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Home > Politics

David 'Dave' Cameron: Elegant Slumming

6 October 2006

Erm, right. Welcome to 'David "Dave" Cameron: Elegant Slumming'. Look out, Private Eye, we're coming after you. Ha ha! Just let us finish putting our smalls through this mangle and eating our spam butty. Oh, look. A small child. Hang on, young person, just let us finish typing this. If only we'd known you were going to be reading this, dear reader, we'd have finished the chores and put the children to bed.

There. Hopefully you feel a little warmer towards us. Now you know that we're regular guys who do regular kinds of things, just like you. Isn't that great? We're just like you!

So, with another twist of Bowie-esque reinvention, it's been a busy week for British politics' very own Thin White Duke (or at least Only Slightly Podgy White Duke). On Saturday David 'Dave' Cameron launched his new website, 'webcameron'. They've obviously paid a fortune to achieve the website's studious air of 'oh, here's a little something we just knocked up' amateurism; from its clashing colour scheme to its layout which suggests it was designed by an enthusiastic but slow teenage nephew as part of his GCSE computer studies coursework. The main feature of the site is videos of 'Dave' in situations of typical proletariat activity like washing up (well, loading the dishwasher) while trying to set out his vision.

It's all so spontaneous! Internet Vérité, if you like. The cameraman sneaks up on 'Dave' at inopportune moments and gets him to speak his brains while showing what a regular guy he really is. No doubt there'll be videos later down the line where the cameraman catches 'Dave' soaping up in the shower, having a screaming row with his wife or, God forbid, mid-wank.

Of course, it's a meticulously constructed contrivance to make that film footage of Tony Blair reluctantly sipping bitter in his constituency club in Sedgefield and pretending to enjoy himself look like a Mike Leigh improvisation. Are we expected to believe 'Dave' couldn't find a quiet corner in which to enlighten us? Check out this video to see just how spontaneous 'Dave's little movies aren't.

He's taken this to the outer limits with his latest video which shows him blogging. There's a video of 'Dave' blogging. On his blog. It's like some weird televisual Möbius strip, or like a songwriter bang out of inspiration writing a song about how hard it is to write a song. Maybe 'Dave' is attempting a political version of the Infinite Cat Project. Maybe the next video will be one of the videos of him blogging about one of his videos where he blogs. About his videos.

It's all part of his strategy of attaining 'Grooviness' of course, along with his much-professed love of Radiohead and The Smiths. According to the Tories' latest party political broadcast even the public consultation exercises into Tory policy are being conducted exclusively on the Internet. The third of the country not having Internet access are out of luck, it seems. Old or poor? Fuck off. 'Dave' isn't interested.

And then on Sunday the Tory Party threw off its black cloak and declared itself reformed. Lord Voldermort decided he'd had enough of big snakes and killing muggles and that he'd prefer some Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and a glass of pumpkin juice with maybe a game or two of Exploding Snap later on, thank you very much. 'Let sunshine win the day!' exclaimed 'Dave' (he really did), rebranding the Conservatives from the Nasty Party to the Saccharine Party. We haven't chewed our knuckles so hard since Julia Roberts' character in 'Notting Hill' said 'I'm also just a girl...standing in front of a boy...asking him to love her'. The two pitches are desperately, horribly similar.

Ultimately, 'Dave' is trying just a bit too hard. After 12 years of carefully staged photocalls and boundless jam-tomorrow optimism, he is over-compensating. That said, he probably feels the needs to balance out the Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, who referred to Gordon Brown this week as being 'mildly autistic'. It certainly demonstrated that a sniggering, adolescent prick bubbles away not very far from Osborne's stuffed-shirt and prattish surface. That's the voters with autistic children off the list, for starters. What's next, calling Tony Blair 'a mong' or 'a spaz'?

It's a cliché in any situation where reasoned argument takes place, but George should try and play the ball, not the man. He should try tackling Brown's policies instead of his (admittedly manifest) flawed personality. We'd do the same ourselves with George except he hasn't got policies. The mong. The Tories have explained away their lack of policies by saying they're not going to write their 2009 election manifesto in 2006, which seems a bit ill-advised. (Osborne did make some talk about 'sharing the proceeds of growth' which sounds more like a threatening sexual metaphor to us but then we're not in the business of deliberately obfuscatory platitudes.)

The parlous state of the current government right now means it could collapse at any moment. There's a chance Tony Blair could shortly be having his collar felt over the cash for peerages affair. This government has so many skeletons in its cupboard that you feel it's only one leaked juicy memo from receiving its P45 from the Queen. There's also been much talk of Gordon Brown calling an election as soon as he becomes Labour leader to secure his own mandate with the public.

So it's not impossible that we could be mere weeks from a General Election. Which means, with their claimed lack of anything resembling a substantial policy, the Tory high command are either clairvoyants (they've got a feeling about a 2009 election), liars (they do have policies but don't want to see them savaged just yet) or idiots (they haven't got a clue and will be trampled underfoot if a snap election comes to pass). Or maybe they're sanguine about making it up as they go along, like the school kid doing his homework on the bus to school. Lord knows that's served the current bunch well enough.

Still, nobody really seems that bothered. It looks to have gone down very well with most, if only in convincing the slow-witted that the Tories are no longer bastards (if not exactly a bunch of people you'd turn to if you suddenly found yourself at rock bottom). Cameron's 'I wanna live like common people' veneer seems to be convincingly glossing over his privileged old-Etonian, related-to-Royalty background. People's mouths certainly seem to be hanging open like they've just seen a dog go 'meow' or something.

'Tony Blair once explained his priority in three words: education, education, education,' said 'Dave' in his speech on Wednesday. 'I can do it in three letters. NHS.' We're assuming doing it in two and saying 'ME' would have been too, too honest - admitting a narcissism that most wouldn't admit even to themselves.

'My family is so often in the hands of the NHS,' said 'Dave'. You have to wonder how long that would last if waiting list push came to postcode lottery shove. 'If you call your Dad he could stop it all,' as Jarvis Cocker said. 'Smoke some fags and play some pool, pretend you never went to school' are probably next on his webcam mission to win us over.

Will his campaign work? We wouldn't bet against it, but hopefully it won't sucker everybody. We can't be the only ones who find his charm offensive.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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