Sadly, for Mr Cameron, that achievement in reducing government communications budgets will not resonate with the public when all they will see is £34,000 being paid for a personal photographer for the PM. The infamous husky photo-op trip to Norway in 2006 damaged his standing with the public and this row may well remind people of that. Labour will no doubt try and get the 'David Cameron obsessed with photo-ops' narrative going again. It might well work, as lazy Lobby journalists like nothing more than an easy to apply, all encompassing, narrative: think Tony Blair and 'spin'.
There is one point of substance on this however. When George Osborne set out the framework for last month's spending review, one requirement was to:
- Require departments to submit their initial plans...and demonstrate that they meet a tough new set of criteria to deliver value for money. The criteria cover questions such as: is the activity being funded essential to the Government’s priorities, does the Government need to fund the activity, and can it be provided more efficiently?