David Cameron: Anything but the economy

David Cameron Events brought the PM back from holiday early twice

The prime minister sounded very comfortable on the Today programme this morning talking about Libya and the riots.

He even found a common theme to connect them - just because you can't do everything doesn't mean you shouldn't do something.

So it was right, he argued, to take military action in Libya which the Arab world was prepared to back - or, at least, tolerate. However, it could not be pursued in Syria where they were, so far at least, unwilling to even back sanctions.

So, Britain's most dysfunctional families would be given "tough love" even though bankers, politicians and, yes, former members of the Bullingdon Club had behaved irresponsibly.

What occurred to me as I listened to him is how relieved he must be to be able to be talking about these things - indeed any things - other than the economy at a time when the latest statistics are alarming, the international climate uncertain and the markets are volatile.

He will be relieved too that the economic debate over the next few days will be shaped not by questions about how the government can stimulate growth, but memories of the arguments the last government had over how to respond to the banking crisis, the need for spending cuts and tax rises.

The respected economics commentator Martin Woolf of the FT declares today that: "The UK is in the midst of what is set to be the longest - and among the most costly - of its depressions in over a century. The characteristic of this depression, compared with its predecessors, is the frightening weakness of the recovery phase".

In preparation for a BBC documentary series I'm currently making on the politics of tax and spend I read Alistair Darling's memoirs.

Sadly I had to sign a confidentiality agreement before doing so.

The leaks are a taster of richer fare to come.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    CHINA is both the problem and the Answer. You cannot have a Fixed exchange rate in a free market, it has sucked ALL the low skilled jobs from everywhere. Politicians of the WEST need to grow some round things and take this head on. This will bring some jobs back to the UK and other western countries and then leave CHINA with a very big problem

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Foreign adventures and petty scapegoating are indeed the default distraction technique for politicians of all ilks when they don't want the voters looking at the elephant.

    I can think of another politician who engaged in foreign adventures and petty scapegoating of sections of their society. That didn't end too well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Britain's most dysfunctional people work in our banks! Their mugging of the taxpayer and warmongering in Libya have done more damage than 100 riots could do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    Very disappointing interview this morning and Cameron got off lightly with no talk about the economy which is the Holy Grail. If this is not fixed, Libya, dysfunctional families and the much maligned defence review will all be irrelevant. We need jobs,less red tape, the banks sorted out and targeted tax cuts to stimulate growth. Education is also high priority. All else is secondary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    Apart from distraction from other matters, wars are ALWAYS about power and wealth even when valid altruistic reasons are present.
    Many internet blogs have for several years been calling our current economic phase a depression. It seems mainstream media are starting to be allowed to hint at it too.


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