The idea that world leaders might be educated at some of the world's finer institutes of higher education had, at one time, been considered a good thing. But the likes of George Bush put a stop to that.
Now, we like our leaders to be, if not quite as dumb as shit, at least smeared across the face with said shit, preferably from a muddy rural field away from any suspicious higher spires of learning. In the US, this is an exercise in anti-intellectual snobbery that Pol Pot would have been proud of. In Britain, it’s not the anti-intellectual aspect, but the class issue.
As it happens, David Cameron — Leader of the Opposition, head of the Conservative Party and prospective Prime Minister of Great Britain — went to Eton. A private school (known as a "public" school in the UK, in that anyone can go there — if they’ve got the money) of the higher order, which has taught more prime ministers and cabinet members than any others, along with its fair share of archbishops, bankers, newspaper editors and business directors. And for a time, that was fine. Now, however, it’s not.
It gets worse, though. Not only did he go to Oxford University (which at least requires some educational qualifications for entry — well mostly) but, while there, he was in The Bullingdon Club with Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and Conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Membership of which club requires a large sum of money, which is paid in a lump sum to the owner of whichever drinking or dining establishment you wish to visit — and then trash.
So, David Cameron has the baggage of a spoilt upper class snob who thinks nothing about acting like an anti-social cock — as long as he pays for it afterward.
As a PR man, he is best known for handling a digital TV service which not enough people wanted and eventually went bankrupt owing millions (including £140 to the author of this article. Anytime you want, Dave). But as a Conservative politician, he was admired by his peers, working closely with prominent dinosaurs of the party. So, when he ran for leadership of the party four years ago, after the Conservatives had lost their third successive election, he may have been a brand new face to the country, but not to his party.
Cameron modelled his appearance, demeanour, and even language, on Tony Blair, just without the annoying Iraq War baggage on his back. He's young, fresh and keen, very natural in front of the camera, in marked contrast to his current opponent Prime Minister Gordon Brown. In the last four years, he has made strides in ridding the party of much of its anti-immigration, anti-gay and anti-diversity policies that caused even prominent Conservatives to dub it "the nasty party." He has even embraced Labour's minimum wage — which he originally opposed — the introduction of civil partnerships for gay men and women, and their investment the National Health Service. He's a plastic shining new face for the country and everyone's flocking towards him.
Especially since, as well as channelling Tony Blair, he's started to bring in Obamaspeak. In something slightly similar to your white uncle doing an impersonation of Snoop Dogg, David Cameron has been using the words "change" and "hope" in as many speeches, posters and slogans as he can. We're still waiting for a "yes we can." Of course, the irony is not lost that Obama symbolised a beleaguered social group in the USA finally having one of their own make it to the very top — where Cameron represents the old elite, pushed out of office for forty years, finally getting one of their men back in again.
And there's the suspicion, being fostered by Labour, that it's all a front. That the minute he steps into office, his plastic-coated face will fall away and all the old kick-out-the-blacks, string-up-the-gays, slash-healthcare-costs-and-fill-our-trousers rhetoric will come spilling out from his red raw blistering bleeding skull.
Which will make for an interesting front page the day after the election.
Next: Nick Clegg — The Other One.
Rich Johnston lives in London, works in advertising, writes about comics and draws cartoons for the UK's leading political blog, Guido Fawkes. He'll vote for the first party that promises to legalise the smoking of squirrels for medicinal purposes.
Tags: Barack Obama, Boris Johnson, Conservative Party (UK), David Cameron, Indecision Internationale, Tony Blair, United Kingdom