At the slightest of opportunities, the Telegraph, Mail, Sun and Express will kick Cameron
Cameron should look at the front pages and editorials in this morning's four leading centre right newspapers and worry.
The first cause of tension is the PM's extraordinary contention that Britain is "responsible for so many of the world's problems". The Telegraph takes him to task for this running of our country down, during his visit to Pakistan:
"If there is one thing we are entitled to expect from our Prime Minister when he is overseas, it is that he should not run down his own country in order to ingratiate himself with his hosts. Unfortunately, David Cameron, on a visit to Pakistan yesterday, seems either to have forgotten or ignored this rule. Answering questions from students, he appeared to accept that Britain and its imperial legacy were to blame for the current conflicts in many of the world’s trouble spots. Asked whether Britain could help settle the dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, Mr Cameron said it should not take a “leading role”, adding: “As with so many of the world’s problems, we are responsible for the issue in the first place.”"
"On a visit to Africa several years ago, Gordon Brown responded to an attack on Britain by Thabo Mbeki, then South Africa’s president, by declaring that “the days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over”, and that “we should celebrate much of our past, rather than apologise for it”. We agree. Our past is by no means perfect, but it ill behoves the Prime Minister to lay so many of the world’s ills at our own door."
The Mail, meanwhile, is on the attack over the Coalition's plans for social mobility:
"Oozing privilege from every pore, helped by private schooling and family connections, guilt-ridden ministers demand an end to the advantages that got them where they are today... First David Willetts (King Edward’s private school and Oxford) echoes Labour by telling universities to let working-class students jump the queue for places ahead of middle-class applicants with better qualifications. Now Nick Clegg (Westminster School, Cambridge, internship in daddy’s bank) announces a Social Mobility Strategy that will mean yet more targets, more social engineering — oh, and the end of internships (which incidentally are a pretty dubious form of slave labour) for the offspring of the well-connected."
Then The Sun and Express join in, complaining that the government is lavishing money on Pakistan while cutting Britain's armed forces:
"Is giving £650million to Pakistan while sacking British troops a good deal for taxpayers? ...Is it right that hard-hit British taxpayers should fill corrupt Pakistan's coffers while our own defences are cut to the bone? Ex-SAS defence expert Andy McNab says some of our aid will be channelled to terrorists trying to kill Our Boys in Afghanistan... When funds are so tight, the Prime Minister should put Britain's military first." - The Sun
"It seems that foreign aid and the European Union are among the only areas exempt from belt-tightening. For any Government to favour the citizens of other nations and of international bodies over its own citizens is perverse." - Express
Cameron's problem is that today's four-pronged attack is not out-of-the-ordinary. Each of Britain's four most important centre right newspapers will support the Coalition on deficit reduction, schools reform and welfare but none will hesitate to kick the Coalition when opportunity arises. Neither Thatcher nor Blair had such few foul-weather friends.