Friday, 1 January 2016

Call Me Dave by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott

As a politician but especially as Prime Minister, David Cameron has made little impression on me. He has none of Thatcher's passion nor any of Blair's purpose. He strikes me as being rather limp and lame. Not so much a 'grey man' as John Major was accused of being, more beige. His identity seems well hidden. He appears a political figure, much like Nick Clegg or George Osbourne, who has been defined by another - Tony Blair. Undoubtedly gifted at presentation along with marketing; a talented PR man but without any real political conviction.

I had hoped, having purchased this biography, that even in light of its apparent bias, it might reveal the man behind the smart suits and impeccable English. It doesn't. After ploughing page after page through little more than innuendo where facts are supplanted by some alleged schoolboy type pranks, I mean, shoving a penis into a dead pig's mouth, really? So what? Led Zepplin did worse forty years ago, I found myself muddling through a rather dull life of a rather dull man.
The impression given is of a man, of privileged background, gifted with an ability to convey authority, who desperately sought to enter politics for the sake of entering politics but without passion or purpose. He confesses to having been born with not one but two silver spoons in his mouth, a fact that should not matter but somehow it manages to convey his apparent detachment to the mundanity of everyday life. This is a man who, often with the hand of nepotism thrusting him forward, has gained his position in life. It is as much with others assistance as any gifts he may have been gifted that he is where he is today.
There are one or two events that reveal something behind David Cameron's nebulous front. Firstly his encounter, whilst on a gap year spent travelling through Russia, where he and a friend met two men who may have been members of the KGB who might have been on a recruitment drive. I say may and might as proofs are not forthcoming just a loose logic.
Secondly, the terrible events of his firstborn's horrendous illness and subsequent tragic death. Only someone of shallow heart could not be moved by this episode. I admire the way both David Cameron and his wife Samantha dealt with the situation. I cannot conceive of having to face such a heartbreaking time yet doing such so incredibly well.
When I read anyone's biography I like the 'warts and all' version. It doesn't matter if they be hero or villain to me. The truth matters. There are few warts here and far too few carbuncles.
This book, intended perhaps to hurt or harm as an act of revenge, does nothing but show us an individual who will be as rapidly forgotten as swiftly as he gained prominence. 
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.

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