Will the real David Cameron please stand up? This is a question that is troubling an increasing number of supporters of the Conservative Party; it’s a question that troubles me. Actually I begin to think that there is a more fundamental problem here, a major philosophical fallacy. The question rather assumes there is a real David Cameron.
I personally can think of at least half a dozen Camerons, each one as genuine or as phoney as the other. There is simply no core or substance here, nothing. Cameron might very well be the creation of some intelligence agency or other, the human centre of a new Operation Mincemeat, the Prime Minister who never was, washed up on the shores of this country.
I voted Conservative in the last general election; I expected a Conservative victory. After all, a dead dog, I reasoned, could surely beat Gordon Brown, a worthless Prime Minister, Mister Super Gaff, heading the most incompetent, most profligate administration in British history. But Cameron was no dead dog: he didn’t win; he had to enter into a shabby compromise deal with the Liberal Democrats, the Brokeback Coalition.
At the time I buried all doubts because at least we had a Conservative in Number Ten after so many depressing New Labour Years. We were deceived; I was deceived. I have no idea what Cameron is politically – does anyone? – but I know what he is not; he is not a conservative and he is not a Conservative.
He is, if you like, the Post-Thatcher Stress Prime Minister, the man who attempted to ‘detoxify’ the brand, to make the ‘nasty party’ the cuddly party for all seasons, left right, left right, whatever way the wind blows; no substance, no principles, nothing that could in any way be described as a ‘philosophy’ beyond a sort of bland Blairism.
Oh, but there is a philosophy, if you can describe it as that, previously embraced by Cameron Man on the way to the Big Society. The guru here is one Philip Blond, the so-called ‘Red Tory’ who heads a think tank called ResPublica. Mr Blond, a sartorial and political disaster area, is a sort of Trot of the right, full of big ideas that are really quite pathetic in their littleness. I wrote about Blond ambition months before the election of 2010, concluding that;
Power brings its own demands, its own responsibilities. It’s best to be practical about these matters, not to be caught in a snare of tiresome ideas and empty programmes. Red Toryism is no Toryism. It’s the politics of the circus, the thinking of the second rate. Be pragmatic, be realistic are the two guiding ideas David should take into government. All else will follow.
But Cameron in government was neither pragmatic nor realistic; Cameron in government is even blander than Blond. In a way he and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, are the perfect match. I get to the point where I simply can’t tell the difference between these two identikit politicians; the one seems to blend effortlessly into the other. The odd thing is that after two years in power, with things going from worse to worse still, people by and large don’t hate Cameron; they are indifferent to him. For a major politician is there anything worse?
Then there is Boris Johnson, one of my heroes. What price Boris? It’s the same question that was once asked of Churchill, a question that’s increasingly beginning to demand an answer. Apparently the Cameron camp are so worried by the Irresistible Rise of Big Boris that a whispering campaign is underway – “If the answer is Boris, it’s some question”, the theme goes. Yes it is some question, and it’s simply stated – David Cameron?
There are only two things wrong with this hapless man: everything he says and everything he does. Take his absurd A-List of potential Members of Parliament, people who were parachuted into constituencies no matter what the local feelings were, forms of patronage that were all part of Cameron’s modernisation project, the bland for the bland.
Commenting on the recent resignation of Louise Mensch, the MP for
Corby, Charles Moore in the Spectator points out the dangers of this Whiggish approach to political patronage. There was no need for this silly woman to write a ‘letter of resignation’ to the Prime Minister. She is not in government and thus the resignation is purely a matter between her and her local constituency party. The ‘resignation’ was born of pique, no more. She clearly expected a share of the glittering prizes, largesse from her patron. Being an MP is simply not enough. Other such resignations may follow as the A-list slips down the alphabet.
Cameron is not enough; he will never be enough. He is too self-conscious, absurdly afraid to be seen in tails in case he is branded a ‘toff’; absurdly afraid of embracing a right-wing idea in case he is branded a Tory rather than his preferred designation as the heir to Blair.
There are so many things that ordinary voters expected of this government, solutions for the big issues of the day, whether it be a reduction of Labour’s massive public debt, the general state of the economy, the growing intrusiveness of the European Union and the problem of mass immigration. What did we get beyond Osborne’s disastrous budget? Why, burning issues like gay marriage and House of Lords reform, the sort of thing that keeps ordinary people awake into the night.
Here, let me give you a few wise words;
Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and the mainstream. We have failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong. We have even tolerated these segregated communities behaving in ways that run counter to our values.
Who said that, do you think? Was it Aiden Burley, perhaps, an amplification of his recent and wholly justified criticism of the ghastly Olympic opening spectacle? No, it was Cameron, speaking in
Munich in February 2111, though one would never guess, as he joined with John Prescott and the other mob in rubbishing Burley’s heterodoxy.
Cameron, Mr Two Face, Janus-like looking both ways, except two faces and two directions is not nearly enough for this man, who looks all ways and none, who does not know if he is coming, going, or at some point in between,. He is not a bad Prime Minister like Blair and Brown; he does not even have that merit. He is, rather, the Nothing Prime Minister, the vacuum at the centre of British government, the vacuum at the centre of the Tory Party.
Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away
When I came home last night at three
The man was waiting there for me
But when I looked around the hall
I couldn’t see him there at all!
Go away, go away, don’t you come back any more!
Go away, go away, and please don’t slam the door
Last night I saw upon the stair
A little man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away