Soapbox Anne Johns: Why can't Cameron give an answer about how to provide more for less?
WHEN asked by the Derby Telegraph whether he thought it unfair to cut the Government's grant to Derby by £13 per head – more than the national average – all David Cameron could do was compare it with his utterly different, rural, highly affluent safe Tory seat of Witney.
In the Telegraph's January 5 edition, he said of Derby: "They need to try and do more with less."
To the follow-up question of what local authorities should be providing in the face of cuts, all he could manage was: "They will go on providing what they do now, but they've got to provide more value for money."
Why wasn't he asked "how?"
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Supposing, in a simplistic, metaphorical scenario I have had £50 a week for all my family's housekeeping expenses, I would have learned to budget accordingly.
I might even have managed a little luxury – a small chocolate bar or a fortnightly bottle of cheap wine – and even put aside a couple of quid weekly for emergencies. Then I'm cut back to £45. The wine, chocolate and emergency money go immediately and I stop buying a newspaper.
Then to £40. Out go marmalade, sauces and all but the cheapest meat, and I cut down on fruit, veg and cleaning materials.
At £35 we're down to meat only occasionally, eat less bread and cereal, ration the cheese and vegetables and constantly feel hungry, which affects our ability to work.
I also feel guilty and incompetent because that nice Mr Cameron says I should not only be able to go on providing more, but better value, and I don't know how. So I consult the Head of the Household.
"What's the problem?" replies the HH. "You can get a chicken for £35, or a joint, or fruit, or newspapers, wine, speciality loaves, chocolate, plenty of cheese and those condiments you've stopped buying."
"Each individually, yes, but I can't do them all. I've cut all I can and now we're all hungry and cold. What else can I cut?"
The HH says it's my decision and whatever the outcome, it's my responsibility.
In reality, Cameron, whose only pre-parliamentary experience is in PR, knows it, too.
He doesn't give answers to awkward questions because he doesn't have any.
He arrogantly redefines words like "fair", hectors instead of answering (why wasn't he challenged on this?) and has convinced himself, if not others, that confident assertion makes him right.
He failed to respond seriously to any of the concerns over the grim consequences of the cuts that were put to him, simply blustering his way through the interview.
He knows only privilege and prosperity and is interested only in his public image.
This man is dangerous and we should not believe a word he says.