“The strong man with the dagger is followed by the weak man with the sponge.”
David Cameron has a book out. You’ve probably heard. There’s a lot of press coverage. The BBC did a retrospective documentary about him to coincide with it, The Guardian had a review of the book, a review of the documentary, and an interview with the man himself.
Oh, and then another article about how it’s selling less well than Blair’s biography.
This is obviously just about journalists reporting the news, you understand.
It is absolutely not at all a mass marketing strategy camouflaged as “current events”.
Shame on you for thinking otherwise.
Naturally, as is always the case when ex-Prime Ministers make appearances or churn out autobiographies, there is plenty of talk about “legacy”.
Well…what is David Cameron’s legacy?
The media are pretty clear: Brexit.
The BBC documentary is entitled The Cameron Years. It’s in two parts, somehow bloated out to two whole hours in runtime, and is only concerned with the Brexit vote. The first part is entirely dedicated to it, that’s literally all it’s about, with the second half being more general, but still very Brexit-centric.
The reviews of the book are no better. In fact they are worse.
The Telegraph liked it, as did the Times. The Guardian and Independent didn’t, as much, but still praised its “honesty”. They all talk almost entirely about Brexit. Bloomberg headline “David Cameron Wants You to Remember Him for More Than Just Brexit”, pointing out: “The former prime minister’s new memoir, For the Record, spends just 50 of 700 pages on the disastrous referendum”…before going on to review just those fifty pages.
In fact, I’ve read over half-a-dozen reviews of this book, and none of them talks about anything but Brexit.
There is not a single use of the word “Libya” in any of them. Not anywhere. Not in even in passing.
Not. One. Single. Use.
For those of you foggy on the details, Libya was a place that used to look like this:
…and now looks like this:
You would think that the total and complete destruction of the most developed nation on the African continent would warrant at least brief discussion in the “legacy” of the Prime Minister responsible but, apparently, you would be wrong.
(I know we’re only Britain, and we only do what America tells us, but “Only following orders” didn’t work for Goering and probably shouldn’t work for anybody else. Cameron included).
The press silence on Libya is on another level.
They grudgingly discuss Iraq as a “mistake” or “blunder”, they carry on their insane propaganda-war on Syria with fresh gusto every few months (or whenever they need a distraction), but Libya…Libya is the country that must not be named.
Take Jonathan Freedland. He was ALL OVER Libya back in 2011. He campaigned for NATO to do something, preaching about the West’s “responsibility to protect”. Does he mention Libya once in his review of this book? Nope.
He even has the gall to open the piece with this:
Just as the 700 pages of Tony Blair’s autobiography could not escape the shadow of Iraq, so the 700 pages of David Cameron’s memoir are destined to be read through a single lens: Brexit.
As if his decision to totally disregard a war crime he not only apologised for, but cheerfully encouraged, was somehow just fate and totally beyond his control.
This was no accident, you understand, Libya is exactly what NATO set-out to make it – a failed state where absolutely everything is for sale. A true capitalist paradise. But discussing that would make it harder to sell “R2P” in the future.
Better to just endlessly rant on about Brexit instead.
Now, obviously, Brexit is (potentially) an important decision for the fate of the country. You can’t deny that.
BUT – let’s be real here – Even IF we leave the EU (and right now that is far from guaranteed), and even IF our leaving is as bad as the worst doom-sayers are predicting, London isn’t going to end up like this…
And at the end of the day, THAT is Cameron’s legacy.
Just as it’s the legacy of the all slimy apologists who cheered him on, and the narrow-minded, self-centred xenophobes who clean up after him.