Bruce Anderson

A summer evening with Cameron

Well, Cameron will now have more time for cooking and for claret: again, let us pray, pro tem

Journalists are chronic exaggerators. Strong words are always being thrown away on trivial events. ‘Whitehall was shocked last night as a bitter new row broke out…’ Translation into truth-speak: ‘There was a certain amount of interest in some quarters of Whitehall yesterday as an exchange of memoranda between the department of string and the ministry of candle-ends revealed…’

Now we truly are in shock and bitterness. Nation divided, party divided, Union in peril, City under threat, entire economy under threat. Europe weakened, the West weakened: Putin delighted, Trump delighted. A great nation has turned itself into a music-hall act for the gratification of domestic and global cretinism. I am sure that some Brexiters are still rejoicing, and as a patriot, I hope that they are right.

The other day, someone referred to me as a veteran commentator. ‘How dare they?’ I thought. ‘I’m only — Yes, I suppose I see what they are on about.’ But in more than 40 years of political obsession, I have never wanted to be proved wrong. To be fair, I do not think that I have been wrong too often. Now, passionately desiring the best outcome for this country, I long to be proved wrong. Yet I do not see how. It is the sovereign people who have got everything catastrophically wrong. I would not be surprised if there is a surge in demand to recall David Cameron, in months rather than years. Not so much ‘Come back, all is forgiven’ as ‘Come back, and forgive us.’

It was in the early summer of 2005 and it seems like the day before yesterday. That is how veterans’ memories compress la recherche du temps perdu. David Cameron and I had enjoyed a leisurely lunch at his house in Oxfordshire.

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