Wednesday, 9 May 2018

David Cameron and the Rewards of Failure

It is nearly two years since David Cameron resigned as prime minister after losing the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU). This is the man that sowed the seeds of the chaos the country finds itself in today. Cameron resigned, despite calls for him to stay from Remain and Leave supporting ministers in his Cabinet, saying reportedly, “why should I do all the shit work?” The new prime minister, Theresa May has been shovelling it ever since.

Cameron was well known to be lazy, probably the laziest prime minister of modern times, and he appears to have carried this habit through to his post politics career. We still await his memoirs, although without bated breath, for which he bought a garden shed specifically to use as a writing room. It is said that the book will be published later this year, if he gets around to finishing writing it. Reports say he will be paid £1.5 million for his efforts, although other reports say the amount is closer to £800,000.

Cameron also has several other lucrative consultancies and lobbying positions, which amount to very little real work but are rewarded handsomely. According to the BBC he has taken the following roles:

Consultant and chairman of Illumina's international board (announced in February 2018)

Vice-chairman, UK-China Fund (December 2017)

Board member, ONE, a development organisation (December 2017)

Consultant and brand ambassador, First Data Corporation (October 2017)

Member of Global Board of Advisers of the Council in Foreign Relations (May 2017)

Chairman, International Growth Centre's Commission on Growth in Fragile States (March 2017)

President, Alzheimer's Research UK (January 2017)

Chairman, National Citizen Service Patrons (October 2016)

Public speaker, Washington Speakers Bureau (December 2016)

He will be paid £50,000 per hour to make after dinner speeches and is entitled to a £115,000 per year “Public Duties Cost Allowance” to run his private office, from public funds.

Cameron became leader of the Tory party in 2005 and prime minister in 2010, in coalition with the Lib Dems. To impress the Euro-sceptics in the Tory party he promised that Tory MEP’s would leave the European People's Party grouping in the European Parliament. The ploy worked and Cameron won the leadership. He then concluded an agreement to form the Movement for European Reform grouping with Euro-sceptic parties, mainly from eastern Europe.

Short of an overall majority in Parliament in 2010 he formed a coalition government with the Lib Dems and set about introducing austerity policies which cut public spending deeply, with the resultant misery for many of the country’s most vulnerable people. In an effort to keep the Tory party united over the issue of Europe, he promised a referendum on EU membership, which he thought he would never have to hold, because of opposition from coalition partners, the Lib Dems. But Cameron won a surprise majority for the Tories at the 2015 general election, and had to hold the plebiscite in 2016.

This was not a good time to hold such a vote, six years on from the financial crisis and with his austerity policies biting and wages falling or stagnating for most people. Cameron negotiated some minor concessions from the EU, which was meant to be the basis for the UK remaining in the bloc, but were hardly even mentioned during the referendum campaign. The British public voted to leave, and here we are today, in the shit.

Cameron was a complete chancer. Asked about why he had wanted to be prime minister, Cameron replied “because I thought I’d be rather good at it.” Well, he wasn’t, but this reply reveals much about Cameron. He had a sense of entitlement and arrogance commensurate with his upper middle class background. No vision for the country in general, just a public relations exercise of re-branding the Tories, into looking a more modern party.

After screwing the least wealthy, and leaving the country in Brexit chaos, Cameron has scarpered, and is being well rewarded for incompetence when in office. What mugs we are.


  1. Thanks, Mike.

    About the opportunities on offer to ex-PMs, I heard around 1995 that Margaret Thatcher would get around £1m a time on speaking engagements in the Far East.

    I'd say that Cameron's biggest lack was compassion, as demonstrated by my Benefit claimants need firmer safeguards,not tougher sanctions response on Noel Lynch's The Only Green Room blog to a 2007 specch he gave saying that benefit claimants should get 'tougher sanctions'. I later republished my firmer safeguards piece at the Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group blog that I was publishing in 2016, with a preface.

    A 2015 blog post by U Glasgow Law Professor Dr David Webster, Benefit sanctions: Britain's secret penal system goes some distance to outlining the consequences of David Cameron's 'end game' for benefit claimants; a much lengthier and more up-to-date analyses of Department for Work & Pensions benefit sanctions statistics can be found at the Child Poverty Action Group website, as Webster is an adviser to CPAG on such matters. Eg, David Webster's evidence to the Public Accounts Committee, 6 Dec 2016

    Alan Wheatley

  2. By coincidence via posting to my e-mail inbox, I've just received reference to David Cameron's 'spearheading' of changes at the Ministry of Truth since 2011: BBC’s ‘churnalism’ and the government’s [Public Relations] and ‘strategic communications’ crib sheet by Kitty S Jones.

    Alan Wheatley