Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cameron's Patronising Optimism

I'm getting pretty fed up with hearing David Cameron droning on about the need for optimism, even in such troubling economic times.

He seems to delight in peppering his party conference speeches with endless empty rhetoric about the importance of staying upbeat and not letting the pessimists get you down. He also can't resist telling us much he loves this country, and just wants to make it even better.

It's the usual platitudes that we've come to expect from Britain's number one salesman. He's obviously been paying attention to all the focus groups that tell us that we don't like our politicians dour or miserable, but want to be filled with messages of hope for a better future.

The Prime Minister has always been very keen to divide society into optimists and pessimists. Indeed, he’s made a political career out of it. The latter, in his view, are those that hold everyone back, resist change, oppose for the sake of it. The former embrace a challenge, invite change, and want to work together in order to achieve it.

The nonsense he spouted yesterday is so divorced from reality, it just furthers the views of those who believe that politicians don't have the faintest idea what life is like for so many; people struggling to pay their bills, some having to hold down several jobs at once, some without work, competing with hundreds of others for any low paid job they can get their hands on.

It's what John Harris in The Guardian calls: "breezy optimism in the political bubble," versus "fear and loathing on Britain's streets," arguing that "...the disconnect between politicians and the public has never been greater."

When David Cameron tells us that we should "reject the pessimism...[in favour of the] can-do optimism," Harris says this amounts to "the grim spectacle of a silver-spooned millionaire telling the rest of us to awaken an optimism completely contradicted by events."

Indeed, it might be easier to be optimistic and perky if the government wasn't cutting (our already stretched) public services into oblivion and people weren't losing their jobs. David Cameron wasn't being optimistic on Wednesday, he was delivering the very type of 'false optimism' that he himself said people didn't want.

The positive guff sounds like phoney, vacuous, management-speak, designed to deflect attention away from what life is like outside the confines of the claustrophobic Westminster village.

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