Cameron’s government has a plan B for everything but the economy

David Cameron today performed yet another u-turn, this time over justice policy - here Left Foot Forward catalogues the Tory-led government's litany of flip-flops.

“Yet another example of this government not being in touch with people and making proposals which they then have to abandon” – that was Ed Miliband’s verdict on reports the government are dropping plans to halve sentences in return for early guilty pleas, including for crimes such as rape. This, of course, is ‘the latest government u-turn’ – what has become the biggest cliché, or should that be truism, of the last year.


Free school milkfree books schemerecycling slop bucketscuts to school sportsEngland’s forestsCameron’s personal photographercontrol ordersNHS reformshousing benefitremoval of responsibilities for National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), sentencing plansanonymity for rape suspectscan and bottle depositsVAT riseplans to scrap NHS directchild benefitsabolition of the 1922 Committee, automatic jail term for knife crime, weekly bin collections, debt advice cuts.

One could also add: no cuts to front line services and no top down reorganisations of the NHS, although pedants may call these broken promises, not official U-turns… well it’s nice to have some variety.

One could say this is simply a pattern of incompetence, but David Cameron and Nick Clegg boasted of setting out a radical policy base without the necessary mandate. This looked like arrogance at the time, now it looks like reckless arrogance. In trying to push forward such policies, some of which were not in the coalition agreement, it was inevitable that the Tory-led coalition would be forced to u-turn.

Have we missed any out? If you think we have, please contact us and we are happy to correct the record.

UPDATE

Many thanks to all our readers for their contributions. We can now add the following to the list: Ministerial cars (which ministers are still ‘swanning around’ in), PFI contracts, the ‘bonfire of the quangos’ (that fizzled out), and repeated ‘Pickling’ of the Audit Commission seems to have resulted in its preservation up till now. Please keep them coming.

UPDATE

Another day another… this time with the added benefit of a foreign office wag announcing the change in policy over the BBC World Service funding as a “massive U-turn” on the department website. The headline has been taken down and apparently disciplinary action could be taken. Don’t mention the U-turn.

38 Responses to “Cameron’s government has a plan B for everything but the economy”

  1. Mabel Horrocks

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //bit.ly/lTqhes writes @dbr1981

  2. Sir Fred de Malagasy

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //bit.ly/lTqhes writes @dbr1981

  3. Newbury Labour

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //bit.ly/lTqhes writes @dbr1981

  4. bob woods

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //bit.ly/lTqhes writes @dbr1981

  5. Michael

    Cameron’s government has a plan B for everything but the economy I Left Foot Forward – //j.mp/mCcTFH

  6. Aga

    Cameron’s government has a plan B for everything but the economy I Left Foot Forward – //j.mp/mCcTFH

  7. Duncan Stott

    A U-Turning government is a good thing. The alternatives are a belligerent government or a weak, ineffectual government. Give me a U-Turn any time.

  8. Rachel Hubbard

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy | Left Foot Forward //t.co/uUedRKJ

  9. Will Straw

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  10. Emily Birkinshaw

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  11. Rob Merrick

    RT @wdjstraw: Counting those Cam U-turns……20 says @leftfootfwd….and they've missed out executive mayors! – //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  12. Deborah Segalini

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  13. Michael Brader

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  14. Alice Sheppard

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  15. stockyscouts

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  16. Leon Wolfson

    They haven’t u-turned on the NHS, really, and have pushed through their other important plans – like universities…

  17. David Burling

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  18. Jon Purdom/Paco Saez

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  19. Pucci Dellanno

    Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //bit.ly/lTqhes writes @dbr1981

  20. Mason Dixon, Autistic

    I somewhat agree with 1-Duncan Sott; U-turns are preferable to disaster. If only there had been some U-turns on the Welfare Reform bill, an issue that was virtually ignored in the mainstream press and the supposed ‘Left of Centre’ Guardian until it was too late.

  21. False Economy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //t.co/8GFb6Yx writes @dbr1981

  22. Clive Burgess

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //t.co/8GFb6Yx writes @dbr1981

  23. Stian Westlake

    MT: @wdjstraw: Coalition is up to 20 u-turns: @leftfootfwd 's list //t.co/WN4TZay << clearly listening to @TimHarford !

  24. Anon E Mouse

    Every time this government U turns and thank goodness it did on Law and Order – I’m with Labour there – it makes the chances for Labour less and less likely at the next election.

    Apathy will be order of the day I feel but these U turns do seem like a good thing to me so far.

