Listening to his speeches in India, I think I have finally come to understand where Mr Cameron is coming from. He is a clever man, or so his University pals tell us, and he is usually well up for a bit of mental agility when questioned on the radio…he is very Oxford Debating Society and I bet he was terrific in those undergraduate, champagne fuelled, political debates up in his college rooms.
How nice to see the British Prime Minister, David Cameron flying the British flag in India. Nice is the word of course when talking about Mr Cameron. I suspect you would have to be very cynical indeed not to agree that he is probably a regular bloke, a nice guy who really thinks he is doing his best. I suspect that he also thinks that HIS best is THE best too but then that’s politicians for you.
The essence of that kind of mind is a combination of quickness and immediate articulation – David Cameron’s undoubted skill but he also uses this excellent brain from a luxuriously untroubled space created by his moneyed and leisured background. The “World” for David Cameron is “them” rather than “us” and “they” are much easier to pigeon-hole that “we” are. So he can read in the papers about a deranged man who has just shot his ex-girlfriend, killed her new boyfriend and injured a policeman and what does David do? He stands up in Parliament and calls the man, who had recently committed suicide whilst surrounded by an army of policemen, a “monster.” You can hear him saying the same thing over the top of his newspaper to his lovely wife Sam whilst they eat their breakfast in perfect domestic harmony. The trouble is that Raoul Moat wasn’t a monster – monsters are creatures from boys’ magazines and horror films, Mr Moat was a dangerously troubled and disturbed man who lost control with tragic consequences. Mr Cameron will do his country no favours if he spends his time looking for monsters – he should be looking for realities not easy cliches.
That, I fear, is not David Cameron’s way. He has an idea, oh that’s a good one he thinks, and then off a runs with it. Politics is good fun after-all and if it did all go pear-shaped, then he has plenty of others things he could be getting on with. Oh, here comes another good idea. Let’s leave the “Big Society” for a bit, we have heard too much about that already, no he’s had plenty more good ideas like We need to get on with those Indian chappies now that they are rich. Did you know, Sam, that they are now richer than we are? I think we should go over there and sort out some trade deals. So off he went but India doesn’t seem to have jumped to attention quite as he expected. The visit, a delegation of 39 business leaders and assorted politicians and civil servants, is in history graduate, Mr Cameron’s words the “largest delegation in recent memory” but it doesn’t seem to have caused much of a stir. It has not made it onto the front pages of the Indian newspapers and, sadly, when a BBC reporter tried to test how many people recognised the British Prime Minister by flashing a photograph of our leader with football legend David Beckham, it was the “golden balled” David that was instantly identified whilst the other man drew a blank. I don’t know why they are not jumping up to sign trade deals everywhere we go, he must think. After-all they are a rapidly growing economy and I want to do a deal with them.
His caution in saying “in recent memory” of course goes back to his previous historical blunder when he told President Obama that Britain has been America’s junior partner since 1940 – a claim that angered many people in Britain who remembered that in 1940, Britain and its then empire (including India of course) was standing alone against the full force of Hitler’s aggression when America was still a neutral nation. Silly me, he thought afterwards plugging in that quick brain again, I meant to say “the 1940s.” He was not there to rubbish British history though, he was in America to show that Britain is America’s special friend – the trouble was that America only wanted to talk about the release of the Lockerbie bomber and the BP catastrophe. Well, junior partners often have a difficult time of it and David looked quite grumpy when he found out that politics gets really annoying when it starts to sound like a two-way affair.
Let us hope that he knew what he was doing then when he made that speech in Bangalore yesterday berating Pakistan for “exporting terrorism.” Well, he had read those newspaper headlines about the leaked reports from that irresponsible on-line organisation WikiLeaks. He may well have been told to get tough on Pakistan by his senior partner at the White House too but diplomacy went out of the window. India may well pay attention to his visit after-all now. There is nothing that India likes more than hearing World leaders rubbishing their, fellow nuclear-armed neighbour, Pakistan. Maybe, he thought, Pakistan doesn’t matter any more after he let the Taleban know, that he is planning to get British troops out of Afghanistan before the next British general election. These chaps just don’t get it, Sam, he says and, you know, I really think he means it.
David Cameron is, I repeat, a really nice guy but can someone please show him what it is like out here in the real world.