How much do you love David Cameron?
If you really love David Cameron then there’s only one thing you can possibly do on Thursday. You must vote Remain to save his skin.
Not that he’s literally going to die, quite. If you vote Leave he won’t shrivel up and turn to dust like Dracula does in sunlight. But Cameron will most certainly experience the metaphorical equivalent: everything he has achieved (such as it is) will become as nought; his life’s ambitions will lie in tatters all around him; he will go down in history as one of politics’s also-rans – not a statesman like Churchill and Thatcher, certainly not a conviction politician like Enoch Powell, but as a bit of a space-wasting time-server like Ted Heath or Gordon Brown or his former bromance partner Nick Clegg.
Do you think this is how David Cameron plans to crown his political career: with a wreath made of bitter ashes, dabbing his eyes in the back of a black official limo, as Margaret Thatcher did when she was finally pushed out of Number 10?
If you do then you clearly have no understanding how viciously competitive this man is; nor indeed how viciously competitive most ambitious politicians are in a zero sum game like politics where there are no consolation prizes for the runners-up.
Cameron plays to win. I could tell you stories (but I won’t). Short of murder or selling his family to slave traders I suspect that there is very little that he would not do in order to achieve his Machiavellian political ends.
And I say this not because I think he’s an especially bad man (by political standards) and certainly not an evil man. Just because I’ve lived long enough and watched enough successful people up close and read Macbeth sufficiently often to see that this is what ambition does to you.
There comes a point – and Cameron has long since passed it – where you say to yourself:
“I am in blood/Stepp’d in so far that should I wade no more/Returning were as tedious as go o’er”.
This is the context in which we need to view Cameron’s behaviour in this EU referendum campaign. In my view it has been ugly, desperate, divisive, despicable. (All the things that Leave’s campaign has so often accused of being: but then, SJWs always project…) In the thirty years or so I that have been following the British political scene I don’t recall seeing any senior politician – not even the arch-fiend Tony Blair himself – conduct himself with quite such blatant disregard for honesty or fairness or the dignity of his office.
And as Cameron has led, so his shabby crew of Remainers have followed. When the ship’s captain fails to set standards, even the most principled officers and crewmen start turning rotten.
Cameron’s emotive plea yesterday outside 10 Downing Street was another case in point. Under referendum purdah rules he’s not supposed to use government property or buildings for campaigning purposes. But what the hell, he’s got a referendum to win and when you’re Cameron and you’ve a referendum to win anything goes: abusing the Civil Service’s traditions of neutrality (aided and abetted by his sinister familiar Sir Jeremy Heywood); shroud-waving over murdered MP Jo Cox (whose pro-mass-migration, hard-left politics Cameron has suddenly decided are the best thing ever); wearing your Prime Minister’s hat and putting on your best “I’m a grown-up you can trust me” voice to assure the nation that if they don’t vote Remain, Third World War will break out, property prices will plummet and the children of tomorrow will cry.
You could almost let him off the hook by saying “Hey but that’s politics”. Except you couldn’t because the Leave camp has consistently showed him up by their example. Michael Gove has been relentlessly polite; Boris Johnson unflaggingly upbeat; Nigel Farage has steadfastly refused to be goaded into becoming the ranting rager the Remainers would so dearly love him to be; Gisela Stuart has been a model of reasoned dignity; Andrea Leadsom has exuded a sort of mumsy commonsense. They want to win this one just as badly as Cameron does, of course they do: yet somehow they’ve managed to campaign throughout without any of that shrill, panicked, needling desperation we’ve seen from the Remainers.
Whichever side wins, no one is going to be under any illusions who the Good Guys in this battle were. And it certainly ain’t the Baddies and the Uglies in Team Remain.
I’ve been loving watching Cameron’s former adviser Steve Hilton, another unlikely Brexit hero, calmly rebutting Remain’s hysterical nonsense and telling it like it is.
It must cut Cameron to the quick – being schooled in this way by an old personal friend, the guy who helped mastermind Project Cameron. But Hilton is speaking out of sadness, not bitterness. Cameron could have amounted to something but he has squandered his opportunity by tying his fortunes so inextricably with those of the unaccountable, anti-democratic, arrogant, bullying EU elite. Even before the referendum, Cameron could have taken the statesmanlike position and declared himself neutral. Instead, he has shamelessly thrown in his lot with the bad guys.
Here is what I wrote before about the quintessential difference between the two men:
Whereas Cameron is in politics because he finds power quite congenial, Hilton is in it because he genuinely wants to make a difference. Despite his hippyish traits – the trainers, shorts, bike and rucksacks; the greenery; the blue-sky thinking – Hilton is at heart a classical liberal who’d probably agree with Ronald Reagan that “government isn’t the solution to the problem – government is the problem.” Hence his growing disenchantment with the Cameron Project as he began to realise it was little more than a cosy clique of public schoolboys with private incomes and no appetite for radical change because, hey, who needs radical when you’re on a ministerial salary with ring-fenced pension rights?
It goes, I think, to the very heart of what this referendum is really about. Forget all that stuff about immigration and regulation and expense and so on, for a moment, important though they are. Why it matters above all is that it’s the last chance most of us are ever going to get in our lifetime to vote for an outcome which is genuinely in the interest of us the people – the demos – rather than that of the increasingly powerful, ever-more-deeply-entrenched elite.
Whether you consider yourself on the political left or the right really doesn’t matter as far as this particular referendum is concerned. I’m proud to be in the company of Labour MPs like Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart and, of lefty rabble rousers like the turbulent priest Giles Fraser because they feel as passionately as we Ukippers and Conservatives do that democracy is all that prevents powerful elites trampling all over us.
At the beginning, I talked about David Cameron and why he’s prepared to win this referendum at almost any cost.
Now here’s the worrying part. This doesn’t just apply to David Cameron. It also applies to:
George Osborne; Christine Lagarde; the 10,000 EU apparatchiks who earn more than the Prime Minister; Goldman Sachs and most of the rest of the finance industry; the Magic Circle law firms; the big corporations which just love all that Euro regulation because it wipes out smaller competitors; all the big left-wing charities, environmental ones like the RSPB and the WWF especially because the EU pays them so much money; corporate lobbyists; SJW activists at Avaaz and 350.org and Change.org; the IMF; George Soros; wealthy landowners – especially those with EU-mandated wind turbines paying them squillions; everyone who works in diversity, compliance, human resources, sustainability, and equality; Nick Clegg; Nick Clegg’s lawyer wife; Liberal Democrats generally; Chris Evans and Jeremy Clarkson; everyone at the Guardian; everyone at the BBC apart from Andrew Neil, probably; and so on.
Make no mistake, we’re up against a bunch of bastards here so determined and unscrupulous they make Ramsay Bolton look like Mary Berry. These guys have EVERYTHING to lose from this – money, power, reputation, five-course lunches with foie gras, lobster, and Chassagne-Montrachet… – and they’ll stop at nothing to prevent us taking away their often ill-gotten privileges which too often the rest of us have to pay for.
What they’ll do to us, if we let them win, will be unspeakable.
So let’s pull ourselves together, give it one last push and make sure that in the most important battle most of us will ever have to fight it’s the good guys who end up triumphant.