Saturday, November 24, 2012

David Cameron: "Marred by personal insensitivity and brusqueness"

In last week's Spectator Lloyd Evans reviewed Simon Hoggart's House of Fun: 20 Glorious Years in Parliament.

He began by saying "Simon Hoggart has spent 20 years going to Westminster to annoy people." But that is surely an underestimate. Hoggart was writing a Westminster gossip column for Punch when I was still at school.

Still, Evans finished his review by offering, via Hoggart, a telling vignette of our prime minister:
There's a fascinating snapshot of the 38-year-old David Cameron during the 2005 election campaign. The young MP for Witney had been sent on a day-trip to Dartmoor to support Stanley Johnson's bid to seize a rural seat from the Lib Dems. 
Hoggart immediately recognises Cameron's ability. "He looks and behaves like a junior minister, and already talks the talk. Cameron condemned Labour's propaganda - 'Don't let the Tories in by the back door' - with a characteristic touch of asperity: "After eight years that's pathetic!" 
When Johnson's agent suggests that they canvass votes in a hair salon, Cameron declines. "I fight shy of hair-dryers. Hair-dryers and banks. You should never disturb people when they're with their hair or their money." 
He's in a hurry to get away, and after racing around a few dreary shops, he grabs Johnson by the arm. "Stanley, that was huge!" he says, and he disappears. 
Hoggart captures all the Prime Minister's traits - already present in this vignette, if in a vague and undeveloped form. The ebullience, the quick wit and the political intelligence, marred by personal insensitivity and brusqueness. Cameron to a tee.

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