He was the future once. But as Enoch Powell said, all political careers end in failure.
David Cameron’s last PMQ’s shows perhaps why we should not despair about the political future. Yes it was the last time he would be standing at the despatch box, trying not to give anything away, yes there was an end of term feeling about the whole proceedings. But, with even Jeremy Corbyn cracking jokes and clapping and standing ovations, you have to admit, the House of Commons does do resignations rather well.
So Cameron has gone. And we now have May.
And it was all done or rather choreographed with typical British aplomb. The cars smoothly carrying their respective ex PM and new PM to an audience with our unelected head of state. She of course has seen it all and more besides. Then for one the political back water of the back benches and for the other the caldron of Downing Street.
The longer view of historical perspective will judge Cameron’s legacy.
For the moment he will be remembered as the man who caused us to leave Europe, not because he was anti european, but because he did not have the balls to take on the Tory right and euro sceptic wing.
As he demonstrated this lunchtime in the House of Commons, things could have been different he has the necessary personality to have scripted a different outcome.
He could have changed the face of British politics, forged a consensus of the centre that could have re-shaped education, health, welfare and social reform for the next two decades and made this country a softer gentler place.
He showed signs with his insistence on maintaining the level of overseas aid and by forcing through ‘Gay’ marriage. Yet he clung to the traditional Tory support for fox hunting and allowed his Secretary of State for the Environment to force through the badger cull despite overwhelming scientific evidence that it would not work. I suspect that the later was not out of any genuine conviction that it was the right thing to do, but to reward the Shires for ‘delivering’ him seats at the last General Election.
And now we have May as PM, and already she has caused a ripple of consternation by appointing Boris Johnson to the Foreign Office. Who ever is i/c of smoothing over gaffs will have their work cut out.
As for her words on the steps of Downing Street, fine words, but I seem to recall Maggie Thatcher quoted St Francis of Assisi;
‘Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope’
Not many would claim that as her political epitaph.
Lets hope that Teresa May can deliver those sentiments she has expressed. She has many pitfalls, a slim majority, the Brexit negotiations, and a right wing that do not get her sentiments and seek a continuance of the Status Quo.
She has a slight window of opportunity, while the Labour party struggles to find a leader and a direction. But Europe still casts a shadow on the feast. It brought John Major low and then down.
The next four years?
For now May is the future, but she is one slip from being history.