In the letters to Ian Hudspeth, Tory leader of Oxfordshire County Council which covers Cameron’s own constituency, he complains of cuts to frontline services such as elderly day centres, museums, and libraries.
Cameron remains seemingly unaware that such frontline services must be cut since all the possible ‘back office’ savings have already been made. He is also blissfully unaware of the real figures involved, carelessly misquoting figures like …. well, like a politician.
Actual cuts to local funding of £626m become £204m according to Cameron. A drop in funding of £72m or 37 per cent is a “slight fall” to the PM (which, in fairness, it probably is in his world). And his helpful suggestion of raising more money by selling off excess council property is “neither legal, nor sustainable”, Hudspeth patiently explains (presumably while repeatedly punching himself in the head with his non-writing hand).
Should we really be surprised that a top-ranking Tory politician like David Cameron – a millionaire born into wealth and schooled at Eton – would be unaware of the sharp end of his programme of cuts?
I think not. But it does raise further concerns as to what other policy implications he’s unaware of. What will be next? The leader of Oxfordshire County council writing to Cameron: “Thank you for your concerns about local government cuts but I regret to inform you that your constituency is no longer in Oxfordshire due to electoral boundary changes which your government implemented”?
Or perhaps we could imagine him writing to complain about the number of homeless people hanging around Chipping Norton recently (unlikely, but bear with me). “This may have come from the £12bn worth of welfare cuts which you sanctioned and which have seen homelessness soar by 40 per cent, Mr Cameron,” Mr Hudspeth would have to reply.
We might imagine our wonderful leader writing to the long-suffering Mr Hudspeth to complain: “There have been a number of worrying rumbling noises under my property recently and last night Samantha singed her eyebrows when the water she was using to brush her teeth unexpectedly burst into flame.”
Mr Hudspeth: “I’m afraid this could be due to the fracking operation currently taking place underneath your house, sir. The government gave it the green light several weeks ago. You might also want to look out for the nuclear reactor due to be installed just down the road. Oh, and just to let you know, the men will be coming round to remove your solar panels tomorrow – the company went bust after you removed all subsidies to renewable energy.”
Perhaps we could go even further and imagine the PM’s own house being broken into by a bunch of drugged-up, out-of-work youths without prospects from an inner city constituency, which, being under-privileged, faces far worse cuts than his own. Perhaps we could imagine Mr Cameron calling the police and demanding they send someone round, only to be told to hang up and dial 101, because police cuts mean there aren’t enough officers to deal with non-major crimes like breaking and entering.
He might even get suspicious that all these complaints of his are being leaked to the press. “Were you aware, Mr Cameron, of something called the Snoopers’ Charter?”
But enough fantasising. None of these thinks are likely to actually happen. Being a rich white man from a well-off area with a job and his full health, Mr Cameron won’t ever really feel the full effects of his own policies. Fortunately for him, he’ll probably never have to.