16 August 2011

Thinking Paper #57 - Is Steve Hilton on holiday?

By Jacinta Burrow


Watching Ed and Dave make speeches yesterday morning (see Thinking Paper #56) about how they’ve spent the past few days meeting real people and how this has made them realise that a) the causes of the riots are complicated, but that b) they were right about this all along, the IIPBA had a strong sense of policy déjà vu. Is the bare-footed lover of all things radically NEW on a mini-break in his native Hungary (it’s in Thinking Paper #20, people. Keep up...)?

Key points

1. “Broken Society” – What do you get when you cross “Broken Britain” with the “Big Society” agenda, weave in a spot of “the Great Ignored”, and add a twist of “hug-a-hoodie”? Answer: the “top of Cameron’s agenda”. It’s what’s known in the business as “policy synthesis”. We at the IIPBA like to think of it as “partying like it’s 2005”. It’s more fun that way.

2. “National Citizen Service” – The policy formerly known as “national service” (ask your Grandad) was first mooted by Cameron last year and no one really gave a monkey’s. But if your boss came back from holiday early, you’d be pretty f*cked off as well. So well done to whoever it is in Downing St who pulled the classic CTRL + C +V manoeuvre. We’ve all been there.

3. The blue-red tie divide – Yesterday morning, David Cameron wore a blue tie (“I’m no liberal hand-wringer! I know a yob when I see one!”) to distinguish himself from Ed Miliband who wore a dark red tie (“Will the effects of Thatcher’s pernicious legacy never END?”) That whole purple/green tie, bipartisan metaphor thing (see Thinking Paper #1) is so over.

4. Iain Duncan-Smith – He’s back. You know...the slaphead one who isn’t William Hague. He stopped being Tory leader, discovered poor people and his view that marriage is the answer to everything is finally coming into its own. Quite frankly, he’s never looked happier.


Politics is like fashion: if you wait long enough, it all comes round again. Remember Tony Blair’s 2003 “Big Conversation”? Of course you don’t. But Ed Miliband obviously does and is pretending the “National Conversation” is HIS big idea. But let’s play along: he really looked like he was enjoying himself up there, in front of all his old teachers (“look everyone, I’m the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition!”), demanding that something be done. The IIPBA just hopes that Steve will be back before anyone in government finds the folder marked “National Cones Hotline”.

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