There’s been an unmistakable change in the air recently. It’s true that, since the morning of the 24th June 2016, hapless confusion and the ever escalating acrimony of division have reigned supreme, but in recent weeks there’s been a new addition – a disconcerting shift in which a palpable sense of desperation has taken centre stage.
Time is running short on Brexit, the scarcity of which is only trumped by a potentially fatal dearth of solutions. The Prime Minister is faltering, the ruling party is at war with itself and nobody’s entirely sure at which point the apparently confused opposition will get around to landing their coup de grâce, finally bring this wretched omnishambles of a government to its knees. The country is in such a befuddled state of instability you could quite easily mistake our current reality for a biting yet somewhat over the top satire of actual satirical masterpiece The Thick of It – and that’s without even mentioning what is now a criminal investigation into potential subterfuge during the EU referendum campaign.
Yet what of the man who brought this all about? That most generic of Etonians with the face of a varnished ham? Whatever became of the deeply disingenuous psuedo-bloke who gambled in a bid to bring his party together, casually using the stability of the United Kingdom as his stake – and lost?
He scuttled away to hide in his shed of course; in a manner much more befitting a clumsy husband who’s just accidentally smashed his wife’s best crockery than a supposedly dependable Prime Minister.
Cameron’s retreat from politics has been a curious one. Not so much in terms of his resignation. He was the unfortunate face of Remain (“unfortunate” in every imaginable sense) and had effectively staked his premiership on the outcome of the referendum – with defeat damaging his credibility as Prime Minister irrevocably. He had initially indicated that he’d remain active on the Tory backbenches, though that lasted about as long as his support for West Ham.
Since then, he’s become a fairly reclusive figure. Dawdling away the days in his wooden retreat, scribbling down his memoirs in complete seclusion from the chaos his folly had sparked. Public statements from him were rare with actual sightings scarcer still – and when he was eventually spotted by the peons he’d left behind to wallow in the Cameron induced turmoil, the circumstances were often bizarre to the point that you’d think it a narcotics induced hallucination. Almost as if he’d become the political Syd Barrett – only rather than invoking a bittersweet sense of deeply felt nostalgia you were left overwhelmed by the urge to eviscerate his gonads with one swift kick to the crotch.
Though in truth David Cameron was always a politician with an air of the uncanny valley about him. He may have been long since surpassed in the ghoulish automaton stakes by a certain Mrs May, but the surreal, almost ethereal nature of his mannerisms and persona lingers in the darkest recesses of our memory still.
There was always something unconvincing about him, which stretched beyond the seemingly innate mistrust folk generally reserve for the political class. Appearance wise, he looked the part – eerily so. Almost as if Airfix had inexplicably brought out a ‘Tory Politician’ range. He had all the parts you’d expect: the immaculate suits, the slickly coiffed hair, that unremitting, sharp eyed stare which was paradoxically piercing while acting as a veil for the soulless husk that lay just past the sockets. Hell, he even came with your typical Etonian background, rife with Bullingdon Club japery, detailed on the back of the box.
The only thing our poor model politician David lacked was a sincerity simulator, which is perhaps why his attempts at schmoozing the proletariat with his “Call me Dave” routine proved about as successful as Toby Young attempting to pick up women by pretending to be one.
It seems that inbuilt sense of entitlement never truly left Mr Cameron. Not content with wagering the surprisingly important matter of a country’s future to get the Tory Eurosceptics off his back for two weeks, it’s now rumoured that actually, two years after his self imposed exile, he wouldn’t mind a go at being Foreign Secretary – with so much relaxed indifference you’d think he was asking to be the banker in Monopoly.
Perhaps fortunately, the reaction has been universally negative. Turns out there’s not much clamour for Dave to emerge from his shed anytime soon, if indeed ever. There’s simply no nostalgia attached to the legacy of David Cameron, as indelible as his mark on British and indeed European history may have been.
After all – The Black Death also echoes through the annals of history, but that’s not to say anyone’s yearning for a comeback.Follow @grahamlithgow