My Observer colleague Andrew Rawnsley has a very perceptive column about Cameron and Osborne in the paper this morning.
Once asked, while in opposition, why he wanted to become prime minister, David Cameron replied: “Because I think I would be quite good at it”, one of the most self-revealing remarks he has ever made. Shortly after he moved into Number 10, someone inquired whether anything about the job had come as a surprise to him. Not really, he insouciantly replied: “It is much as I expected.” In his early period in office, that self-confidence served him rather well. He certainly looked quite good at being prime minister. He seemed to fit the part and fill the role. Broadly speaking, he performed like a man who knew what he was doing. That is one reason why his personal ratings were strikingly positive for a man presiding over grinding austerity and an unprecedented programme of cuts.
So you can get away with being “arrogant” as long as the voters think you have something to be arrogant about. You can also get away with being “posh” in politics. To most of the public, anyone who wears a good suit and swanks about in government limousines looks “posh” whether their schooldays were spent at Eton or Bash Street Comprehensive. There may even be some voters who think – or at least once thought – that an expensive education has its advantages as a preparation for running the country. Though David Cameron and George Osborne have always been sensitive on the subject, poshness wasn’t a really serious problem for them so long as they could persuade the public that they were in politics to serve the interests of the whole country, not just of their own class.
Rawnsley’s right: one of the things that has become obvious in the last few months is how amateurish these lads are. Their self-esteem is inversely proportional to their ability — a classic problem for toffs.
Maybe this is really beginning to dawn on the electorate. Currently Labour has a huge lead over the Tories in the polls. And that’s despite having Miliband like a millstone round the party’s neck.