Peter Bingle, the influential Conservative commentator and Chairman of Bell Pottinger, has posted a devastating critique of the Cameron Government:

“If there is one thing that the public expects from its government it is competence. Thatcher’s government was always competent. John Major’s was not. The debacle over the ERM gave the impression of a government in chaos. From that moment the government was dead in the water.

In recent weeks u-turns have become the norm rather than the exception. The narrative of being a listening government is wearing very thin. This is a government which is starting to develop a reputation (rather like the Heath government from 1970-1974) for being pragmatic rather than principled. It is a dangerous game to play. It encourages strikes and civil unrest. As Norman Tebbit pointed out earlier this week: “Weakness, not strength, provokes ­aggression and the Coalition lacks a reputation for a steely sense of purpose.” Not a smart strategy when you have a police service which believes that the government hates them.

In addition to having a backbone inserted there are some simple things that need to happen and quickly. There are some ministers who are truly hopeless. We all know who they are, don’t we? They should return to the backbenches without delay and be replaced by colleagues with real ability.  ….

The government also needs to start giving the impression that it believes in something. Defence and the police are two obvious ones but there are others.  ….

I have mused before why the government needs to change tack over policing. They are in a similar mess over defence spending. When defence chiefs go public with warnings about lack of resources ministers should start to worry. Yesterday’s article by Stephen Glover over the Falklands should have instilled fear in Number 10, HM Treasury and the MoD. If the President of Argentina decides to invade the Falklands would we be in a position to do anything about it? If not the government would fall.”

He concludes:

“In the comedy classic Up Pompeii Frankie Howard played the character Lurcio. One of his standard lines was: “Oh woe is me …” This sums up rather well how many Tory supporters are currently thinking about the government.”

If that’s what his friends are saying, David Cameron should be worried.

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