron’s ‘growth plan’ passage tells me he just couldn’t be arsed yesterday

Posted on 6 October 2011 | 10:10am

I fear I may have been overly kind to the Prime Minister when I described his speech as ‘very average’ on twitter yesterday. This was certainly on the kinder end of the comment spectrum. It would seem even commentators on the right were largely underwhelmed, and instead resorted to saying how Prime Ministerial he looked.

But speeches have to be about argument and substance, and I have just re-read it to look for both. It was all very bitty and ragged, and did not really meet the moment, or succeed in his stated aim of rousing people onto greater things amid all the economic doom and gloom.

Part of me wonders whether he just decided he couldn’t be bothered, that the media were all saying conferences are not as important as they used to be, and he had a busy summer what with holidays, riots and Libya, so time he would normally spend thinking about and writing the speech went on all that. He saw yesterday a bit like most of us see a visit to the dentist. Just get it over with and get back to normal life.

It must also have been a bit startling to be aware of all the hype and then go out to be confronted by ranks of empty seats. (Nice to see my comparison with Blackburn and Bolton home games getting so many retweets and so much abuse from Rovers and Wanderers in the drop zone)

But the most startling passage of the speech for me was this … ‘So here’s our growth plan: doing everything we can to help businesses start, grow, thrive, succeed. Where that means backing off, cutting regulation – back off, cut regulation. Where that means intervention, investment – intervene, invest. Whatever it takes to help our businesses take on the world – we’ll do it.’

That was it. There is barely a businessman or woman I have met in recent weeks who hasn’t complained about the lack of a growth plan from the government. Was that really his response? I will repeat it.

‘So here’s our growth plan: doing everything we can to help businesses start, grow, thrive, succeed. Where that means backing off, cutting regulation – back off, cut regulation. Where that means intervention, investment – intervene, invest. Whatever it takes to help our businesses take on the world – we’ll do it.’

I am trying to get my head around what was happening in the Team Cameron speech meetings. Did nobody stop and say ‘er, Prime Minister, this is a bit embarrassing, and doesn’t really say anything?’

A growth plan needs to be a major thing, full not of platitudes about red tape, but detail, ideas, momemtum. What intervention and investment is he talking about? Examples? Plans? Ideas?

This was not a growth plan. It was like a cough in the middle of the speech.

He does the looking like a Prime Minister really well. But the doing stuff seems to be somewhat beyond him. It is all getting a bit worrying to be frank.

  • McDuff

    Cam can’t be arsed, because he doesn’t need to. There is no viable opposition at the moment and Cameron is getting the easiest of rides. I mean where the hell we any Lab politicians in the last 3 days when the #cpc11 was like an episode of the Keystone cops? Where is the instant 30 min response to anything that the Tory’s messed up on?. Were Lab on holiday? 
    It has been an open goal the Tory’s have been given Lab for the last 15 months, Labour’s response has been shocking.

  • Jowenxyz

    I totally agree about Cameron’s speech, thought it was desperately poor to be honest. He completely ignored the dire economic news which came out yesterday morning, and his “growth plan” was laughable – he’s saying “if you want this, we’ll do this, but if you want that, we’ll do that” – not a plan at all!  Cameron and the other European leaders are looking increasingly desperate – they have lost control of the European economy and they know time is nearly up.

