Stephen Daisley Stephen Daisley

The truth about David Cameron’s ‘privileged pain’

The Guardian has achieved the not inconsiderable feat of whipping up sympathy for David Cameron. A leader column written for Monday’s edition of the paper, and posted online on Sunday, contained this bilious burp:

‘Mr Cameron has known pain and failure in his life but it has always been limited failure and privileged pain. The miseries of boarding school at seven are entirely real and for some people emotionally crippling but they come with an assurance that only important people can suffer that way. Even his experience of the NHS, which looked after his severely disabled son, has been that of the better functioning and better funded parts of the system. Had he been forced to wrestle with the understaffed and over-managed hospitals of much of England, or had he been trying to get the system to look after a dying parent rather than a dying child, he might have understood a little of the damage that his policies have done.’

Losing his six-year-old son wasn’t enough; the Guardian regrets that it wasn’t a teachable moment too. Cameron’s ‘privileged pain’ — the notion of anyone at the Guardian calling someone else privileged is the only amusing aspect of this grim scuffle — extends to his harsh schooling experience. True, cold baths and corporal punishment were hardly uncommon in 1970s boarding schools but a scared little boy crying himself to sleep at night is still a scared little boy, however wealthy his father is and whatever unfair advantages his education will give him in life. Progressives can see victimhood in almost anyone as long as they don’t support raising the threshold on the inheritance tax. 

The paper amended, then retracted, the editorial before apologising.

Kirsten Johnson, the Liberal Democrat candidate for North Devon, gave us another glimpse into the left’s empathy vacuum when she went on Radio Four and described her would-be constituency as:

‘Demographically it’s 98 per cent white.

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