Saturday 3rd September
It seems that Politicians are truly out of favour. I keep getting Facebook posts ridiculing Politicians (in general and in particular) and considering them as liars and charlatans, worse even than Estate Agents (the viciousness is quite alarming). And I wonder where this hatred has come from? Was it just the expenses scandal, or is there something deeper going on, a disconnect, a feeling that nobody, but especially Politicians, understands them. It is certainly true that Politicians seem incapable of improving the lot of most working people, even Labour with the introduction of the Minimum Wage and Working Family Tax credits, failed to really dent poverty; the gap between the haves and have-nots widens year on year.
Mr. Cameron has shuffled off the scene, maybe rather quicker than he had anticipated. And what will be his legacy? At first he had achieved the near impossible, to return a Conservative (well, a Coalition – but Tory led) Government after the Blair and Brown years. And for a while he seemed successful, grand promises to eliminate the deficit and to get the economy going again, all held together by the clever slogan “We are all in it together”. But it soon became clear that the ‘nasty’ party was as nasty as ever; reducing the higher rate of tax while cutting back on the public sector, a senseless top-down reorganization of the NHS, and tripling of University fees all helped create the impression that Cameron and Osborne (the Eton twins) were only in it for the rich. Then came the hated Bedroom Tax and in the light of a weak economy which failed to really reduce the deficit even more cuts.
Foreign Policy has been a disaster. Like Blair before him Cameron turned out to be an adventurer; he supported the overthrow of Gadhaffi in Libya, with (just like Blair) no plans for how to help the country to democracy afterwards – Libya is now in chaos. He almost took us to war in Syria (and against the wrong enemy too) and of course his European policy has been dreadful. Maybe inspired by Mrs Thatcher he thought he could bully our European partners and achieved almost nothing.
But he will almost certainly be remembered as the gambler; the man who almost lost Scotland and recklessly promised a referendum he thought he would easily win on Europe. He rushed the ‘negotiations’ on a reformed Europe and got practically nothing, then too quickly announced the date of the referendum itself. He then overegged the pudding by shoving project fear down our throats, even resurrecting the possibility of emergency budgets and World Wars; in the end nobody believed him. And he lost. His reputation is now in tatters and his Legacy will be forever as the man who took us out of Europe. But worst of all he has increased that sense of disconnect with the voters, which in the end may have been the main reason people voted to leave Europe. Let us hope that Mrs May will fare better.