  • Olli Issakainen

    David Cameron needs a reality check.
    His optimism completely contradicts with the events.
    Britain´s economic growth has been ZERO during the past nine months!
    When Labour left the office, it was 2.5%. Labour had a credible Alistair Darling plan to halve the deficit in four years WITHOUT risking the recovery.
    But voters wanted change, and now they are getting it!
    Growth of 1.5% is needed for Britain to just stand still. 2.5% growth is needed for unemployment to come down.
    1.7% is needed for Mr Osborne to meet his defict target of £122bn in 2011. But the growth this year will be only 1%.
    2.5% is needed for 2012, but the growth then will be at best only 1%.
    So Mr Osborne´s plan A is in ruins. People who have bothered to read my comments, know that I predicted this from the day one.
    Plan A is £12bn behind in deficit reduction. Mr Osborne has been forced to borrow £46bn more than the forecast.
    David Cameron yesterday blamed Labour for overspending by £428bn. Somehow he forgot to mention that he himself will overspend by at least £480bn!
    The recovery is not on the track. The economy is not on a mend.
    Inflation is 4.5%, and real incomes are falling. Unemployment is 2.51m and rising.
    Governments are not like credit card holders. Governments can tax people and print money.
    Is Mr Cameron supposed to have a degree in economics?
    Mr Osborne´s ideological austerity aiming at small state has killed the growth, confidence and recovery.
    The PM yesterday paraded all the usual lies about Labour overspending and causing the “mess”.
    But he also came up with something new.
    He blamed Labour for the “casino economy”.
    Now this is interesting.
    The “Big Bang” deregulation of financial markets (London Stock Exchange) happened in 1986. It was a cornerstone of Thatcher government.
    The Tories claimed that OVERREGULATION was behind the decline of London banking. Deregulation stimulated “financial innovation”, and the rest is history.
    According to IMF Britain can easily rise the debt by 50% without triggering a crisis. So Mr Osborne has lied about the threat from debt all the time.
    Greece will soon go bust. Moody´s downgraded Italy. Spain´s jobless total is 4.2m. Franco-Belgian bank Dexia is in deep trouble.
    The eurozone is heading for a recession and economic collapse with British banks taking the second biggest hit after the US.
    But people in Britain should not worry. David Cameron has a plan that will work.
    It is based on export-led recovery. It will create 2.5m new jobs in the private sector.
    It will automatically create economic growth out of nothing. This brilliant plan has even a name.
    It is called plan A!  

  • Most people who were educated at pulblic shools are twits. (Most people who were educated at state school are also twits but not in the same class as public school twits). And,  I regret to say, Cameron is a first class twit. He would do well as operations director on Twitter. Playing at prymminister is beyond his scope.

    Des Currie

  • Antin_Demdike

    It’s probably because he knows he can get away with it – Ed just isn’t making an impact when he needs to be showing people what they are missing (that’s why profile and message together matter). I’m fed up of having my shout of f****n Cameron met with “yeah but labour’s no better”…Milliband doesn’t even get a name check

  • Richard

    Talk about pots and kettles Al! I commented, unchallenged, about Red Leader’s speech last week. If it had been written by GCSE level students, it was poor in it’s use of English, and much was without meaning.

    “The Team Red Ed”, if such a speech meeting happened, must be setting him up!

    “So we need a new bargain at the top of society, and in our benefits system too.”……..opined your Leader.  Pick the bones out of that Al, while you are about it!

    Conference speeches, always long in rhetoric and short in content should at least be in good English! ( Especially when delivered by people who bang on about the first class comprehensive schooling they received in this country, which has obviously “dun them no ‘arm”.)

    Yur avin a larf, mate!

  • MicheleB

    I’m getting sick of hearing him refer to our/the government as ‘MY government’.

    That’s the extent of his sounding leader-ist and shows how misguided his senses are.

  • Chris lancashire

    Funny how two people can hear the same speech and come to completely different views. The Times leader today – mind you it is a Murdoch rag – had the headline “One Man Standing: Cameron is the single commanding figure in British politics”. There you go.

  • Your last paragraph says it all:

    “He does the looking like a Prime Minister really well. But the doing stuff seems to be somewhat beyond him. It is all getting a bit worrying to be frank.”

    Nothing has changed since the pre-election debates. I have never rated this man as an orator except if you praise saying nothing in convincing-sounding words that bear no fruit on close inspection afterwards. Clearly, a fine example again.

    Speak to any Tory you may have in your family ( too many!) and all they seem interested in is ensuring those who flout The System get their just desserts…or expecting The Govt to magically make financial pain go away – by which they mean, ‘my money isn’t making enough for my next holiday…’.

    Facetiousness does not become me. But listening out for this particular PM to actually say something useful is not a worthwhile exercise either.

    Sadly, not enough of the rank and file will say what they know – this PM would not be where he is today if Nick the Sidekick hadn’t dithered and dallied so much that GB went up the alley to the Pally.

  • Robrob2002

    Spot on – I thought Ed was finally getting his act together during the News of the World scandal – but that appears to have been a blip.

    Sorry to be harsh – but how ineffective does he have to be, before Labour takes some action?

