One of the criticisms most frequently levelled at David Cameron and the little cabal of ministers he surrounds himself with is that the overwhelming majority are from wealthy, public school backgrounds. I’m not sure that this is a real issue with the Conservative frontbench — though the decisions that they have made in office, favouring people of their own circumstances far above the vulnerable and needy definitely are.
But as the ideological wheels have been falling off the Cameroon bandwagon on a seemingly daily basis, what strikes me as most alarming is that the politicians running Britain seem to act like they are still a gang of over-privileged schoolboys.
It’s been something I’ve thought for a long time. The crowded House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions on a Wednesday afternoon has something of an air of a rowdy classroom, and the braying MPs certainly don’t help the overall image.
But looking at the actions of government ministers, and it seems that in their own heads they’ve never actually left school. Andrew Mitchell, swearing like a yob at the police. George Osborne, sitting in first class without a ticket and thinking he should get away with it because he’s head boy.
And then, a couple of weeks ago, when Chris Bryant asked about texts and emails David Cameron had refused to release to the Leveson Inquiry, we were treated to this bizarre display:
Which basically amounts to David Cameron saying:
“I’m not answering his question because he’s mean to me!“
Mental. Leaving aside that Bryant had apologised to the House, and what Cameron was looking for was some extra grovelling to him personally, there’s something very distasteful about someone holding high public office flat-out refusing to answer a question from an elected representative simply because he doesn’t like him.
And not only that, but yesterday I saw this story on BBC News:
“A man who shouted ‘no public sector cuts’ at David Cameron during a speech in Glasgow has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service.“
He shouted at the Prime Minister. He shouted at him, and he got 100 hours of community service. I expect there are a lot of MPs feeling very worried at the moment, in case David Cameron should run to teacher with the refrain “He shouted at me!” and point at them.
Honestly, this is absurd. Our government is made up of schoolboys. And not the competent, high-achieving “gifted and talented” students. No, this lot have already proved themselves incompetent.
I’m afraid, people of Britain, we’re being governed by the Inbetweeners.