In another life and under somewhat different circumstances I probably would like David Cameron. After all, he is good-looking, educated and articulate. But as it stands, there is something rather puzzling about him, and consequentially, I don’t fancy him politically. In my estimate, he just seems to be trying too hard to impress, but the question is who? Could it be other world leaders or even the British public?
Well, if we consider the fact that Cameron never really got a convincing mandate from the British populace at the last general election, maybe we would understand his need to constantly impress and therefore, won’t so much as hold it against him.
When Cameron first took up office, like other Conservative party leaders before him, he set out to shake off the “Thatcherite” shackles and prove that he is very much his own man. One such instance, that springs readily to mind, occurred during Cameron’s trip to South Africa, where he openly expressed regret at his party’s foreign policy on apartheid under Margaret Thatcher.
I think Cameron is a bit unlucky in that not only does he feel he has to prove that he is not “Thatcher’s boy,” but he also feels the need to impress to make up for his inability to convincingly win the 2008 election.
Okay, Cameron became prime minister at a time when it may not have been a fashionable job. Although he blamed the state of the UK economy on the recklessness of the last Labour government, but surely he is smart enough to understand that the world at large was in a financial meltdown at the time – and still is – not just Britain. And better still, Britain did not cause the global financial crisis, the US banking crisis did.
Fast-forward to the crisis in the Middle East and we have new-kid-on-the-block, Cameron, strutting around making grand remarks about containing Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and protecting the ordinary Libyan civilians. You almost get the impression that not only is Cameron ready to personally wrestle Gaddafi to the ground before the enforcement of UN resolution 1973, but that he also fancies himself as a wartime leader, possibly following in the footsteps of the great wartime UK prime minister, Winston Churchill.
Now, I really must touch upon Cameron’s doomed tour of the Middle East earlier on in the crisis. What on earth did he think he was doing with a handful of arms dealers in tow? Could we put this faux pas down to inexperience or is it just another instance of Cameron trying too hard to impress? Is that how other arms-producing countries peddle arms? I guess the real bone of contention here is the sheer hypocrisy of selling arms to regimes that one later criticises for attacking their own citizens.
So while Cameron is busy flexing his muscles and milking the occasion for what it is worth, we Brits find ourselves in a war – officially tagged a conflict – which we could really do without. How we are going to fund this war of questionable objects is clear to all: further excruciating public spending cuts and a couple more pre-election policy U-turns.
Cameron must be feeling self-important following his recent hosting of the London talks on Libya and the defection of Libya’s former foreign minister, Moussa Koussa, to the UK. There also is the £650m educational aid he promised to the Pakistani’s during a recent visit to Pakistan. I wonder what strings are attached to this economic aid as it is hard to believe that this is a purely philanthropic gesture.
But let’s wait and see how this eventually pans out for Cameron. On the crisis in the Middle East, he has promised that Libya won’t be another Iraq, and that there will be no deals with Moussa Koussa. Strangely enough, so far, Libya has all the hallmarks of Iraq, with regime change being the notable end game.
Time will tell whether Britain’s involvement in the shifty venture in Libya makes or breaks Cameron’s premiership. Given the manner by which he landed in No.10, some may argue that he has no other option but to project himself in this way, to endear himself to the doubting Thomases among us. I wonder what other world leaders think of his recent escapades? Maybe the end will justify the means. After all, the vulture is a patient bird.
In the interim, maybe Cameron will care to ponder on the following quote of former Philippines president, Corazon Aquino:
“I’ve reached a point in life where it’s no longer necessary to try to impress. If they like me the way I am, that’s good. If they don’t, that’s too bad.”