The Sketch: What's out there? David Cameron's not taking any chances


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The Independent Online

It's a big shift in the Government's rhetoric, is it? You'd need to have known that first. The "make-up or break-up" speech yesterday might actually have kicked along a bit of history, giving the eurozone some very good advice (how they hate that). If you were only half listening, though, it sounded like anything else the Prime Minister has said this year.

The deficit has been cut by a quarter he said. Did you know? If true, it's amazing. But he gave us the news in the same tone and manner as "fiscal responsibility and monetary activism is the right macroeconomic mix".

"Dardle-ee-ardle d'DEE-dah." It's how he delivers his text from the page. It may be the essay-reading technique he developed at Brasenose. Every clause has its emphasis; every line has a word to be poked at. It's a power-point delivery without the pictures. It's an essay, a series of assertions, a report. It's not a speech that reaches into his audience and appropriates them.

Let's not be too demanding. The Prime Minister may lack grand seriousness – but who doesn't these days? He may not be able to appropriate an audience but who – apart from George Galloway – can?

He talked about travelling into "uncharted territory". Who knows what's out there? Monsters, very probably. Maybe 25 per cent interest rates.

Empty cash machines across southern Europe. Think of the terrorist opportunities! "I have a CLEAR plan to keep Britain SAFE," he said. We shouldn't laugh.

It's just that events are gaining in weight, size and volume and our leaders were built for a life in the beltway – born and bred there, the lot of them. Still, they're all we've got. We voted for them. Maybe we should start trying to treat them with more respect. Uncharted waters, indeed.