Tuesday, July 24, 2007

David Cameron and Rwanda

The Daily Mail and other papers have been laying into David Cameron for disappearing to Rwanda while his Oxfordshire constituency of Witney has been flooded.

Tories defend this saying that "Dave" isn't in power, so there is little he can do here. Of course as he isn't in power it's equally pointless him addressing the Rwandan parliament as he has zero authority to offer aid, trade or anything else. The Mail reports that:

David Cameron's much-criticised trip to Rwanda has descended into farce as only 16 of the 80 Rwandan MPs scheduled to hear him speak turned up and his speech was hit by a power cut.

Looks like the Rwandan parliamentarians thought it was a waste of time listening to someone who is not in government.

Should he have gone? Surely the correct thing to do was to have stayed at home himself, but let the other 41 Conservatives on the Rwandan trip go ahead with their plans, and sent someone like William Hague along to be head honcho on the trip. That way he would have got kudos for putting his constituents first, but the Tories would still have got points for caring about Rwanda. Of course doing this would have meant that someone other than Dave would have been in the limelight, which he might not have enjoyed (Dave is quite egotistical - even to the point of putting "David Cameron's Conservatives on ballot papers; Blair for all his ego never once dared put "Tony Blair's Labour" on the ballot paper at any point during his 13 years as leader).

The thing about events like floods, is that residents want their MP on hand for moral support (and if they can do other things such as stack sandbags and distribute water bottles etc, so much the better). Nothing irritates voters more than the thought that while they are struggling, their MP has swanned off somewhere else. If they are miserable and uncomfortable, they want their MP to be miserable and uncomfortable along with them.

The other pertinent point is that most of these floods are happening in Tory areas. They may carp at the Labour government, but not only are they unable to vote the government out (as they are already Tory constituencies) but Dave's behaviour indicates that a Tory government would care much less than a Labour one.

In the rare instances where there is a Labour MP in the flood areas, the MPs are in their constituencies. For example Parmjit Dhanda, Labour MP for Gloucester has been on the ground, organising water bottle donations, talking to residents, doing all he can to help. The residents of Longlevens in Gloucestershire (which is part of his constituency) reported that they all received letters from him after they got flooded, which began:

Dear resident,

I am writing to you in connection with the severe weather and flooding that has occurred in your neighborhood.

Although a few residents have contacted me on this issue I want to ensure you have my full contact details so I can assist you on a one-to-one basis should you need further support.


He goes on to talk about crisis loans and community care grants for those in serious need and urges them to contact him directly on this.

This is exactly what people want from their MP - someone who voluntarily gets in touch with you and says here I am if you want one-to-one help in this crisis.

7 comments:

Bryan McGrath said...

If you think the Tories have missed a trick over the floods in the 'west county', it only goes to show Labour do actually spot when they have dropped a clanger.

The floods in South Yorkshire and Humberside coincided with the coronation of Brown.

Prescott and more seriously, Alan Johnson, couldn't afford an 'away day' back in Hull for 10 days after the floods.

David Blunkett, MP for Sheffield Brightside, just in case you had forgotten, can't find Sheffield so the likelihood of him handing out water bottles is zero. Except, of course, at Stringfellows.

Andrew Brown said...

The traditionally Tory press have been pretty vicious to 'Dave' today. The Telegraph had an opinion piece praising Gordon while the reaction from their readers to the Rwanda trip isn't a pretty sight.

It's too early to tell whether the wind has permanently turned against Cameron, but he's going to have to do something pretty fast or he'll be stuck with this for the rest of his potentially short leadership of the Conservatives.

Elliott said...

"Surely the correct thing to do was to have stayed at home himself, but let the other 41 Conservatives on the Rwandan trip go ahead with their plans, and sent someone like William Hague along to be head honcho on the trip. That way he would have got kudos for putting his constituents first, but the Tories would still have got points for caring about Rwanda. Of course doing this would have meant that someone other than Dave would have been in the limelight ... "

I agree with all of that, except the last part. What makes the trip look even more ill-advised is that events at home have completely overshadowed it, so there has been little limelight on offer. That should have been obvious to him; he shouldn't have gone.

Hughes Views said...

The Tory leadership selection process seems to have been designed to eliminate anyone capable of leading. Generalising wildly - most Tory members and MPs are suspicious of their fellow humans and vote against the candidate they despise the most rather than for the one they like. Cameron won on the basis of one good speech to conference - I guess members were just looking for a reason to vote against Davies (or is it Davis?)...

Anonymous said...

Cameron's descision to fly to Rwanda brought back the nausea of watching that most useless, narcissistic, cretinous, grinning jackanape Blair, the most immoral, self centred, self satisfied, morally bankrupt of all so called politicians I've ever had the shame and misfortune of being associated with during 10 miserable and infuriating years of misrule this country has recently endured. Cameron and Blair are from the same background and it's public school twits like the pair of them who have an inbuilt superiority complex. Frankly they stink and I should know I grew up with these sort of people. Brown is AT LAST the decent man and capable politician that this coutry desperatly needs.
I would never, ever vote for Cameron or indeed a party who's greed and callousness ignores the very basic requirement of improving this shabby little country with it's down at heel repressed population stifled by a gruesome class structure designed to keep people in their place, which is poor and ineffectual. This also applies to the loathsome Royal Family machine.

Anonymous said...

Seems that you hadn't realised that there were floods in Hull and the response from Prescott & Johnson was awful.

Anonymous said...

is the problem that Dave went to Rwanda or because he wasn't home when he should be?