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The Irresistible Itch

Colin Kidd: Vandals in Bow Ties, 3 December 2009

Personal Responsibility: Why It Matters 
by Alexander Brown.
Continuum, 214 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 84706 399 1
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... of uncharismatic right-wing leaders came to an end with the accession to the party leadership of David Cameron, a smoother, less straightforward kind of Conservative. Cameron recognised that if he was to ‘detoxify’ the Tory brand, loosen its association with uncaring Thatcherite economics, then he needed to ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Remote Killing, 24 September 2015

... a specialist team at RAF Waddington trained at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. Over the summer, David Cameron had suggested that he hoped the British air war against Isis could be extended from Iraq to Syria. But, he said, nothing would change – after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq was the only permitted target – until Parliament was ...

His Fucking Referendum

David Runciman: What Struck Cameron, 10 October 2019

For the Record 
by David Cameron.
William Collins, 732 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 0 00 823928 2
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... a wanker? In a world that divides between the people who divide it in two and those who don’t, Cameron is squarely in the former camp. During the summer of 2014 he was putting the finishing touches to a government reshuffle that would see him shunt his old friend Michael Gove from the Department of Education to a new role as chief whip. In effect he was ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Politicians and the Press, 26 January 2006

... was to make major headlines and be more than a support act for the clash of the Davids. With David Cameron boyishly – and buoyantly – installed in the middle of the opposition front bench, the time was at last ripe for overthrowing Kennedy. If the conspirators had waited too much longer, there was always the danger that they might have found ...

Short Cuts

Sadakat Kadri: Bench Rage, 22 September 2011

... certainly sound more gung-ho to applaud the ‘tough message’ that the courts are conveying, as David Cameron has done, or to say along with John Thornhill, the chairman of the Magistrates Association, that the sheer volume of riot-related criminality justifies disproportionate punishments. But there is a dangerous whiff of bullshit accompanying the ...

Short Cuts

Chris Mullin: Michael Foot, 25 March 2010

... Of all the many tributes to Michael Foot it was David Cameron who hit the nail on the head. He was, Cameron said, ‘almost the last link to a more heroic age in politics’. In appearance, and demeanour, Foot resembled an Old Testament prophet. An impression which, in later life, his shock of white hair, the passion of his delivery and the magnificence of his rhetoric served only to enhance ...


David Runciman: How the coalition was formed, 16 December 2010

22 Days in May: The Birth of the Lib Dem-Conservative Coalition 
by David Laws.
Biteback, 335 pp., £9.99, November 2010, 978 1 84954 080 3
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... Australians), they seem to have been unembarrassable. Yet that’s not how it worked over here. David Laws’s 22 Days in May, which recounts the negotiations that preceded the formation of the coalition government from the inside, explains how it happened that in our case the winners actually ended up winning. Hardly surprisingly, it’s not that Lib Dem ...

After the Vote

James Meek, 17 December 2015

... to extend British airstrikes against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria began in November when David Cameron set out his case to Parliament in relatively decorous terms. By 2 December, when Parliament voted in favour, an older, cruder performance had emerged. One of the prime minister’s enactments back in November was the voice that accompanies TV ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting sun. Andrew Rawnsley’s The End of the Party is less dramatic: we see Brown, Mandelson and Blair in a morning-after sprawl; Brown’s big ...

‘We’ and ‘You’

Owen Bennett-Jones: Suburban Jihadis, 27 August 2015

‘We Love Death as You Love Life’: Britain’s Suburban Terrorists 
by Raffaello Pantucci.
Hurst, 377 pp., £15.99, March 2015, 978 1 84904 165 2
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... It was ‘odd’, he said, to deny that Islam was the central element of the various struggles. David Cameron has moved in the same direction. The day after the 7/7 attacks, when he was shadow education secretary, he said that ‘the Muslim community in this country doesn’t support what is happening.’ Earlier this year he modified that ...

Still Dithering

Norman Dombey: After Trident, 16 December 2010

... the RAF (the French call it Scalp). The Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation signed by David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy at their summit on 2 November specifically anticipates Anglo-French collaboration on ‘an assessment of enhancements to the Scalp/Storm Shadow cruise missiles’ and joint development ‘of the equipment and technologies ...

In Athens

Richard Clogg, 5 July 2012

... anywhere in occupied Europe. Despite the fact that the UK is not a member of the eurozone, David Cameron has joined with Merkel in hectoring the recalcitrant Greeks. Not so long ago Cameron, on his first visit to the US as prime minister, declared in an interview with ABC News that, in 1940, Britain was the ...

The Politics of Now

David Runciman: The Last World Cup, 21 June 2018

The Fall of the House of Fifa 
by David Conn.
Yellow Jersey, 336 pp., £9.99, June 2017, 978 0 224 10045 8
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... power, some moments now look like straws in the wind. In late November 2010 the English FA sent David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham to Fifa headquarters in Zurich to lobby on its behalf before the vote for the right to host the 2018 World Cup. Two old Etonians and an alumnus of Chingford County High ...

The End of Labour?

Colin Kidd, 8 March 2012

... from government: from the government, that is, of the rump UK, minus Scotland. The reason is that David Cameron, attempting to outflank the SNP during a midwinter silly season offensive, has managed to provoke Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, into a daring dash for independence. Salmond is not – as the English fail miserably to understand ...

In a Faraway Pond

David Runciman: The NGO, 29 November 2007

Non-Governmental Politics 
edited by Michel Feher.
Zone, 693 pp., £24.95, May 2007, 978 1 890951 74 0
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... On 24 July, in a speech to the Rwandan parliament, David Cameron said that the old ideological divisions concerning aid and trade – aid is ‘wasteful’, trade is ‘unfair’ – needed to be abandoned in favour of a commitment to what works. He talked about the importance of transparency and accountability at both governmental and non-governmental levels to ensure that resources were used efficiently and money reached its targets ...

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