Hitchens on Cameron (part three)
Hitchens starts with the cricket-team-and travelling-reserves that makes up the Old Etonian contingent of the Tory Front Bench. He suggests that Cameron is already thinking of burying this disproportionate presence, at least until an election is out of the way.
Then on to the failure of Cameron’s (i.e. Steve Hilton’s) “A-list”. He makes a telling point that, by promoting the potential candidates acceptable to London Metrosexuals, the Tories were actually reducing the diversity and depth of talent available. He also points out that, despite his stated support for women candidates, Cameron remains a member of White’s, which is still unisex.
So Hitchens then addresses what he calls Cameron’s “character transplant”, as evidenced by:
- The photo-opportunity with huskies. This is contrasted with George Monbiot relating his “dismal experience” at the Tory Conference, which he found “as lively as a catacomb”. When Hitchens puts to Michael Gove the contrast between Cameron’s famous windmill, and his previous description of windfarms as “gigantic birdblenders”, Gove says this proves Cameron’s “great sense of humour”.
- The “hug-a-hoodie” moment. This, argues Hitchens, at one stroke destroyed the Tory reputation for toughness on crime. Again, he contrasts what is acceptable at “the fashionable dinner tables of London” with the reality of life in Rockferry, Merseyside. He calls in aid no less than Frank Field, who makes a telling point that, by deserting the path of rightness, the Cameroon Tories are leaving positions open to “extremist parties defending law and justice”.
Norman Tebbit is set up to repeat his usual dislike of Cameron’s reformism, and we are moving into the peroration.
Hitchens states his essential thesis: that the Tory Party has been captured by an “ambitious cabal” possessed of “remarkably flexible views”, and this amounts to a wholesale “abandonment of party principles”.
Gove attempts to defend Cameroonery: it has “modernised the party”; modern Toryism is cautious and small-scale, committed to free enterprise and support for the family.
Hitchens is implacable in his end-note, quoting Richard Neville’s “inch of difference”. If there is only “an inch of difference” between the two main parties, then “that is where we all live”. If there is no difference, there is no choice; and when there is no choice, there is no liberty. It was worth sitting through for that dictum alone.
All this is Malcolm’s unaided and instant reading. Others may have seen something different.
However, to Malcolm, this was an involving and important piece of television. It was refreshing to see a Daily Mail rightist like Hitchens underscoring every prejudice that lefty Malcolm has about the Cameroonies.
It will be interesting to see how tomorrow’s reviewers treat the programme. Malcolm suspects it will have come too close to the bone for many. Doubtless, the egregious snake-like Steve Hilton, “the shadow leader of the opposition” and Cameron’s “Rasputin” will already have greased the relevant wheels. So expect few squeaks.