  • When Cameron promised change before the election, he never actually said what that change would consist of…but ask anyone who did NOT vote for him or his pals and you will hear exactly what they knew would be in that change…more of the same Tory lack of understanding about the economy AND the needs of the British people.

    The one sector you’d think might still be in love with Dave, Nick & George (new sitcom title?) is British businessmen, and their message is clearly getting through to the top, hence the empty promises of yesterday.

    What intrigues me is this; does DC really believe himself?

  • Robrob2002

    Ollie –

    You always have a mass of economics data up your sleeve.

    But for us mere mortals – how about 3 short, key points that can be used to fight the Tories?

    It would help me – and probably do Ed a favour as well 🙂

  • Keith

    Re GCSE English: In your first para “its” has a similar function  as “his” (ie possessive pronoun) and so should have no apostrophe.

  • Steve E.

    At least when Robert Kennedy paraphrased George Bernard Shaw with the words ‘There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were and ask why not’ he did so with poetry in his soul.Cameron’s plagiarism on the other hand, ‘Let’s turn this time of challenge into a time of opportunity. Not sitting around, watching things happen and wondering why. But standing up making things happen and asking why not’ was merely pathetic.

  • Olli Issakainen

    1. Banks caused the “mess” – not Labour overspending
    2. Not all the cuts are economic necessity as the debt is still relatively low
    3. New economic model is needed to replace neoliberalism – moral economy based on fairness to distribute wealth more evenly to prevent the collapse of capitalism (Labour has already abandoned neoliberalism) 

  • Pam

    They won’t even have the Mirror soon…being tangled up with phone hacking and all that.

  • Pam

    That was Brown’s major mistake.

    He should have stayed in Office no matter what….but Labour didn’t want to share.

  • Janiete

    ‘He does the looking like a Prime Minister really well. But the doing stuff seems to be somewhat beyond him. It is all getting a bit worrying to be frank.’

    I think this sums up Cameron completely. I’ve always felt that his sole objective was to get to the top in politics. Now he’s arrived he doesn’t know what to do with it.

    Clearly Camereon hasn’t spent years planning policy in detail for his term in office, as TB and GB did, and it shows. When pressed to ‘do something’ all he can do is reach back to the Thatcher years and rehash some already discredited policy. 

    I don’t think he is even guided by a sense of right and wrong either, merely a regard for what will maintain him as PM. So if he thinks the public like the ‘hug a hoodie’ persona, that’s what they’ll get but he’ll just as readily back the ‘hang em and flog em’ brigade if it suits.

    PR people know the brand must always appear positive and it’s risky to associate too strongly with anything controversial. I think this explains his frequent u-turns and reluctance to associate himself with any clear direction. It also explains his tendency to allow ministers to do their own thing but to hang them out to dry quickly to limit damage to himself. 

    Talk of him as the heir to Blair is way off mark. He has studied Tony Blair’s public image and is trying to copy it. But there is absolutely no depth to the man at all. He has far more in common with Berlusconi, it’s about him, a vain man living the life as a leader. Peforming in public wherever he can and wallowing in the adulation.

    Expect the hair transplant soon by the way, as his comb-over is getting rather obvious. He has to maintain the young, virile look; it’s central to the brand.

  • ambrosian

    Funny indeed. Have you seen today’s Mail?
    I only took a cursory look or I would have needed a shower. Anyway, despite Dave throwing them some bones about health and safety gone mad over highlighter pens (having looked up what is in them I certainly wouldn’t give one to a toddler) and the EU considering whether it’s sensible for people prone to hypoglaecemic seizures to be driving (a story the Mail had hyped up), the Mail wasn’t very keen on the speech.

    Since the Mail has a vastly bigger circulation and online presence than the Times and daily stokes the fury and bigotry of the Tory core vote, Team Cameron must surely consider this a failure.

  • Dave Simons

    Whether ‘The Times’ is a Murdoch rag or not, that’s a pretty stupid headline by anyone’s definition, even yours I would have thought. ‘Single commanding figure in British politics’? Cameron certainly figures in British politics – it’s the least you can expect of a Prime Minister – but he commands nobody, especially members of his own party, and he’s not even single!

  • Richard

    Apps, I stand corrected. Sorry, I read Mathematics.

  • Richard

    Did you write Red Leader’s  speech, by any chance?

