Useful Notes: David Cameron
I'm trying to make the Star of David here...
Current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David William Donald Cameron (1966 to present), is the first Conservative PM of the 21st century and the youngest since 1812.
His early life saw him attend Eton College (as have many Prime Ministers) and Oxford University (ditto). At the latter he was a member of the Bullingdon Club
, an invite-only students' drinking club renowned for being seriously posh and seriously destructive. After graduating, he was an adviser to Norman Lamont and Michael Howard in the John Major
administration, then worked in public relations.
In 2001, he became MP for Witney (the previous member, Shaun Woodward, had done a rather unpopular thing in rural Oxfordshire and defected to the Labour Party, so ended up being parachuted into another seat).
The 2005 Conservative election defeat saw Cameron run for leader and beat another David, David Davis. He spent nearly five years as Leader of the Opposition, rebuilding the image of a party shattered by three straight electoral defeats, with some policy moves not welcomed by the more traditional branch of the party. He also suffered a family tragedy in 2009, with the death of his 6 year old son Ivan, who had been born severely disabled.
Cameron looked likely to become PM from the start of the recession onwards, but his lead was steadily eroded, mostly by the impression that he was offering nothing but a retread on the divisive policies of Margaret Thatcher
, and a strong performance by Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg
in the first leaders' debates in British electoral history (which didn't lead to the huge gain that his party expected) proved enough to produce a "Hung Parliament". Gordon Brown
resigned when he could not negotiate a Liberal Democrat/Labour coalition. Later that day David successfully made a coalition with the Lib Dems.
Despite the obvious success he achieved in managing to form a government, Cameron has come under criticism for not being able to achieve a more decisive and conclusive victory against a largely unpopular incumbent. Many of his policies have also not been incredibly popular, or have seen a certain amount of criticism or protest; however, much of the criticism seems to have been successfully deflected onto the Lib Dems and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, their leader. It helps that a significant percentage of Lib Dems vote that way precisely because while they may disagree with Labour, they definitely don't
want a Conservative government, and were not incredibly impressed by Clegg getting into bed with Cameron (not literally, although a certain amount of Ho Yay
gone unnoticed). While Cameron and his party might not be the most popular people ever, support for Clegg and the Lib Dems has drastically plummeted as they're increasingly seen to be lapdogs for the Conservatives. As the 2015 election approaches, the biggest danger to Cameron is generally seen not to be Labour — Ed Milliband's leadership of that party often being seen as divisive and ineffectual — but rather the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), which has adopted a much harder-right-wing set of policies and made huge gains in local and European elections, and is seen as being able to potentially split the Conservative vote and allow the election of Labour.
Cameron's generally privileged upbringing has made him a rich source for satire- and class-based attacks on him. Like this
. As has his PR background.
David Cameron contains examples of
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: The 'hug a hoodie' fiasco.
- "Call me Dave" has also been claimed to be this.
- Blue Blood: He's descended from an illegitimate child of King William IV - who, it's worth noting, was far from typical in this in that he shocked society by openly living with his mistress and doting on said illegitimate children.
- Boarding School: He attended Eton.
- Bullying a Dragon: Obama decided to do this when he blamed Britain for the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill at a time when Britain owned thirty nine percent of BP shares and America owned forty. Cameron immediately got onto the phone to Obama and said "You're turning this into a matter of national identity." Let's just say, Obama was a lot nicer to the British after that.
- Possibly "What we need to make absolutely clear is..." which he uses about as often as Tony Blair used "in a very real sense".
- He also really likes starting sentences with "Frankly..."
- He has a fondness for inserting "Pure and simple" into his lines.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Was reportedly responsible for one after throwing a fork at a mouse in Ten Downing Street, annoyed that Larry the cat (Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office) wasn't doing his job.
- Cold War: As a young man the KGB tried to hire him.
- Deadpan Snarker: As good as Thatcher. Here are some of his best one-liners:
- "Too many twits make a twat." - Expressing his views on Twitter.
