There comes a time in every Government when that whiff of decay hangs in the air over it like an albatross. Its usually hard to recollect the exact moment when our leaders turn from politician to pantomime horse .But without exception it happens to them all.
What is exceptional is the speed with which David , ” call me Dave,” Cameron and his side kick George Osborne have gone from hero to zero. The Government which Cameron leads is only just half way into its first term. It was as recently as last Saturday that Prime Minister Cameron stood like a giant in the political firmament Little did he realise that in less than 24 hours the Sunday Times investigative team would make him look more like “Del Boy,” than everyone’s mate Dave.
Within a short time of the paper breaking the story Murdoch was on twitter congratulating his staff on a job well done, and Cameron was left fuming. With the truth of “dinnergate,” dinner for large donations with the PM at his private Downing Street flat , being dragged out like teeth, the Tory press, to Murdoch’s delight joined him in savaging his ungrateful disciple.
The Government’s rearguard action to paint matters in a different light gathered all the momentum of a horse on its way to the knackers yard and things went from bad to worse when his closest political confidante. George Osborne got a custard pie in the face. metaphorically speaking.Warm Cornish pasties, it was discovered buried away in the budget Red Book, were to be subject to a VAT charge of 20%. How warm was a warm pie he was asked by an MP. If it was judged on the ambient air temperature as indicated it could be vat able and non vat able at different times on the same day.
Questioned further Osborne admitted he was not a Cornish pasty man and could not remember the last time he had eaten one, if ever. The senior side of the partnership was soon at the microphone. Never mind the state of the economy or threat of a Middle East war with Iran Cameron announced to the world his love of pasties. He had eaten one a week ago, he said, at Leeds station and it was marvellous.
The world breathed in a collective sigh of relief. David Cameron likes pasties. No doubt the Ayatollahs were satisfied and no doubt Rupert Murdoch laughed. Hardened business man he may be but he puts a great store by loyalty and feels that not only had Cameron dumped him like yesterdays newspaper but dumped mutual friends for political convenience.
Rupert Murdoch stood by his UK chief executive Rebekah Brooks way beyond the level of common sense. Cameron had also been friends with Brooks and was a university friend of her husband Charlie. But ever since the phone hacking story swarmed round Cameron he has cut his erst while ” good friends,” off and his aides ensure he is never in the same place as the couple, who live close by his country home, for fear they could be pictured together.
For Murdoch those who are disloyal pay a price, and it seems Cameron will pay in full. Papers which he might have expected to stay with him have gone for Cameron as eagerly as the Murdoch press. Smugly they claim to be doing what a ” free press,” always does, and thats chase the story no matter where it may lead.
Where this may lead could well be to a new Tory leader or a split in the coalition. Meanwhile Labour leader Ed Miliband sits on the sidelines. Already written off as yesterdays man he might yet be the man for tomorrow. The question is not whether he will have tea with Murdoch but does take one lump or two?
For those who are intrigued about the ingredients of a real Cornish Pasty they are as follows: Diced butter, lard, plain flour with a beaten egg,. Thats for the pastry, and Inside, beef skirt or chuck steak, chopped, one large onion, chopped, potatoes, thinly sliced,diced swedes and black pepper. The quantities.? This is a political column not a cookery one. Surely you have a Delia Smith cook book on the shelf!