Given that I’ll be on holiday when the referendum result is declared. And given that the likely result is going to be a close stay or leave, meaning Cameron may well be facing a leadership challenge in either event. So he might be gone by the end of the month. So I thought it would be worthwhile writing Cameron’s political obituary in advance.
Now I expect his biographers will try to play up the positives…………..I’m trying to think of something……..plus he held three referendum’s allowing the big democratic questions of the day to be tackled. Well actually no!
Yes there have been 3 referendum’s in the 6 years of Cameron’s reign but in all three he campaigned against them. While we do hold a lot more referendum’s in Ireland or the rest of Europe, its virtually unheard of for a Prime Minster to put a question before the people and then campaign against it. Most PM’s would sooner pull out their own teeth than do that.
Quite apart from the obvious contradiction of the people voting for you’re policies, and then you turn around and tell them they’re silly and those ideas are just madness. There is also the fact that a PM who loses such a referendum will almost certainly have to resign shortly thereafter. Hence, most PM’s in other countries would sooner fight an election or an internal leadership challenge than put up with that.
The fact is Cameron was forced into these referendums on all three occasions by pressure from others. One has to therefore conclude he is a weak leader.
Let us contrast his position with that of past PM’s. Let us imagine for example, if back in the Thatcher era, newspapers printed a story of how several backbench MP’s were planning to ambush the PM on Europe. What would have happened? I’m guessing the freshly removed balls of said MP’s would be delivered to said newspaper’s HQ the following morning. Thatcher (who was far more eurosceptic than Cameron) simply won’t tolerate that sort of descent.
Even John Major was made of tougher stuff. When his MP’s tried to rebel over Europe he actually resigned, forcing a leadership battle and left them with the stark choice of “put up or shut up”. The fact is that Cameron is probably one of the weakest and most insecure leaders the UK has had in years.
And of course this referendum and its all to predictable outcome is yet another sign of what we must associate with Cameron – incompetence. As I discussed before, this referendum was a bad idea from the start. Cameron should instead have grown a pair and stood up to his MP’s.
Even the timing of this referendum is questionable. Why is he holding it in June when most of the young people are on holiday and students aren’t at their term time addresses? And he is aware that there’s this little thing called a football tournament on at the same time? (problem with toff’s is they’re all rugby fans!) The SNP held their referendum in September in order to help maximise turnout. And they also made sure to make it as mutually inclusive as possible (i.e. not excluding millions of British expats and EU citizens), as the SNP were gambling that a large turn out increased their chances.
Instead, Cameron has stacked the deck in favour of Brexit, by ensuring millions who would be expected to vote stay won’t get the chance. Now he’s panicking and the stay camp are running around with their hair on fire, trying to arrange last minute voter registration drives.
And the Scottish referendum could have gone badly for the Tories as well. The SNP set a cunning trap for the Cameron. They knew the majority wanted more devolved powers, not independence, but also knew putting that on the ballot paper would dilute the vote for independence. So they left it up to Cameron , who promptly put his foot in it, forcing a last minute intervention by Gordon Brown (of all people) to rescue the situation.
And like I said, this is typical of government under Cameron. In the first few weeks of their reign, there was talk of a possible strike by petrol tanker drivers. Rather than staying out of it and downplaying media scaremongering, instead some of his MP’s went out and tried to stir things up, salivating that this would be their “Thatcher moment” show down with the unions. One MP suggested that people should have a few Jerry cans stashed away in the garage, ignoring the fact that most people don’t have garages, don’t have Jerry cans and Health & Safety would have concerns about the storing of 50+ litres of fuel in a domestic property. In essence they caused panic buying, even though the strike never happened as management and the unions were able to reach an agreement.
Then there was the crisis at passport control, where Osborne cut the budget of the UKBA, Cameron caved into pressure from the xenophobics who wanted every passport of everyone coming in checked, and suddenly there were massive queues without enough staff. Or they started restricting student visas, then noticed a drop off in foreign students and asked the uni’s what the problem was (let’s see, you!). Or the debacle of hiring G4S to handle security at the Olympics, advising them to skip on wages, ignored warnings against this, only for the army to have to be drafted in at the last minute.
Or there was the time Cameron wrote to his local council complaining about cuts to local public services. They wrote back saying they’d love to oblige but some dickhead in London kept cutting their budget. Quite simply put, the Cameron government seems to have a routine whereby, the will propose some policy, ignore all the expert advice against it, implement it anyway, then go running around in a panic when it blows up in their faces. I can only assume that as a wealthy toff, he and his millionaire cabinet are used to simply giving an instruction to an underling who skulks away and carries it out, without question.
Which brings us to the next phrase we’d associate with Cameron, out of touch. He is clearly a person who does not live in the same world as the rest of Britain. Hence why he saw nothing wrong with putting a tax on pasties and pork pies. He then had to think very hard of the last time he’d had one (likely served on a silver tray which he ate with a knife and fork). He had to pretend to support Aston Villa (or was it West Ham? I can’t remember, nor can he!). He and Osborne have had to spend so long going around on site visits to factories, we’re left wondering if hi-vis vest and hard hat is now the expected attire for a PM.
I think it was the first question from Jeremy Paxman to Cameron, prior to the election that epitomised his government. He was asked if he knew how many food banks were in the country and how many their were before he came to power. One quickly got the impression this simply didn’t register. He does not care, he and the Chipping Norton/Bullingdon boy set he mingles with are so far removed from such things as food banks you’d be as well off asking him about tribes in the Amazon.
Again, yes we’ve had posh Prime Minsters before, but you have to say its been a long time since somebody has come to power who is so out of touch, so divorced from the ordinary working people of the country.
And it is his efforts to serve the needs of his social class that brings us to the last word we must associate with Cameron – dodgy. There is a certain hypocrisy to him calling Nigerians “very corrupt” when his own father was fiddling with bearer bonds in offshore bank accounts. And contrary to his claims about cracking down on tax avoidance, he has intervened to limit or block legislation that would crack down on tax havens.
Cameron and Osborne’s big idea has been to gut the public services, while giving tax cuts to the wealthy. Now his supporters would say, but wait we’ve only give a one cut in the form of the scrapping of the 50p tax rate. Yes, but flying under the radar are a long list of further stealth tax cuts and stealthy tax rises that benefit the better off. For example, they “streamlined” car tax, the end result has been that a Porsche or Jag is now in the same tax band as a Prius or transit van. His version of “help to buy” is essentially a mechanism to pump up the value of landlord’s property portfolios.
And speaking of property, there’s the fact he’s been claiming a mortgage on his Oxford home on public expenses. Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t he live in 10 Downing street? Cos if not I know a few people looking for a place to rent! Or does he only use Downing Street to entertain wealthy donors?
So all in all we have to say, if Cameron does go on the 24th of June, good riddance to dodgy Dave a incompetent, out of touch and weak Prime Minster.