- "Nick Clegg." - When asked what his favourite joke was. A journalist reminded him of this when the two held a press conference upon the coalition's formation.
- "When I hear the sound of George Osborne, I reach for my revolver." - Interview with Max Hastings.
- "Next he'll be telling us how much he admires Margaret Thatcher." - On Gordon Brown.
- Dewey Defeats Truman: While no newspaper actually announced him as the outright winner of the 2010 election, various editors and columnists admitted that they all expected the "Shy Tory" factornote to carry him to a convincing majority, and were left needing to plug major gaps in the following day's papers when that didn't happen. In fact, Cameron's failure to achieve a majority has often been attributed to the same reason that Thomas Dewey failed to win the 1948 U.S. presidential election, namely assuming that he was guaranteed victory so long as he didn't say anything stupid, which instead just convinced the voting public that he had no real policies.
- Everyone Went to School Together: He and Dominic West were together at uni where they both competed for the affections of the future Mrs. Cameron.
- Also at Eton and Oxford with (though not in the same year as) Boris Johnson. (They were in the Bullingdon Club together: this will be pointed out roughly once every issue of Private Eye)
- Perhaps oddly, the trope has been extended in popular belief to Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who while an Oxford graduate was not there at the same time as Cameron, and is, in his own words, possibly the only man ever unfairly accused of having gone to Eton (in fact it's said that when he was in the Bullingdon Club he was nicknamed "Oik" because we went to the comparatively 'common' public school St. Paul's). It even extends to the rest of the cabinet - though posh, attending public school is not unknown among Labour either, and one Question Time audience member's dismissal of the government on the basis that 'half [of them] went to Eton' is a tad ridiculous.
- Not to mention that, both in terms of Cabinet and Parliament, the percentage of OE and public school alumni has never been lower.
- Follow the Leader: On his election to leader of the Conservative Party, many accused him of simply duplicating Tony Blair's PR-friendly manner (and Cameron himself described himself as the 'heir to Blair'). Private Eye memorably summarised this with a cover also parodying the fact that Cameron became leader the same week as the world's first face transplant - it used the headline for the latter event, but showing Blair and Cameron as the 'before and after' pictures.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: During his debates with Gordon Brown at any rate.
- I Am Very British
- Identical Stranger: Doesn't he look rather like John Steed? Seriously!
- Insult Backfire: The incident in the run-up to the 2010 election (detailed there and on Misaimed Fandom) in which the Labour party's ads inadvertently supplied free propaganda by portraying Cameron as a sexist, politically-incorrect TV character utterly incompatible with the 21st century. Only problem was, the character in question was Ashes to Ashes' Gene Hunt sitting on his Audi Quattro.
- Both parties then got ordered to cease-and-desist by Kudos.
- Ed Miliband later did this again by comparing Cameron to Flashman, apparently not realising the latter's popularity.
- An earlier and lesser example was Labour's "Dave the Chameleon" campaign in 2006. Saying Cameron was a hardcore Tory at heart who only put on the colours of environmentalism or social justice to win votes would have been a reasonably effective message, except they portrayed him as a character that many found adorable or hilarious, and which Cameron's own children apparently loved.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: How else to explain Samantha Cameron's unplanned pregnancy in the run-up to the election?
- Legacy Hero: Often considered to be one of these to Tony Blair, played up by Cameron himself with comments such as 'I am the heir to Blair', especially in the early part of his tenure as opposition leader. Private Eye memorably commemorated his election as opposition leader (which happened in the same week as the world's first face transplant) by using the latter headline above 'before and after' pictures of Blair and Cameron.
- Never Live It Down: Invoked by the Press, who turned it into a minor Running Gag that he keeps losing track of his children in more and more bizarre situations. This was due to the incident in 2012 where he accidentally left his daughter at the pub where they had been dining, only realising after they'd returned home.
- Plus his infamous "porn filter" and Internet censorship in 2013, which more people remember him for than the above!
- No, You: A surprisingly effective use of this trope when he turned the Argentine government's words back on it and referred to the Argentines claim on the Falklands as "colonialism".