  • I don’t only Like this, I thoroughly admire it and agree with it, Janiete. We’ve both gone for Alastair’s summary lines as our quotes – it’s a brilliant summary of a very boring pastiche of Tory man.

    But his wife loves her Dave, doesn’t she? Did you see the terrible pre-election documentary/advertorial from her? What on earth does wife backing hubby mean, anyway – it would be far more interesting if she wasn’t voting for him!

    And far more interesting to Labour voters also if he admitted defeat over the benefits overhaul and let welfare mean what it should – not farewell to the future as well as present hopes of many who are where they are because of health-and-job-loss-engineered downturns in their own economies.

  • Richard

    With the greatest of respect, Olli:_

    Your country has 5 million inhabitants.
    Your GDP fell by 8.1% in’09,
    Your growth rate was 0.8%, and 0.6%, respectively,  in the last two quarters.

    Physician, treat thyself.

  • MicheleB

    The Times doesn’t rate any of Cam’s Cabinet then?

  • MicheleB

    Oooooh I’ve been wanting to point that out to the mad nitpicking wannabe-grammarian for weeks Keith.  I learned a very very very very hard way.

    OMG I just wrote about instead of to another poster; someone kick me!

  • Pam

    They’re clever on this blog Richard!

  • Ehtch

    He seemed to be going through the motions, and yes, basically, I think he couldn’t be arsed, deep down, about the economic effects to the averge Joe public on the streets, truth to be told.

  • Ehtch

    Can you check my paras too Keith? I am usually correct about 90% of the time, but also do slip up when frantacally typing on a friendly site, where mistakes are assumed as such. My main subliminal stumbling block is forgetting “you’re” and putting “your” instead, even though I know the difference.

    Oh yes, my spelling is all over the place too – I have that sort of mind, rubbish at spelling. But managed a C at O-level in school though, somehow, and at the first time of asking too. I think the way I write might have won the day, with sketchy spelling and grammar put to one side. I would have had an A grade otherwise, no dout….

  • Janiete

    Good link below, like I said, it’s all about brand Cameron.

  • MicheleB

    I’ve not read the speech or made an effort to find its transcript so I don’t know whether ‘Big Society’ was mentioned.  However, a few days ago I heard someone quote this :


    ‘Charity is no
    substitute for social justice’
    from Aneurin Bevin, who might have been inspired by
     ‘Charity is no substitute for justice withheld’ from Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo !!)

    I’m  not sure which of them inspired someone that might be the Bishop of Hip Hop ….. to his
    ‘Charity is no substitute for justice’

    Ironic to hear Osbo yattering (nod to Y) today about worldwide trends to explain the need for £17bn of BoE input.  Aren’t they the things that he denied had been the reason for earlier QE activities?

  • MicheleB

    Can you explain that value judgemment or its source?

    I wasn’t party to the discussions between Messrs Brown and Clegg but I’ve read from what I believe are reliable sources that the negotiations were polite but the latter felt that the roles on offer from Cameron were better (including as they did the gobsmacking DPMship for himself).

  • AC you spinning again, thought you had retired, even Sir Michael White of the Guardian stated that the speech had a Blair quality of optimism, what did you want him to do after the economic mess of Labour, dance with Boris, these are tough times left by your lot. And after the car crash of the Labour Party Conference our great PM didn’t have to do much, at least the crowd didn’t boo the names of their former leaders. How ever much you try to cover for Ed Miliband is not going to happen, if your political sensors were back in the day of New Labour you would have been quite happy with that speech, the Bank of England just said the UK faces the greatest economic threat in its history, the voters on the whole trust the Coalition. Thus boring speech is good, shows leadership and also shows in political terms that Ed Miliband is not a threat, but keep up the good work, if your failing to spin “ Red ” Ed the rest of the Labour machine makes Nixon look good at the PR game.

  • Ehtch

    Time to stand still, all,
    like a sci-fi hit creation.

    Move, and you will be hit,
    by capitalist movements going shit.

    Tread water my friends and observe,
    any dipping water you’ll be a perve.

    World’s economy on tipping scale,
    is perverted away to saving a whale.

    Stand fast and hold, and indeed look,
    wait, then watch shoot, when at hand the book.

