James Kirkup James Kirkup

Has David Cameron any shame?

What if Dave had shown the same commitment to the premiership that he applies to making money?

$10million, or £7million. That’s what David Cameron is now reported to have made from Greensill Capital, the company he helped lead to ruin. The number, reported by the BBC, is news, not least because Cameron himself had refused to disclose it. Speaking to a Commons committee investigating his failed lobbying for the failed company, the failed former PM would say only that he had been paid a ‘generous’ sum by Greensill.

That one word, ‘generous’, speaks volumes about Cameron and the Greensill episode.

Let’s start with the obvious fact that Cameron used a word rather than a number to describe the money he got (I’m not sure ‘earned’ is the right term) from Greensill. It seems fair to ask if that was because he was in some way embarrassed by it. Personally, I doubt it: the Greensill story has shown, quite clearly that Cameron doesn’t experience shame in the same way most people do. He doesn’t care enough what we think of him to be embarrassed in the way most of us would use that word.

But there are still rules, codes that someone such as Dave must always adhere to – they’re the unwritten social laws of his class and clique. One is that you don’t talk about money, especially if you have bags of it.

This coyness about money is a hallmark of Cameron’s milieu

And Cameron, lest we forget, was very rich long before Lex Greensill decided his very particular brand of political genius was worth a reported salary of $1m (£700,000) as a part-time adviser, plus various shares. Not that he would ever be vulgar enough to talk about it, of course.

In October 2009, Andrew Marr asked Cameron how much he was worth, and to comment on a report that inherited wealth put his net worth at around £30 million.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Keep reading with a free trial

Subscribe and get your first month of online and app access for free. After that it’s just £1 a week.

There’s no commitment, you can cancel any time.


Unlock more articles



Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in