Wednesday, February 14, 2007

David Cameron - Henry V or Louis XVI?

David Cameron seems to have had more than one go at youthful excess amidst a life of privilege.

It makes me think of Belloc's John Vavassour De Quentin Jones
Like many of the upper class,
He liked the sound of breaking glass
This is certainly the signature tune of the Bullingdon, one of the least savoury of Oxford's dining clubs. Nevertheless, in the greater scheme of things it probably matters little. Indeed, it could be (and often has been) argued that it's far better for a politician to have a past with at least some incident rather than none. After all, Cameron has had no employment except in politics and the media, perhaps the manual labour involved in trashing the odd restaurant has had a salutary effect.

No, I'm being cruel and unfair. The real question with any politician is whether they can bring their experience to bear on the problems of human relations whilst repudiating their own excesses. Can Cameron `Banish plump Jack and banish all the world'?

The alternative that Cameron seems to be (more than) flirting with is to cry `Largesse, largesse' and scatter the wealth of the taxpayer in front of enough of the electorate to guarantee him a speedy succession. Indeed, the signs are not good. Gesture politics of the most brazen sort has so far been the order of the day with roof-mounted wind turbines and cake for all, a trumpeting of the evil of climate change and a refusal to lower taxes.
His absurd posturing on his eponymous webcam is also less than welcome when it comes to serious politics.

Now he may have to confront the serious choice: Hal or Louis. Can he renounce the excesses of his teens and early twenties and the idiocies associated with his attempts to endear himself to the media luvvies and the greens and say with Hal `I will. I do', or will he fall back on a patrician manipulation of the masses?

I very much fear the latter.

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