Britain Moves Right, CBS Sees Cameron as Just Another Liberal

Elizabeth Palmer, CBS On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Elizabeth Palmer reported on Conservative Party leader David Cameron becoming the new British prime minister, but downplayed the political shift: "Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state."

While in American conservative terms Cameron would certainly be considered a moderate, for Britain, the swing from 13 years of rule by the liberal Labour Party to a Conservative becoming head of state was quite significant.

Palmer cited more evidence of Cameron's supposed liberalism: "In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy." A clip was played of Cameron declaring: "One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?" Calling on people to not simply rely on government entitlements hardly sounds like a liberal tenet.  

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the Early Show fretted over President Obama's Supreme Court pick, Elena Kagan, not being liberal enough and possibly even conservative.

Palmer concluded her Wednesday report by noting: "President Barack Obama was the first foreign leader to call with congratulations and an invitation to visit Washington in July." She made no mention of Obama's strained relationship with Britain since taking office.

Here is a full transcript of the report:
7:11AM

BETTY NGUYEN: Britain's new prime minister is getting down to business today. David Cameron is the first prime minister from the Conservative Party in 13 years. CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer is in London with the latest. Good morning, Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH PALMER: Good morning, Betty. The British election was actually last Thursday. But the Conservatives didn't manage to win an outright majority then. So we've had a five-day political cliffhanger. Horse trading and back room dealing that finally, late last night, produced the first coalition government in Britain since the Second World War.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Strange Political Bedfellows; First Day of Britain's New Coalition Government]

Britain's new coalition partners shook hands this morning outside number 10 Downing Street. 43-year-old Conservative David Cameron is the youngest prime minister in 200 years. His deputy is Nick Clegg, from the Liberal Democratic Party. David Cameron, with his wife Samantha, paid the traditional visit to Queen Elizabeth last night, and accepted her invitation to form a government. Cameron is a conservative in the British sense. In favor of gay rights, a green agenda, and the welfare state. In fact, in his victory speech, addressing the huge challenges facing debt-ridden Britain, he even paraphrased John F. Kennedy.

DAVID CAMERON: One where we don't just ask, what are my entitlements? But what are my responsibilities? When we don't ask where, what am I just owed, but more, what can I give?

PALMER: President Barack Obama was the first foreign leader to call with congratulations and an invitation to visit Washington in July. Now, that's five months down the road and they're likely to be five – I beg your pardon, that's a couple months down the road. Likely to be very rough months, because Britain's facing enormous debt problems, and the government's already said it's going to cut billions from public spending in the next few months. Betty.

NGUYEN: CBS's Elizabeth Palmer in London. Thank you.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC