The Legacy of Cameron
There is much writing about the “bad boys of Brexit” – those who fiddled the referendum and spread the lies. But we have to remember the man who enabled the referendum and the resulting mess.
The man was so centred on solving his internal party problem (and convinced that he was the man to square the circle) that he just arrogantly presumed that we would all line up behind him and his friend Gideon and vote Remain.
Unfortunately he did not realise that after 5 years of austerity he and his mate were heartily loathed by:
- Labour – because he was Conservative
- Nationalists – because he was a Unionist
- Liberals – because he and Gideon had done them over (even though they should recognise that they were lambs to the slaughter)
- Euro-septic Conservatives – because they considered him a Europhile
- Europhile Conservatives – because they could not quite put their finger on what they did not quite trust about him
The fact that he had won an electoral majority (not due to “popular” majority support, but due to the quirks of the electoral system and stuffing the Liberals) further blinded him. It made him over-estimate his powers of persuasion such that he and Gideon practically monopolised the share of voice in the Remain campaign (after all it was to be his “triumph”). Labour, aware that being associated with the Tories in the Scottish Referendum campaign had hurt them electorally, hesitated to join this Dave and Gideon bandwagon and the ship was lost.
So Cameron departed the scene and is unlikely to show his face again – he may realise what a comprehensive mess he has made; instead of uniting his party he has split the country (possibly terminally). In some respects he was like Tony Blair; his party, after so many years in the wilderness and after so many failed leaders, believing in him almost as much as he believed in himself, initially fell in line. But cultists make mistakes because they believe that they are right (e,g, about The Poll Tax, about Iraq, about the Referendum) when the evidence does not support the belief.
In some respects Cameron’s cock-up reinforces our dislike of his ilk – which includes Tony Blair. We think that in throwing our lot in with May, Johnson, Davies and Fox we are avoiding the mistakes of the past. Perhaps we are – but that does not mean we won’t see them make the mistakes of the future.