- Old Shame: He apparently views his support of Section 28, a homophobic policy introduced by the Thatcher government, to be this. He's since apologised for it.
- He even recorded a video for the It Gets Better Project - a video outreach project for suicidal LGBT teens. While there is debate as to the content of his message and quality of his advice (talking to your parents isn't always the best option for LGBT teens after all) even his critics have acknowledged that having the leader of the most right-wing mainstream party in the UK endorsing the project is worthy of respect.
- In one of the most epic political u-turns in living memory he was the most powerful politician in the UK working to push the legalisation of same-sex marriage through Parliament. Notable in that his stance on the issue was more unequivocal than Barack Obama's!
- Orwellian Editor: Now, David is a young, new, with-it hip-cat so he's all over this new media. Including some of its less savoury aspects.
- When Tory Edward McMillan-Scot defeated controversial far-right MEP Michal Kaminski and Cameron's coalition's official candidate running for Vice President of the European Parliament, a certain person made 25 rapid edits to Wikipedia from an address in the House of Commons.
- When Gordon Brown made a reference to Titian's age at death, David stood up in the House and mocked him for getting it wrong. His actual date of death isn't known and if anyone rushed to Wikipedia to check, hopefully he got there before a certain someone at Conservative Party Headquarters edited it to agree with Cameron.
- The Conservative Party HQ has since been banned from editing the site.
- While insisting that going to a private school had nothing to do with his decision to pack the shadow cabinet with his privileged fellows, their party websites completely omitted all mention of their education. George Osborne was not educated at St. Paul's, just "in London", Jeremy Hunt went to school "in Surrey" specifically Charterhouse, and Cheryl Gilliam describes Cheltenham Ladies' College as "educated at local schools". Fellow Etonian Oliver Letwin edits out his entire youth and the man himself "worked in business and government". But the 15 or so ministers who did got a state school, they describe this in lavish detail.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Caused controversy by calling the UK Independence Party "a bunch of racist fruitcakes" and refused to apologise. Is famous for his rants against Gordon Brown during Prime-Minister's Question Time, at one point telling him "You're not a leader, you're a loser" and also allegedly gave one to Obama over the phone during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
- Incidentally, the first time Obama met him, the president was heard to mutter "What a lightweight".
- Oddly, since then, Obama and Cameron have been reported to get along rather well; their instincts and worldviews have proven to be fairly well aligned.
- Totally Radical
- Upper-Class Twit: Unavoidable satirical representation of him. As the grandson of a baronet and great grandson of King William IV (illegitimate, so he's not in line for the throne). Did we mention he went to Eton, that school you had to be registered at at birth? And Oxford, where he joined the Bullingdon Club? Surely Labour must have mentioned it on a leaflet somewhere.
- Have you been forbidden from liking your favorite bands for missing the point? Cameron has. Repeatedly.
- Verbal Tic: Variations on the word 'clear' or 'clearly' seem to crop up very often in his speech, especially when answering questions in an interview. As one parody had it, "What we need to make clear is how clear we are about how clear we're being, clearly".
- Cameron, like all party leaders, is a regular target for Private Eye, particularly in the comic strip Dave Snooty and his Pals (a spoof of The Beano's Lord Snooty). In the spirit of the Coalition, he shares his text feature, a parody school newsletter, with Nick Clegg.
- Headcases featured Cameron speaking with a distinctively "normal accent" in public and a more "Old Etonian" on in private.
- In the ITV telemovie The Trial of Tony Blair, Cameron's election campaign revolves around his attempts to appear cool and modern by riding a bike to work and trying to hang out with inner-city teens and using what he thinks is their lingo (and failing miserably).
- Steve Bell's long-running cartoon in the Guardian portrayed him as a jellyfish wearing a cycle helmet, and later with an inflated condom for a head.
- In The Bojeffries Saga, an unnamed but recognisable Cameron is murdered via Neck Snap by Ginda Bojeffries during Prime Minister's Question Time.