Mr Frazer Nelson is a very talented journalist. He's going to be up there with Charles Moore, William Rees-Mogg and Boris. This week he wrote an article for the Telegraph that imprinted itself on my consciousness, and which chimed with the general theme of discussion at Thursday's meeting of the Welsh Advisory Board of the European Care Group (which I've chaired for the last two years). We all see this great threatening darkness welling up on the horizon, and thundering towards us, loaded with pain and suffering. David Cameron is going to find that Gordon Brown has emptied the cupboard. The Labour Goverenment has spent all the money - and left massive IOUs behind. Its like waiting for next month's Barclaycard bill, after going on a crazed spending splurge this month.
Frazer Nelson outlines the terrible mission that awaits David Cameron when he accepts Her Majesty's invitation to repair our national finances when the most spendthrift Prime Minister ever to hold power in Britain is finally prised from office. We have become used to the natural cheerfulness and self belief that he carries so casually. Yet, the mission which will be thrust upon him will require other qualities - implacable resolution and ruthlessness. People sometimes ask me what sort of Prime Minister I think David Cameron would be. I've taken to donning a solemn expression, and announcing slowly and precisely that I think he has the personal strength, ruthless will and bravery to cope with the storm to come.
But back to our European Care board meeting. Our business is caring for people in need - of all ages, but particularly those needing residential and nursing care. Most of our 'service users' are elderly, suffering various degrees of frailty and dementia. We know that there is going to be increasing demand for the services we provide. We also know that the capacity of the care sector will decrease as the regulatory authorities remove poor performers and impose new standards (like ending dual occupancy of rooms). Nothing new here. What's new is that the capacity of our nation to pay for this is going to fall - perhaps by 10%, or 20%, or ? I recall the moment when it really hit me. I was listening to Alistair Darling reading out Gordon Brown's budget in April, when he informed us that he planned to still be borrowing £100 billion in five year's time - and that based on unbelievable growth targets. This was fantasy. There are terrifying bills in the post, and the spending splurge is still in full flow. I fear for the elderly, the demented, the disadvantaged children with long term problem who will always need care. These are people with quiet voices. We must all pray that David Cameron has the steel to share the burden and ensure that these quiet voices do not pass unheard. I believe he has.