    Something bollocks but interesting is happening to the World economy, and I do not think, myself mind you, it will return to normal business in six months as past. Something is happening. And I have been banging on about this for years, it is simply and super simply due to the new ultra fast modern communication available. Elephant in the room and all such bollocks. But if something happens with our satellite communiction, we will truely be in bollocks street – chaos will then ensue, grand apocalyptic.

    Have a nice day. Yes Vicar, I will have another cup of tea, cheers pal.

  • Ehtch

    blimey! are you still up Alastair? Why? Read your tweet that you are in Jersey. Is that New Jersey, or, begawd, Bergerac country? Think it must be east coast US.

  • Olli Issakainen

    Finland´s economy is the best one inside the eurozone. Our debt is within the Maastricht Treaty reference level, and so is our deficit. Finland will grow 2.5% this year, Britain 1%. The fall in Britain´s output during the recession was 7.1%. So you are completely wrong. Check your facts before posting a comment next time – I always check mine.

  • Richard

    …..but “they” do not debate or discuss the points made!

  • Richard

    What facts did I get wrong, Olli?

  • Chris lancashire

    Dead right there Pam, looking forward to Mr Campbell’s views now it’s spread to MGN (The Mirror isn’t Murdoch’s Pam).

  • Mike

    He looks Prime Ministerial in the same way that an actor or con man look like the characters they are playing.

  • MicheleB

    Brrrrrrrrrr, a Little Englander.

  • ambrosian

    The man you call Red Leader is an atheist. Olli believes the economic crisis was predicted in the bible and will lead to a World Government and a single world currency.
    Do keep up!

  • MicheleB

    Noooo  …. he wasn’t stashing off-shore assets Ehtch  🙂

  • Chris lancashire

    Sorry ambrosian, despite what you might think, don’t read the Mail. Nothing against it, just not my cup of tea.

  • Chris lancashire

    I’ll pass it on to The Times editor Dave.

  • MicheleB

    Didn’t Michael White actually report that that had been Ken Clarke’s review?

  • Janiete

    Thanks for kind words Shirley, I’m glad others find him as repulsive as I do. 
    SamCam strikes me as superficial and quite frankly rather nauseating. Not because she loves her Dave, but because she is so willing to play her part as a trophy wife.

    Occasional, natural displays of affection between partners can be endearing but the way he mauls and paws her in public makes my skin crawl. Has she no self respect? Women are more than this, not just an appendage to be paraded and shown off as evidence of any man’s masculinity.

    As with so many Tory attitudes this doesn’t belong in the 21st century. In fact I’m uncomfortable with partners not involved in the political scene becoming public figures at all. It’s outdated, sexist nonsense, I’m not surprised modern women are turned off by it.

  • Pam

    “I’ve read from what I believe are reliable sources”.

    You are a “bit of a know it all” aren’t you Michele.

    I’ve noticed how you jump to Alastair’s defence….even if he says black is white.  Have you got a bit of a “thing” for him?  He tends to have that sort of affect on women of a certain age.  He has that “needy” look about him.

    You could offer to run his fan club.

    By the way you spelt judgement wrong.

  • Quinney

    Alastair, Cameron spouted the same rubbish in Derby in March. Two months later his government gave a multi billion train order to Siemens of Germany instead of Derby based Bombardier. Last week BAE Systems announced that 3,000 highly skilled aerospace jobs were now under threat due to defence cuts.
    We’ve had his “rebalancing the economy” speech, we’ve had his “lighting the fires of British industry” speech, we’ve had “the private sector will take all the public sector jobs” speech and we’ve had “the march of the makers”from Osborne during his budget speech.
    In between the economy is going back into recession and no one has any confidence in this government. They are clueless.

    If anyone would like to help the workers at BAE Systems please sign the e- petition on this link:

    If they get 100,000 it can be debated in parliament. These aerospace jobs are the ones we need to keep, if people like this end up on the dole then there is no hope left.

  • MicheleB

    I have to ask myself (as I doubt there’ll be a response from you Richard) what is the difference between a foreigner (albeit another European) who IS interested in this blog and in sharing the philosophy of some of its members and a ‘fellow’ Briton who is neither?

    Other right wingers post here, they seem to accept that anyone has the right to.

  • MicheleB

    Message from a ‘they’ …. to a wimp that wimps about rather than posts  to.

    There’s a kind of etiquette that I think most try to stick to, which is about keeping to the topic of each blog (or trying to).

