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 ofÂ theÂ 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 Ministerâ€™s key advisers has admitted that most of his time is spent on â€śday-to-day crisis managementâ€ť, amid growing Conservative unease that Downing Street is losing control.
In his first interview, Oliver Dowden, David Cameronâ€™s deputy chief of staff who oversees domestic policy, disclosed that he was â€śsurprised on a day-to-day basisâ€ť by the news agenda.
The admission will add to concerns that the Prime Ministerâ€™s office is â€śdysfunctionalâ€ť 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 Conservativesâ€™ re-election efforts.
One Cabinet minister said that Mr Cameron needed to â€śsharpen and hardenâ€ť the Downing Street operation as the Conservatives would be judged on â€ścompetence, not compassionâ€ť.
In an interview with an American public broadcaster at the end of last month, Mr Dowden, nicknamed â€śOliveâ€ť by other aides, gave a rare insight into the uncertainty inside Downing Street.
He said: â€śMost of my time is spent on day-to-day crisis management â€” is the term we use.â€ť
The aide jokingly added that â€śwe are not permanently in crisisâ€ť before disclosing how he was trying to ensure that Conservative MPs stayed â€śon messageâ€ť during media interviews.
However, he admitted that he often only discovered the daily political agenda by listening to BBC Radio 4â€™s Today programme.
â€śOf course, the first thing I do in the morning, if Iâ€™m not woken up by my very young children, I turn on the Today programme and hear whatâ€™s going on,â€ť he said. â€śHopefully we will have some sense of whatâ€™s coming up anyway, but often youâ€™ll get surprised by whatâ€™s going on â€¦â€ť
Asked when he was last surprised, he replied: â€śIâ€™m surprised on a day-to-day basis. There is no accounting for the conduct of individuals.â€ť
Heh, maybe Captain panic Pants can reite that nickname and use “Olive” instead?