Young Dave is preparing to leave Downing Street for the last time, with his next move probably to accompany wife Samantha - by EasyJet - to “Chillax” somewhere in southern Europe while he can still do so without lengthy passport queues. He will look relaxed. He and Sam may go to a fish market and point enthusiastically at the produce on offer. And he will be safe in the knowledge that there is no pressure on him to hurry back.
JOLLY POOR SHEOW!
But what will others - his opponents, the voters, the mainland European leaders, world leaders, businessmen, bankers, diplomats - make of the Cameron premiership? Owen Jones has described it as “the most disastrous … since Neville Chamberlain”, but there was little that Chamberlain could do other than buy time for rearmament in the face of Nazi aggression. There was much Cameron could do that he failed to do.
There was no Long Term Economic Plan. The phrase that was wheeled out ad infinitum, and indeed ad nauseam, at PMQs was as empty as it was tedious. The economy was being allowed to recover under Pa Broon and Alistair Darling. Cameron and George Osborne deliberately cut spending, delaying recovery and depressing wages, using the expansion in zero hours contracts and self-employment to claim that unemployment was not rising as some had predicted.
Deficit reduction targets were ditched. Debt increased at unprecedented rates. Normally, increased debt would indicate increased prosperity, but no: it was merely covering for the imposition of austerity. With Sterling therefore vulnerable, the last thing the country needed was the uncertainty of the EU referendum result. Hence the recent devaluation.
Relations with other EU member states were a disaster. Actually flouncing out of a heads of Government meeting in Brussels - for why? As I’ve told previously, Mrs T always remained in the room, always played hardball, always stood her ground, and Britain benefited as a result. Cameron chickened out, and his country suffered.
Foreign policy was equally disastrous. Cameron had the lessons of the 2003 Iraq War to hand before he committed Britain to the Libya adventure. He made not only the same mistakes as Blair, he made them yet more clumsily. We and the French ran away after the removal of Muammar Qadafy and left the Libyans to sort the mess, with the result that the country is now a failed state and an export leader in, er, terrorism.
Scotland policy was also disastrous. The independence referendum that he ceded to then SNP leader Alec Salmond could easily have gone against retaining the Union. After that, it was clear that if a referendum on EU membership concluded with a Leave majority and Scotland voting to Remain, another independence vote would follow, with the certainty of night following day. We are now rapidly approaching that moment of truth.
Northern Ireland could be plunged into instability. With the Six Counties also voting to Remain in the EU referendum, their future as part of the Union is also uncertain. And when Ian Paisley Jr urges all who want an Irish passport to apply for one, confirming at the time that he has already countersigned several such applications, you know there is a problem.
The Bullying Scandal Has Remained Unaddressed. After activist Elliott Johnson took his own life last September, little was done other than to set up an inquiry which was not properly independent, and which some witnesses will not testify before, for fear of intimidation. Cameron has effectively tried to sweep it all under the carpet, pretend it is not really happening. It may cause his party irreparable long term damage.
The expenses scandal has also remained unaddressed. The flagrant overspending in the run-up to last year’s General Election could still result in serious embarrassment for the Tories. But once again, Dave has left it to someone else.
The EU referendum has produced an ugly aftermath. Increased hate crime, terrible economic uncertainty, the prospect of a poorer country being passed on to the next generation, years of turmoil to follow, much of which can be traced to the rotten economic policies of his own Government.
Politics has been coarsened yet further. Cameron’s overbearing, Flashman-like Commons antics and his willingness to smear others using Parliamentary privilege have brought even more dishonour upon his chosen profession. His attempts to smear Sadiq Khan as an extremist sympathiser in the run-up to the London Mayoral election were a disgrace, made worse by his cheerleaders in the right-wing press.
His promise to victims of press misbehaviour has been broken. Dave gave those people his solemn promise that the Leveson recommendations would be implemented. Yet he allowed a compromised Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, to block a key part of the process. It is yet another shameful failure of his tenure in The Top Job.
David Cameron was a PR man before entering politics. He has remained one. There was much glossy presentation, much persuasive talk, but little substance, little attention to detail, and next to nothing as a result when a legacy came to be assessed. He could have achieved so much more. But he did not even get the signature on that piece of paper.
Cameron was worse than Chamberlain. Thank goodness there were more substantial politicians around in the late 30s. They certainly don’t exist nowadays.