Managing politicians can be a terrible job. You can be like Malcolm Tucker or like Captain Panic Pants…somewhere in between is the perfect demeanour. I am of the Malcolm Tucker persuasion and so the panic pants types give me the shits.
The pommy version of Captain Panic Pants is talking…he shouldn’t be, but he is:
One of the Prime Minister’s key advisers has admitted that most of his time is spent on “day-to-day crisis management”, amid growing Conservative unease that Downing Street is losing control.
In his first interview, Oliver Dowden, David Cameron’s deputy chief of staff who oversees domestic policy, disclosed that he was “surprised on a day-to-day basis” by the news agenda.
The admission will add to concerns that the Prime Minister’s office is “dysfunctional” and unable to influence events following the resignation of key members of staff.
The Daily Telegraph has learnt that several members of the Cabinet are now privately giving warnings that the growing allegations of government incompetence will undermine the Conservatives’ re-election efforts.
One Cabinet minister said that Mr Cameron needed to “sharpen and harden” the Downing Street operation as the Conservatives would be judged on “competence, not compassion”.
In an interview with an American public broadcaster at the end of last month, Mr Dowden, nicknamed “Olive” by other aides, gave a rare insight into the uncertainty inside Downing Street.
He said: “Most of my time is spent on day-to-day crisis management — is the term we use.”
The aide jokingly added that “we are not permanently in crisis” before disclosing how he was trying to ensure that Conservative MPs stayed “on message” during media interviews.
However, he admitted that he often only discovered the daily political agenda by listening to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“Of course, the first thing I do in the morning, if I’m not woken up by my very young children, I turn on the Today programme and hear what’s going on,” he said. “Hopefully we will have some sense of what’s coming up anyway, but often you’ll get surprised by what’s going on …”
Asked when he was last surprised, he replied: “I’m surprised on a day-to-day basis. There is no accounting for the conduct of individuals.”
Heh, maybe Captain panic Pants can reite that nickname and use “Olive” instead?