Wednesday, 1 October 2008

The Third Man

Lately, Chameleon Cameron has shown all the symptoms (in my medical opinion) of a man trapped in a Graham Greene novel or two.

It began with a friendly smile and as few policies as he could get away with – as long as nothing happens anything is possible. Like Our Man in Havana, he talked a good game, painted castles in the sky, but when you actually looked closely for the policies you saw that it was all really an elaborate vacuum. As with Noel Coward in the film adaptation, one found his style mildly amusing yet couldn’t but wonder whether he was at all capable of the seriousness the role demands.

In the old Tory days the heartless Thatcherites could swallow hard, close their eyes, tick the box, and think of England because they at least knew what they were getting. There was something secure in its vulgarity. You could appeal to them as you could to an English policeman, because you knew their thoughts. But Chameleon Cameron is a stranger bird. With a man in search of a character the road to Conservative policy is a journey without maps.

And yet – and yet – just recently, in the rubble of our financial institutions (where it is not too early for some to speculate on the death-throes of capitalist decadence), has he found one? With his newfound seriousness could he have gone from hug-a-hoodie wetness to his very own metaphoric megaphonic climb-the-debris-and-hug-a-fireman moment?

Remember when Tony Blair really started to get into the war. To properly loose himself in the role. When his matey straight-guy stuff got supplemented with sub-Churchill grandiloquence. Well, all of a sudden the heir to Blair seems to have been taking the same hubris pills and has begun to strike statesmanly poses. Chameleon Cameron approaches a season of political party conferences like one might a state funeral. Poseur he may be, but reaching out pseudo-bipartisan hands to a plodding and doddering Gordon Brown is such astute political flimflam that when he slaps on a serious haircut and concernedly pursed lips one hardly notices that he admonishes D. Miliband for claiming there’s no such thing as society in the same speech as thanking heaven for Thatcher.

But, at this point, however dishonest the mockery – or perhaps the praise – one fears that the brute fact of D. Miliband might be enough. While Brown may have gravitas to spare there’s no doubt that Chameleon Cameron can out-solemnise the pretenders. When you add to that the specific fact that he looks more and more dignified every time D. Miliband shows his gurning phizog in public you can’t help fancying his chances.

1 comment:

Adam Corner & Tim Fisher said...

chameleon cameron scaling the rubble and hugging a fireman? its enough to warm the cockles of even the most Palin-chilled commentator...!