26 May 2014

David Cameron joins Nigel Farage attack on politicians

A new and rather late recruit to the tide of anti-politics joined the baying mob this morning – the prime minister himself referred to Nigel Farage disparagingly as “a consummate politician … what with his expenses, his wife on the pay-roll” and as “supremely tactical.”

They were throwaway remarks but revealing of how the main party leaders are floundering in responding to the party of anger, UKIP.

As one senior Labour strategist put it to me yesterday, the problem for the main three parties is that the whole category of established politicians is toxic, even more toxic collectively than any individual party brand.

None of them has come up with anything approaching an answer to that disconnect.

David Cameron’s political response was to stick to plan A when he spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning – emphasising the referendum, though it’s interesting to see how he repeatedly acknowledged that people think he’s lying (my word, not his) and he has to convince them the referendum pledge is “genuine.”

He used his favourite focus-grouped phrase about the Tories having a “long-term plan” for the economy even more than usual and is adapting it – proclaiming his party is the only one with a “long term plan” for Europe.

It sounds like the PM’s been listening to so many briefings from Lynton Crosby telling him that he himself is a central part of the Tories’ hopes that he now refers to himself in the third person, asking: “Do you want David Cameron and the Conservatives … or Ed Miliband and Labour” running the country?

Labour’s performance outside London was nothing like good enough to be sure of victory in 2015. The Lib Dem leadership is licking its wounds while internal enemies sniff blood and circle.

Expect more voices critical of Nick Clegg to pop up in the coming hours.

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