Former British Prime Minister David Cameron left office after his government’s most abject political failures, having foisted an entirely unnecessary EU Brexit referendum on the British people in June which went badly wrong.
Instead of banishing his right wing critics with a victory in the referendum, Cameron was defeated in a massive upheaval which shows no sign of settling down.
The reality is there was no need for the referendum. Cameron won the election and an overall majority quite handily and didn’t need the Tea Party right. He walked himself into political oblivion without a backward glance.
He has left quite a mess behind. Fundamental questions about the future of the United Kingdom persist as well as fears for the Northern Irish peace process with this new reality.
What was Cameron’s final response to the ignominious defeat? Why, it was to reward every Tom, Dick and Mary on his staff who helped with the benighted idea of the Brexit referendum.
Brexit has destabilized Europe, caused major problems for the European Union, led to as yet unforeseen consequences in Ireland and has not been welcomed by any responsible leader save the mad Rupert Murdoch right wingers with their jingoistic fantasies of “Great” Britain once again.
It was the Dad’s Army voters who swung the Brexit referendum while the millennials were shocked that the cosmopolitan culture and country they lived in, especially around London, could so easily be fractured by the vote.
Now, as it turns out, 48 people in all were rewarded on the Cameron honors list, a compilation of cronies which the London Independent newspaper stated “would have embarrassed a British medieval court.”
Honors fell like confetti on the folks who came up with the disastrous Remain campaign which was defeated by those calling for Britain to leave. Such luminaries as Isabel Spearman, who was Samantha Cameron’s stylist, was made an OBE, as was Thea Rogers, who gave Chancellor George Osborne an image makeover as his chief of staff.
Incredibly, two of Cameron’s government drivers, Sean Storey and Martha Gutierrez Velez, also received honors.
As the Independent noted, “There were peerages for Ed Llewellyn, who was Mr. Cameron’s chief of staff since he became Tory leader in 2005; Gabby Bertin, his former press secretary; Andrew Fraser, the Tory treasurer; Olivia Bloomfield, a former governor of Cheltenham Ladies’ College who raised millions for the Tories; Camilla Cavendish, who headed the Downing Street Policy Unit and Liz Sugg, who was Number 10’s head of operations.”
And so on and on it went until the honors lists numbered in the high forties. Spin merchants and PR persons were especially gratified when showered with peerages and the like. As a former spin doctor himself, Cameron no doubt appreciated their “vital” work.
What the average British person is left with is the stench of us versus them, a form of benign corruption where jobs and honors for the influential boys and girls will always be the law of the land.
It also shows how embedded the class system in Britain is. All of Cameron’s toadies were drawn from the same public school/Oxford or Cambridge elite. With the exception of John Major in modern times, all British leaders have come from that milieu.
What the Cameron “honors list” shows is that nothing has really changed despite a bright lick of paint and new faces during the Cameron era.