From Chris Moseley, Director of Infinite Space PR
The Conservative Party’s Cabinet Members and Central Office Mandarins are all Old Etonians, and all the backbenchers are ‘Swivel-eyed loons’. Call me sane and utterly pragmatic, but who really gives damn?
I first caught wind of David Cameron’s new speechwriter Clare Foges by way of a Tweet from Channel 4′s Economics Editor Faisal Islam several months back. Faisal’s a very bright spark, but he’s not the sort of chap to concern himself with literary criticism, well, not since his GCSEs in 1994. Nevertheless, he Tweeted the following reflections on Cameron’s new speechwriter at Davos earlier this year: “Has the PM got a new speechwriter? Nice timbre and pace. Almost iambic pentameter. Spot of alliteration. Occasional rap style rhyming.”
Mmm, this doesn’t sound quite authentic does it? It’s much more likely to be Craig Oliver – Cameron’s director of communications – cozening up to Faizal, whispering sweet nothings into his ear, and giving the hapless Faizal something to Tweet about methinks. Anyway, why the fuss about Cameron’s speechwriter? As ever The Daily Mail has the answer. Foges is a ‘raven-haired’ poet and former ice cream seller. Most tellingly, Foges isn’t a public school type. A devout Christian, she went to a comprehensive school, gaining a First in English at Southampton University, followed by a Masters in Poetry at Bristol.
About as subtle as a brick isn’t it? With the government laden with the alumni of Britain’s top public schools, and now licking its wounds post the PlebGate and, currently, the LoonGate scandals, the Coalition has been at pains to push its PC credentials. One can see the PR cogs whirring.The PR profiling of Foges has since been followed up with a serving of Justine Greening, in The Guardian of all places. “International development secretary Justine Greening is a Tory to watch. State-educated and from a family of Rotherham steel workers, her plain-speaking approach is getting her noticed,” gushes The Guardian’s Nicholas Watts and Patrick Wintour. Yuck! There’s something unutterably sly about all this media manipulation isn’t there? The slyness doesn’t come from its deftness, but from its slimy ‘we’re jus’ ordinary folks’ intent. Frankly, I don’t give a toss if all of the inhabitants of No.10 were educated at Eton and Harrow – I just want them to be effective, and preferably I’d like to hear news of someone coming into government who actually ran a business prior to entering politics.
Granted, Greening’s a top accountant, but she still doesn’t give the impression that she really knows what it’s like to be in the driving seat of a company, sweating to get that next big order. Nor does she give the impression that she knows anything about technology and innovation.
On the world’s political stage New Zealand’s John Key comes closest to impressing in the business background stakes. Key began a career in the foreign exchange market in New Zealand before moving overseas to work for Merrill Lynch, in which he became head of global foreign exchange in 1995, a position he held hold for six years. In 1999 he was appointed a member of the Foreign Exchange Committee of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York until leaving in 2001. The upshot is that the New Zealand economy’s doing pretty well, the NZ dollar is considered a safe haven currency, and the country’s exporting its ass off.
By the by, Key came from a working class background – but who really cares about that?
My guess is that the future for the UK political arena lies in the eventual appearance of a new gang of uber comprehensive school types who will eventually descend on No.10 before the next election. They’ll have something of the Hague about them – school debating squad/Young Conservatives clones.
A squadron of bright young things from the Shires, with their eyes fixed firmly on the economy, and not wind turbines or, Heaven forfend, gay marriage, might just sort out the present concerns expressed by the Swivel Eyes in the Shires.
And then perhaps we can all stop playing silly games and focus on the business of, well, business and getting the country back on its feet.