This week’s excerpts from Mad Dave – David Cameron’s unofficial biography ‘Call Me Dave’ – are from Chapter 2: Two Silver Spoons.
On reading the chapter, I must confess I had a bit of a Eureka moment. I’d not really read up much on Mad Dave’s background before. I knew he was a bit of a toff who went to Eton and Oxford, but I didn’t really know the extent of his wealth and privilege, nor had I fully understood the relationship between his upbringing and the utterly heartless politics of this Government, which is probably the most right-wing since Mussolini’s.
I’ll let you read the excerpts and make up your own mind. Is this is a man who should be running our country, running down our NHS, ramming austerity down our throats and taking the food from our children’s mouths?
Chapter 2: Two Silver Spoons
“By his own admission, David Cameron had an extremely comfortable start in life. In a sign of the privilege to which he would become accustomed, he made his entrance on 9 October 1966 not in an NHS hospital – though there were plenty nearby – but in the London Clinic, off Harley Street, a private hospital favoured by the royal family.”
“A Cabinet colleague who once teased that Cameron was born with a silver spoon in his mouth was amused when he responded: ‘No, I was born with two.’”
“His parents’ wealth was both inherited and self-made. Though the Camerons are not blue bloods, there are titles and big houses in the background… Members of Samantha Cameron’s much grander family wince when they hear the Camerons described as ‘upper class’, but they are hardly bourgeois: the Prime Minister is a fifth cousin (twice removed) of the Queen.”
“There was ‘old’ money on both the paternal and maternal sides of the family, as well as his father’s considerable income as a stockbroker.”
“Sir Ewen Cameron, David’s paternal great-great-grandfather, was London Head of the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and helped the Rothschilds sell war bonds during the Russo-Japanese war. David’s paternal great-grandfather, Ewen Allan Cameron, was a senior partner in the stockbrokers Panmure Gordon. His grandfather Donald, also a Panmure Gordon partner, left the equivalent of nearly £1 million. Donald had married into the Levita family, one of whom – another of David Cameron’s great-great-grandfathers – was Emile, a German-born Jewish financier who was the director of the Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, which became Standard Chartered Bank. He sent his sons to Eton, starting a family tradition.”
“Ironically, given the political sensitivities surrounding tax-avoidance today, Ian’s [Cameron’s father] expertise was offshore investment funds. He set up business in 1979, shortly after it became legal to take large sums of money out of the UK to avoid tax. He proved very skilled at it, so much so that he rose to the top of a string of asset management firms, including a Jersey-based company and a firm registered in Panama. He also had shares in a firm based in Geneva. In 2007, the Sunday Times Rich List estimated his worth at £10 million.”
“He [Mad Dave] is a real, proper Englishman, who would love to defend what he sees as the real England, but his real England is different to almost everyone else’s, says a childhood friend.”
So, what do you think?
Here’s what I think.
I think Chapter 2 of Mad Dave’s autobiography gives us several insights into his political leanings – particularly with regard to the NHS, tax-avoidance, and the preservation of the ‘them and us’ class system that keeps the rich in power and poor people at the bottom of the pile. It perhaps also sheds light on why Mad Dave’s party seem so set on forcing doctors to work longer hours for less pay, indeed why they appear determined to force doctors and nurses to leave the NHS, and why they seem so wedded to the idea of selling off the NHS to private companies, against the wishes of almost the entire population. Because rich families like the Camerons can afford private hospital treatment. It’s that simple. They don’t need the NHS. And they can’t make any money out of it, as in, personal gain. So they’ll simply sell it off on the cheap like some knocked-off family silver. Screw poor people, if we get sick it’s our lookout.
It also perhaps explains the rationale behind some current Conservative policies that are frankly inexplicable to most decent, fair-minded people, like the cutting of child tax credits from some of the poorest working families in Britain, while increasing the inheritance tax allowance so the richest are better off; and the so-called clampdown on the tax of small, self-employed businesses while reducing the corporation tax burden on big business, and turning a blind eye to the tax-avoidance of huge multi-national organisations altogether. For instance Facebook, who, despite being worth £169 billion, and paying their 362 UK staff £35 million in bonuses last year (equivalent to £96,000 per person), claimed to be hard up, so only paid the UK Exchequer the grand sum of £4,237 in tax. I kid you not. Way less than you or I or any other single working person pay in tax in a single year. Fair? That’s the Tories’ idea of fair.
So when Mad Dave talks about ‘a fairer society’, and the Conservatives being ‘the party of working people’, and the ‘NHS being safe in their hands’, you can give those utterances the same credence as, say, a pronouncement by Adolph Hitler that he intended setting up a charity for homeless Jewish children.
Basically, the Conservatives lie out of their back teeth, at every opportunity. To get elected they’ll tell you anything they think you want to hear, even though they have no intention of keeping any of the promises they make. Once elected they’re almost always guaranteed to do the opposite of what they promised, and find some weasel way of explaining it away. That’s the Tory way. Lies, deceit, and the preservation of the status quo that keeps rich people like them at the top of society and the rest of us at the bottom. They’re the rich 1% enjoying a self-perpetuating gravy train of excess while the 99% of us continue to work our nuts off for a pittance, get sick then die. Ever it was so. And ever will it be, as long as we’re gullible enough to keep swallowing their lies.
The big lesson is this. Just because words come out of a politician’s mouth, you shouldn’t necessarily believe them. In fact, where Tory politicians are concerned, it’s almost axiomatic that you should always believe the opposite. Your life may well depend on it. And when promises come out of Mad Dave’s mouth in particular, oh boy, run for your life. Mad Dave tells the biggest whoppers of all, possibly in the known world outside of North Korea and China. Big, in-your-face lies like “we’re not going to cut child tax credits after the general election”. He was specifically asked this question several times in the Leaders’ Debates before the general election, and each time gave the unequivocal answer, “no cuts to child tax credits”.
Then guess what? You guessed right. After the working poor voted the Tories in, their ‘reward’ was to learn they were going to get clobbered with cuts to child tax credits. Over 3.3 million working poor families, to be precise, who will each lose on average £1,300 a year. While the rich get tax breaks, the poor will get financially raped. Thanks, Mad Dave.
It’s genius, Mad Dave keeps lying, punishing the gullible for believing him, then lying again and saying this time, trust him.
Mark my words, Mad Dave’s successor as the next Tory leader will use exactly the same tactics in the 2020 election – spin, propaganda, lies and deceit – to get elected. If you fall for it again, you’ll only have yourself to blame.
The Tories aren’t in it for public service. Never were, never will be. They don’t give a shit about you or I, our families or the working class. They don’t give a shit about anyone except themselves. They care only about money, and business. ‘Old’ money, and big business. Their money, their businesses. And making sure they take more money out of your pockets, and put it into theirs. More food out of your children’s mouths, so they can stuff theirs.
If you don’t believe me, vote for them again in 2020, and see what you get.
I’ll leave the last word to cartoonist Steve Bell.