    EM’s speech was discussed at the time.  Titting4tatting all over the place gets ragged-looking.  Why not occupy yourself doing analyses of each thread or speech and presenting your columns of pros/cons? 

    That would surely be reeeeeaaaalllly interesting.

  • MicheleB

    Tssssk ….. I should trust word wrap more and stop putting in pointeless line feeds.

  • Dave Simons

    Substitute ‘I’ for ‘they’ and you’d have done something rare – spoken a word of truth.

  • MicheleB

    I think we’ve always been presented with spouses at Conference but the ‘spirit’ of how it’s done these days has become so cynical and ‘Hello’ish’ all of them ‘styled up’.  Quite a few of them are dressed these days in what looks like the range that IDS’s BiL was London agent for ……

    There used to be rollicking fun made in the right wing Press about ‘Blair’s babes’ surrounding him on the front bench at PMQs.  I’ve read no mention yet of how Cameron usually has 3 or 4 women sitting in a row behind him meaning our cropped/close-up screen view of him has un-IDed thighs or cleavage above.

  • MicheleB

    Done 🙂

  • MicheleB

    Hi Pam/Fred, do you always refer to keystroke typos as ‘spelt wrong’?

    Which of your IDs have you ‘spelt (yuk, I hate that pronunciation) wrong’ and did you mean ‘wrongly’?  I’ll not ask if you meant ‘spelled’ as that’s my own little way of saying it.

    I’m opinionated; do I need to apologise, perhaps you think I should be shy about what I think?  Why so?
    I’m bemused that you have ‘noticed’ what I post about (albeit you’re referring to a post re GB but claiming I ‘jump to the defence of AC’).  Noticed so much yet posts so little …. I find that creep-ish.

    Nope Pam/Fred/etc ad infinitum, I have a ‘thing’ for Labour but thanks for being so entertaining :-s

  • MicheleB

    OOOOooooh I just noticed, wannabe pedant Pam/Fred.

    You misused ‘affect’ LOL.

    Bit like a Spelling Bee isnit?   < that was on purpose as I like that pronunciation.

  • Gilliebc

    Honestly Pam, I despair of you.  Just when I thought you couldn’t get any sillier, you come up with this childlike comment (to MicheleB).

    Incidentally, did you really think that Murdoch owned MGN?

    So, Pam/Pat/Fred, maybe you should stick to knitting or something.
    Or, to be slightly more constructive, perhaps try and learn about how this world and our country is really run.  I would even be willing to help you on that!  Only if you are able to accept that you do need a bit of help and were seriously interested in learning of course.  By the way Michele did not make a spelling mistake it was a simple “typo”  which we all do from time to time.  Nothing to get excited about.

  • Quinney

    Add another 375 jobs at Westland/Agusta to Cameron’s list of shame as the helicopter firm announced those job losses today.

  • Ehtch

    Where are you from/living, Richard, if you don’t mind me asking? Olli is from Finland, so where is your home Richard? England?

  • But what would that action be?  They made the wrong decision at the time and I do not see many in the shadow cabinet stepping up to replace him.

    What are the alternatives now?

    • Antin_Demdike

      I’d give it to Tom Watson…But look that’s not the point…the general mood is a call to arms for Labour to get it’s act together and start landing some punches against this ineffectual Tory govt 

  • Quinney

    Thanks Michelle!

  • MicheleB

    Thanks Gbc, Pam/Fred is short of her/his own tools so uses the one that’s in such very common use here. 

  • What an excellent piece of observation. It is almost as low-a-swipe at society as that terrible Tory Party Political last week – the one where they say how wonderful their attitude to famine in Africa is…made me feel really ill. How very dare they!

  • Gilliebc

    I happened to catch a short discussion on TV this week about party conferences.  The general concensus seemed to be that they are so stage-managed these days, that they are pretty much irrelevant.

    I would agree with that opinion too, because it would be difficult to present a good case for the opposite.  As for the females who allow themselves to be used as set decoration, I don’t understand why they would sell themselves so short.  The what should be serious world of politics has become far too showbiz imo, how can anyone possibly take them seriously these days.  I enjoy a laugh as much as the next person, but these bozos are supposed to be running the country, not providing light entertainment for us.

    Or, in the words of Celine (sealion) Dione, things/this is getting serious.