Young Dave has a habit of indulging in a little payback, and sometimes the public aren’t fussed enough to find adversely on this behaviour, such as when he and the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the seventeenth Baronet, vetoed the prospect of Pa Broon getting the IMF berth that eventually went to Christine Lagarde. But Cameron’s peevish behaviour got the better of him last week.
The top job at Sport England was up for grabs, and one of the candidates was Tanni Grey-Thompson, former Paralympic multiple gold medal winner and for so many years a familiar face at the London Marathon. She sits as a crossbencher in the House of Lords. Her appointment would have sent out a very positive message regarding the Government’s stance on disability.
But she had also passed severely adverse comment on that same Government’s moves to reform disability benefits, and so, when the decision came to be confirmed by Cameron, he vetoed any prospect of her being appointed. This has not gone down well, even with a usually supportive press. Nor has Young Dave’s attempt at bodyswerving. And nor should the spin.
The way the appointment of Nick Bitel, rather than Tanni Grey-Thompson, is being spun is to suggest that he, as CEO of the London Marathon, had proved that he was capable of running a significantly sized business. Therefore there was nothing to read into his selection, nothing to see, and all concerned should duly move right along. And this is what is now unravelling.
We can see just how consistent this approach is when compared to previous sports personalities who have gone on to take charge of major organisations and projects, such as, oh I dunno, Seb Coe, who became chairman of the London Olympic bid more or less by accident – and without anyone claiming he did not possess the requisite commercial acumen.
Nor has his previous lack of management experience stopped Coe from gaining further employment from FIFA and the British Olympic Association (BOA), and fair play to him. But his CV before 2004, when put alongside Tanni Grey-Thompson’s, differs in terms of his five years as an MP, and that he got his big break when Tone was at 10 Downing Street.
Blair was not put off by Coe having been a Tory. But Cameron has clearly jibbed at giving the nod to someone who has criticised his Government, to the extent that he twice evaded direct questions in the Commons on the issue this week, and has attempted lame spin rather than coming clean. His peevish and petty behaviour has already been rumbled, and it is a move he will come to regret.
Disabled voters are one group that the Tories just lost. Until their next leader.