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By Mo. Babajide-Alabi
Published in the Sunday Vanguard of July 17, 2016
David Cameron is not a man who misses his steps often. I am sure also he is not one whose tummy is the abode of butterflies. If he was shy at the start of his premiership in 2010, he definitely out grew it. He is a man of confidence, assurance and in control of his emotions.
But Cameron is also human. He is indeed in control but not devoid of emotions. These past weeks, especially after the EU Referendum has revealed the various sides of the young man, David. Since the announcement of the results we have seen a totally different Cameron. This man is sure different from the one we have heard in the past talking tough on immigration, especially from non-EEA countries. We have a totally different Cameron from the one that punched the tables for emphasis anytime he talked about terrorism, especially ISIS and Syria.
On June 24, I saw a Cameron that would not hurt a fly, not one that would call homeless immigrants running away from war zones “swarms”. The Cameron that stepped out on this morning was one who spoke like a gentleman lost in the sea of politics, just like the immigrants from Syria at the mercy of Greek or Italian border officials. This new Cameron portrayed the figure of a Nigerian being questioned on arrival at Heathrow on how he got his legitimate UK visa – confused and disorientated.
The Cameron that came out on June 24 was one who wanted the sympathy he had denied others in desperate situations. The British are not known for frivolities, so not many of his compatriots have much sympathy for him. The king has fallen on his sword and that is the end of story.
Fast forward to last week Wednesday. This gentleman who wielded the mace of authority in British life was a pitiful figure as he walked out onto the fading sun on Downing Street. Everyday for the past five years, Cameron walked out of the doors of number 10 and into a waiting car with a casual wave at the multitude of ever present press men and women.
However on this occasion, it was not the usually confident Cameron that did. With his wife and children in tow, they looked like evicted family looking for the closest address of the Salvation Army or Shelter. It was hard to watch this family walk out onto the waiting cars. For them, this is the reality of the biggest blunder the head of the family, David, made, by endorsing a “needless” referendum that got hijacked by Nigel Farage and the likes.
None of the Camerons could look back and steal a final glance at 10 Downing Street for it would be like a dagger in the chest considering how fast they had to pack their luggage and move out for the next occupant. I can not imagine what would be going on in the minds of the younger Camerons, especially on realising they would be moving to a temporary lodging, owned by a friend of their Dad.
If it was a planned exit, the older Cameron would have made arrangements to evict the tenants in the family home. But the volatility of the British politics gives no room for sympathy. When it is time to “consume”, it does so in a wicked way.
It was as if the British gods were against the continuation of the Cameron Premiership. After his announcement of resignation on the morning of June 24, Cameron set his mind on vacating the seat sometimes in October after the election of a party leader. Three months would be enough for him to enjoy the perks of the office of the Prime Minister. Take for example, three months to travel round the world on the bill of the nation or to grace dinner tables as the outgoing Prime Minister.
But Cameron seem to have angered the gods. They came together and decided something must happen so he would not last the three months in office. Meanwhile the tempo of political activities on all British sides picked up. The Brexiters went into melt down. The Labour Party almost started a civil war, spearheaded by the eagle-eyed Angela, while the United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP) lost its poster leader, Farage.
After this, British politics never remained the same. It is history how Mr. “Talk From Both Sides of the Mouth” Gove removed the carpet from under his gobby friend (Boris Johnson) feet. This act brought Gove’s political career to an end as he lost the trust of his fellow MPs. It was no surprise when the naive Michael was roundly shamed in the Tory leadership contest, thereby leaving the jostling to two serious minded women – Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.
Meanwhile in the Labour camp, Jeremy Corbyn was jumping from one rally to another, insisting that he was elected by majority of labour supporters, therefore a vote of no confidence by the party MPs cannot unseat him. He couldn’t do much as Tim Watson, the deputy played chameleon, while Angela Eagle in her usual tiny voice was igniting the fire, every time she stepped out of her London home.
Corbyn is not helping matters at all, as he seemed confused with marrying his leadership role with his ideological stand. This was his dilemma during the EU referendum campaign, as he cautiously and reluctantly mounted rostrums to support the Remain camp. Fate is dealing him a good hand, though. Despite, the gang up and underhand tactics, he got the decision to put his name on the ballot paper. This knocked out the steam from the rebels, who were praying otherwise. The Eagle has landed but Owen Smith is still keeping his ambition close to his chest.
While Labour members were tearing themselves apart, the two Tory leadership contenders got to work to smear each other’s reputation. The May camp turned Leadsom’s political inexperience into a song to portray her as the wrong choice to lead the nation at this time. This inexperience which was her downfall, played out when she took a bait by a Times journalist and she “spoke out of tune” about May’s childlessness and how blessed she is. Realising her mistake, she attempted to blame the experienced journalist for putting words in her mouth. Aside this, she was also accused of insincerity on her u-turn on UK’s membership of EU. She was once a huge supporter of Britain remaining in the union.
Reading the handwriting of failure on the wall, Leadsom threw in the towel, to the surprise of her supporters and relief from May’s camp. This singular act of hers on Monday was the final nail on the political coffin of Cameron. There was no need for a prolonged leadership contest.
The rest is history as Cameron bowed out of office unexpectedly. His exit ushered in the second female premiership in Britain. Of note is that they are both produced by the Conservative Party. Will May be another Iron Lady? Going by her activities at the Home Office for the past 6 years one can haphazard a guess. If she is not iron, she would be a tough cookie to crack.
Published in the Sunday Vanguard of July 17, 2016