Friday, 11 September 2009


Lunch today was just me & David Cameron. (Oh, and about 250 other businesspeople from the locality!) David spoke, and (I have to say) I was impressed. He actually has opinions, and is willing to express them. I also found myself agreeing with everything he said, not because it was a stream of platitudes (which it wasn't) - beacuse he actually spoke sense.

My notes, hastily typed onto an iPhone and edited this afternoon, as are follows:

  • He will cut public expenditure. The Government needs to accept that "the money has run out" (his words), and the culture needs to change to one more akin to a business. We in the private sector have all had to learn to do the same for less money. Cutting the cost of Westminster politics is about leadership, and allows him to cut Civil Service costs. The "Quangocracy" is overpaid & too large. He will review civil service numbers, their pay, and their pension arrangements; there are too many civil servants and their terms are too generous. Whitehall is, overall, too large.

  • Taxes are too high, especially for SMEs. He cannot and will not make specific tax promises, but the 50% rate was pure politics and will not work. It forms "part of the queue" of taxes that he will cut, although NI will probably be first as this bears down hardest on some around the £19k pa mark who cannot afford it. Tax rates at their current level are scaring people away from the UK.

  • MPs had got "out of touch" with regard to their expenses, and had begun to see them as part of their salary - this was wrong. "It was within the rules" was not a good enough response to questions; any claim must be objectively reasonable as well as being with the letter of the rules. He wants the transparency that he has introduced to Conservative MPs to be extended to the whole of the public sector - that includes Whitehall, local councils, quangos, the BBC,the lot - and it extends to all purchases. His aim is to allow SMEs to supply 25% of government purchasing, and this is a way for them to look at what a department is doing and say to it "we can do that cheaper".

  • The Chinooks that are still in a hangar in Hampshire after 8 years are a scandal.

  • The fact that we have still not had a defence review following 9/11 is "crazy".
After he had left, the (brand new) chair he had sat on was given away by its supplier to a randomly chosen attendee. She promptly offered it for charity auction; yours truly stopped bidding at £700 (don't tell Mrs P!) and it went for £750 .

He also left his notes behind; these were auctioned for charity and fetched £400.


  1. Yes, but was he wearing a tie?

  2. Good. It seems more reasonable to judge a politician by whether he is wearing a tie, than to judge the value of a chair to be £700 simply because David Cameron's bottom has been brushing against it for a few hours.

  3. Although what he actually said is, I think, also an important part of the assessment.


  4. So you were going to spend £700 because of what he said. There was I thinking Cameron must have buttocks of gold. At least one thing is clear: there's no chance of you spending that much money on chair sat upon by Gordon Brown then!

    What a relief! :-)

  5. (There was also a charity involved!)

  6. yours truly stopped bidding at £700 .. and it went for £750 .

    How relieved were you!

    I have an original piece of wood from the chair that John Prescott sat on.

  7. Bill, I am rather worried about your prospects given the surname. Was the piece or the chair original? (measured is in a minxy mood!)

    patently, were the notes printed or handwritten? Mrs P breathed a sigh of relief you didn't get the chair; did any others? ;-)

    DC has a ruthless streak. He will need it but it plainly was not on display. I wish him the very best of luck.

  8. Handwritten. And very concise.

    I would have liked the chair. I bid it up from about £50, thinking "only another £25"... then suddenly you think "HANG ON! £700??"

  9. I bid it up from about £50, thinking "only another £25"... then suddenly you think "HANG ON! £700??"

    Thank goodness for that! I thought you'd lost the plot!

  10. Measured.
    It was a piece of the chair that cracked then shattered. This piece is no more than a long splinter but to true flat cap, left wing, believers it is a piece of the true cross.

    {Although I think it was a cross mostly carried by Tony Blair.}

  11. Bill.

    Yup, I twigged.

    (Bliar has some crosses to bear. I understand he is about to publish a book, or is it The Book? May just be a rumour.)