An article discusses the recent resignation of David Cameron from the House of Common and his legacy, “On June 27, David Cameron issued this statement: “I will continue with my duties as the MP for Witney. It is an enormous privilege to serve the people of West Oxfordshire.” So enormous that he could only bear it for a few more weeks, apparently. He’s off, leaving the Commons and triggering a by-election in Witney: some lucky Tory will soon inherit one of the safest and prettiest seats in the country”.
The article adds “What does this tell us about Mr Cameron? Nothing terribly positive, to be honest. Let’s remember, he fought the EU referendum campaign promising not to quit if he lost, then quit when he lost — but only having clung to office as long as possible and having banned the Civil Service from doing any preparatory work for Brexit, thus making it harder for his successor to actually get on with the job. In between breaking his promise not to resign as PM and breaking his promise not to resign as an MP, the only significant official work he undertook was drawing up an honours list handing an OBE to his wife’s stylist and a knighthood to his press officer. Not exactly the most dignified departure from office, is it? And certainly not one that’s easy to reconcile with many, many statements from Mr Cameron about the sense of duty he owed to his nation, the selfless service he felt obliged to render. In fact, it’s rather more reminiscent of the way Tony Blair took his leave: as soon as he lost power, he left Parliament. For Blair, there was no honour or nobility to be found in Parliament as a mere backbencher. Politics was about one thing: power. If you don’t have it, can’t exercise it, there’s no point doing it. It’s a sentiment that will be familiar to anyone with small children: If you can’t win the game, why play it? In neither Mr Blair nor Mr Cameron is this petulance an attractive or admirable quality: storming off because things are no longer going your way simply isn’t a good look. The similarities continue, too, because in both cases, a hasty and graceless departure was out of keeping with the premiership that went before it”.
The writer, showing his own partisanship and support of Cameron’s only historical legacy, he adds “Cameron made mistakes, including the European errors that ultimately undid him. But he was not, overall, a bad prime minister. In fact, he was often quite a good one. Certainly his reflexes and instincts in times of trouble were sound: when in doubt, he generally did what was sensible, and the nation recognised that. He saw Britain through a financial crisis that could have ended truly badly. There was, despite his occasional intellectual pretensions, no Cameronism, no big idea or school of thought. His best ideas were never driven home with real force, never made permanent parts of our political and national life. That’s why Theresa May saw no reason to pause before trying to sweep away what was actually a fairly successful Cameron education policy and replacing it with the grammar schools he so opposed. He’s has now confirmed he doesn’t care enough about those policies to stay on and fight for them”.
The piece ends “And this is why flouncing out of Parliament in this way is so telling: it speaks to something fundamental about Mr Cameron’s character and his approach to politics: a lack of seriousness, the absence of real commitment. Yes, he wanted the job and yes he put the hours in, to the cost of his family. But he would never die in a ditch for his political beliefs, never shed blood and move mountains to hammer home his arguments. It was always enough to get by, to do just enough to get the top grade and do better than the rest. Blessed with charm, a cool head and a good mind, Mr Cameron’s just-good-enough performance was, in fact, pretty good, and probably better than any of the others who might have done his job at the time”.
He concludes “Yet that lack of commitment, the sense that he never anything more than a gentleman amateur trying his hand at governing out of a combination of duty, boredom and vanity will stay with him when the histories are written. He won’t care, of course. He goes from here to start a very nice, very comfortable life, enjoying his family and wealth beyond most of our dreams. That will be enough for David Cameron. And if you or I happen to think less of him for the manner his departure, why should he mind? Who are we to judge him? The end of his political career shows just how little he really cares about what the little people think of him”.