10 August 2011

Thinking Paper #51 - Is David Cameron clear enough?

By Tim Massingberd-James

Abstract

Is the Prime Minister too distracted by worries about his own clarity to do a good job? We examine a very real problem.



Introduction

Talking about the use of cannons this morning, our Prime Minister had the following to say:

"Let me be clear, at COBRA this morning we agreed, full contingency planning is going ahead. Whatever resources the Police need, they will get. Whatever tactics the Police feel they need to employ, they will have legal backing to do so. We will do whatever is necessary to restore law and order onto our streets.

Research

Whilst we at the IIPBA support the return of law and order, in order to do that we need strong leadership. We are inceasingly concerned that the Prime Minister is too preoccupied with whether or not what he says at press conferences is clear enough to do his job properly.

We have reviewed recent speeches, and found the following worrying examples:

On whether he discussed the BSkyB deal at secret meetings:

"I never had one inappropriate conversation. And let me be clear, let me be clear, I completely took myself out of any decision-making about this bid. I had no role in it, I had no role in when the announcements were going to be made, that is the point." - 21 Jul 2011

On the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla:

"Let me be clear: the Israeli attack on the Gaza flotilla was completely unacceptable" - 28 Jul 2010

On reform of Welsh public services:

"Let me be clear: it is not my intention to interfere in decisions over devolved matters." - 12 Jul 2011

On NHS reform:

Let me be clear – this is a genuine chance to make a difference." - 7 Apr 2011

"Let me be clear: as long as I’m Prime Minister, yes, there will be, as there are now, private providers and voluntary providers. But let me also be clear, no: we will not be selling off the NHS, we will not be moving towards an insurance scheme, we will not introduce an American-style private system." - 7 June 2011

"Let me be clear: No, we will not be selling off the NHS" - 9 Jun 2011

On Libya:

"Let me be clear to anyone watching in the Islamic or the Arab world. Britain has no selfish or strategic or oil-related interest in what is happening in Libya. Our interest has been to try and help save civilian life,” - 2 Apr 2011

On Euro bailouts:

"Let me be absolutely clear: Britain is not a member of the eurozone and we're not going to join the eurozone" - 13 Jan 2011

On Lockerbie

"On one issue in particular, Lockerbie - let me be absolutely clear - there's no daylight between us" - July 2010

Advice

Relax, Dave. We got it. You were clear enough the first time. No need to repeat it, or add in a statement to confirm your clarity. You could save valuable moments by leaving it out of your next speech, and spend that time fighting rioters, or Boris.

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