It’s not easy feeling sorry for Call Me Dave, and even less so for his sidekick George Osborne: the air of smug “born to it” superiority, the High Tory cynicism and barely concealed contempt for the hoi polloi all grate enormously. That said, it is perfectly clear that Cameron has done nothing wrong in his tax arrangements. He didn’t even set up the tax schemes revealed in the “Panama Papers” himself, he merely profited from them. The resulting clamour for all politicians to publish their tax returns are themselves unappetising and a turn for the worst, and as Kathy Gyngell remarked in these pages, will help to drive decent people from public life.
Dave and Co are now suffering from Gordon Brown’s “seven year itch”, the brooding Scot’s belief that politicians have a mere seven years in the limelight before the people start to get bored and want a change: from that point on, they can do nothing right and, as Peter Oborne observed in the Mail, it’s all down hill from there. It’s not fair, of course, but a political class that treats the electorate with such ocean-going disdain can hardly complain when that same electorate lives down to its expectations.
All of which could have very interesting implications for the forthcoming EU referendum. To date, Dave has been an asset to the Remain side. Despite his fatuous non-negotiation, hitherto he retained an air of smooth style and natural authority that would strongly influence the undecided. Having collectively decided they are simply bored of him, those same fickle voters will be sorely tempted to give him a kicking come June 23rd.
Cameron and the Tory Remainers are now in a deeply vunerable position: with the referendum almost neck and neck, a decisive intervention now could swing it. If Jeremy Corbyn had any political acumen he would now switch to back the Leave campaign, using the US-EU trade negotiations as his excuse for a volte face. Running on a “Save the NHS” platform would endear him to the Labour faithful, confound his Blairite enemies within the party and galvanise his hard left supporters. If he carried the day, posh Dave – a Tory enemy from central casting – would be gone and Corbyn’s credibility in the Labour Party greatly enhanced.
I’m sure Wolfie Smith et al are keen readers of The Conservative Woman, so, comrades, why not put the idea to Jeremy when you next see him?
C’mon Jezza, skewer Dave.
(Image: Garry Knight)