It is interesting to note Charles Moore’s piece in this Saturday’s Telegraph (03/10/09) where he discusses David Cameron’s ‘pointlessness’. However much a soft-boiled egg Cameron may seem to some at the moment, there is no doubt that the fortitude of Cameron will show over the next decade. His biographers Francis Elliott and James Hanning noted a school contemporary of Cameron’s describing him ‘as the hardest of all’ in the class. This was not a reflection of outward demeanour or crass physical power, but an intimation of a rather more subtle strength. This is force of will and determination, coupled with self-belief. These are qualities so evidently lacking in our current Prime Minister, which the electorate can sense under Brown’s skin.
Whilst Brown let Blair and Mandelson trample all over him in the 1994 Labour Leadership bid, Cameron’s boldness took him to the top of his Party at the age of just 39 years. Politicians can be crudely divided into soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs. Heath was inextricably the soft-boiled egg; self-involved, self-pitying and sybaritic. Another Conservative Politician of similar age, and perhaps greater standing, Enoch Powell was off the hard-boiled type. Powell’s resilience to Europe, brought visible the soft-egg characteristics of Heath. Whilst Powell espoused the laissez-faire economics of the future during the economic turbulence of the 1970s, Heath, for all his skills, locked himself in Downing Street drowning out the discontents with heavy chords from his piano. In the end the piano was far harder to remove from number 10, than the former Prime Minister himself.
Thatcher was different. She was a hard-boiled egg that got so hard that it turned from dairy product to product of metallurgy. She became the ultimate hard-boiled egg. She was more Churchillian than Churchill because she was less self-involved. There is no doubt that the lack of this characteristic makes one more of the hard-boiled specimen. The nature of politics dictates this. If one looks closely at Cameron and Brown, sybarticism is extra-ordinarily deficient in Cameron. In Brown it is on its face. Perhaps, this is what is giving Cameron the edge at present. Of course only time will tell what type of egg David Cameron really is, however Charles Moore is being rather quick to judge. He would not have done so with the dessert wine of Lord Pearson that he was imbuing during his discussion of ‘pointlessness’. Neither should he do so for David Cameron.
The advantages of being a so called member of the ‘political class’, as Moore puts Cameron, disproportionately outweigh the negatives. Some voters are even intuitively drawn towards political elites. It is this very gravity that some members of UKIP seek for from the election of Lord Pearson. Pearson carries weight because he is balanced and not drawn to unnecessary introspection. This much I have learnt from the short-period I have known him.
In the end ‘pointlessness’ will be seen for the incongruent adjective it is, when in front of the name of the Tory leader. This is not necessarily when the election is won, but at present when the majority of the country now seemingly are behind Cameron. Further, no politician, in a representative democracy, is truly pointless. At the very least they reflect an important choice of some voter.
Copyright APG Pandya
Copyright The Birkenhead Society