The sordid story involving David Cameron

As I write, the Palace of Westminster will be full of gossip and poisonous intrigue — from Tories and Labour MPs alike — as to David Cameron’s attempts yesterday at absolution from any connection with Blairmore Holdings, the tax-dodging firm, his father set up and which is still operational.

Cameron was ultra-careful yesterday in using the present tense when saying he was receiving no income from the firm. He didn’t say whether he’s been receiving income in the past or whether his children will not benefit from the firm in future years.

Strictly speaking, Cameron has done nothing illegal. It’s just that he might have been less than frank on a subject which has now become a red-hot issue in modern politics in all advanced countries, particularly since the 2008 crisis. This was also the case of Sigmundur Gunnslaugson, the prime minister of Iceland who also had broken no law but had been less than frank about his connection with Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm of, now, dubious legality.

Mr Gunnslaugson felt he had to resign. Perhaps David Cameron might have to do so — that is, long before he’d ever intended to. It’s a fascinating, though sordid, story that will keep London’s journalists busy all day

Why has there been the rush?

Why has there been such an untimely rush for David Cameron to have insisted on some sort of verdict from the 28 Prime/Foreign EU Ministers yesterday?  Until three months ago, Britain’s referendum was going to be held in the Autumn of 2017.  It’s now going to be June this year.

The answer is that Cameron wants to retire.  He’s argued to himself — quite rightly — that the longer we wait for a referendum the more likely it will be that it will turn against prolonging membership of the EU.  The sooner it’s held, the more likely that Cameron can retire with a success behind him.

Can’t you pipe down a little bit, Cameron?

Can’t you pipe down a little bit, Cameron, instead of piping up sycophantically every time Obama opens his mouth?  Obama, his generals, and your generals have not been doing terribly well against al-Bagdhadi so far in Syria — and very slip-shoddily in Iraq — that you can’t wait to criticise Putin now that he appears to be hitting Isil quite hard.

Putin is not everybody’s favourite dictator but his present strategy of bombing with full liaison with Iranian-led Iraqi Shias seems to have done more in the last fortnight than in all of your past two years. Give him another month or two before you pass comment.

But Cameron is not a nasty man

The unauthorized biography of David Cameron by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott, Call me Dave, is one of the two big news items this morning in this country.  It’s being serialised in the Daily Mail, which is about halfway house in the gutter press league. As one might expect, the first instalment yesterday tells us that Cameron was a typical silly young rich man’s son while at Oxford University — perhaps more imaginative in sexual larks among his pals than most — one apparently involving a pig (a dead one it must be said) — but little more than that.

One has seen plenty of our Prime Minister on television in the last few years to be able to come to a fairly accurate idea of him.  He’s not, one might say, statesman material, but he’s exceptionally good at public relations — the front man for the political Svengali behind the scene, George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.  One thing Cameron isn’t is nasty.  That must be reserved for Lord Ashcroft, one of the authors of the book, who is piqued that he was not offered a senior ministerial job in exchange for donating huge sums to the Tory party.  As for Isabel Oakeshott, beautiful and beautifully articulate though she is will, I think, come to regret taking part in this unnecessary book.  There’ll be other unauthorized biographies coming along in due course which historians in the future will pay much more attention to.