    Having said that I do think Leon Wolfson may be onto something and wonder if the NHS U turn was really anything of the sort. As for the austerity I haven’t seen any yet and for whatever reason we seem to be spending more and more as a country…

  25. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – Rubbish, the sort of U-turning we’re seeing is evidence of weak policy-making across the board from the Tories, and shows how weak their support from the population is for the changes (most of which are completely outside their manifesto) they’re making willy-nilly are. How this translates to “Labour suck” is…unfathomable to me. (And neither is it denting Labour’s poll lead)

    And of COURSE we have austerity, corporation tax has been cut, don’tcha know?

  26. matthew fox

    Cameron used to accuse Brown of dithering every time there was a U-turn in policy, now the line is Cameron is ” Listening ”

    Anon E Ratface wants to explain why Osborne borrowed £17.4 Billion in May 11, I thought a deficit plan was suppose to cut deficits, not increase them.

  27. Sallie Caufield

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy: //t.co/8GFb6Yx writes @dbr1981

  28. Anon E Mouse

    matthew cocks – I don’t need to explain anything I absolutely agree with you – this government is spending more than the last one. There is no deficit reduction any more than Thatcher cut public spending – it’s a scam and people bought it. Although in fairness obviously not you.

    Mind you we know you voted for the least popular Prime Minister in history and actually thought he could get elected (even though he didn’t by the Labour Party even) – the terminally pathetic Gordon Brown so I think that cancels that out. Nice try though matthew cocks…

    Leon Wolfson – The lead is hopeless and you know it. Blair was 21 points ahead within the first year. Over the weekend the polls had the Tories only 1% behind Labour WITH all these cuts.

    Miliband’s personal rating is hopeless and we both know he’ll never be a Prime Minister so I suppose it doesn’t matter….

  29. Leon Wolfson

    Mouse – I don’t “know” anything except you’d be better off posting on a blog where you didn’t come across as a rabid troll. Although telling people that they “know” things is just that regardless where they do it.

    There are massive cuts underway, and they’re going to fund Tory pet projects. You’re backing them up.

  30. mr. Sensible

    Duncan, the problem is that if there are too many it may look like a Prime Minister is not in control. This is a shambles.

  31. Stuart MacDonald

    The coalition is up to 20 u-turns and counting. Can you add any to @leftfootfwd 's list? //bit.ly/mgqQtT

  32. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – I’ve been posting on this fine blog since it started and being described as a “rabid troll” from a supporter of a party that forced Gordon Brown on the country isn’t an insult.

    I won’t go into the in’s and out’s of the poll lead – like the recent results in Scotland it’s a disaster for Labour but tell me why the party’s supporters are so touchy, so tribal, so unquestioning and so accepting?

    Look at matthew fox and mr.Sensible above. They’d vote for a monkey in a red shirt and by having masses of useful idiots like them available to Labour it means the party will not change because it doesn’t feel it needs to.

    And the result will be election loss after election loss. What people see as weakness in U turns others see as a sign of flexibility. People like Cameron because he’s like Tony Blair. (Not as good but better than anyone else in the commons in my opinion. I put Alex Salmond as better though).

    Finally what are these “Tory pet projects” that are being funded? All I see is the coalition carrying the Blair reforms forward in the country…

  33. A "political coward" running a "car crash" coalition - the damning verdict on U-turn Cam | Left Foot Forward

    […] the board, the prime minister comes in for criticism over the latest U-turn on sentencing, and the plethora of U-turns […]

  34. Leon Wolfson

    Well, I’ll use your own tactics then, Mouse. You know you just posted nonsense. See, like it?

    And pet projects? Breaking up the NHS, privatising universities, cutting corporation tax…

  35. IFS boss: Plan B "likely" if growth downgrade continues | Left Foot Forward

    […] goes onto warn that the current trend of government u-turns – most recently on sentencing – may force an unintended plan B. He writes: “The […]

  36. Pickles v Spelman: "Talking Rubbish" rivals face off | Left Foot Forward

    […] the sake of peaceful relations we advise all cabinet ministers, once again, don’t mention the U-turn. Share | Permalink | Leave a comment Comments > […]

  37. thisisthenorth

    RT @leftfootfwd: Cameron's government has a plan B for everything but the economy //t.co/AWP566t

  38. This government’s growing catalogue of errors | Liberal Conspiracy

    […] The huge number of “u-turns” the government has done suggests a lack of forethought and/or an inability to prepare public […]

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