Tuesday, 28 April 2009

The aparthied jolly that cost Cameron his image

Any claim David Cameron had to moral authority now lies in ruins.

The revelation by the Independent that David Cameron visited apartheid South Africa and enjoyed the hospitality of an anti-sanctions lobby group exponses as a farce his claim that his party's anti-apartheid policies were of an era to which he did not belong.

The fact that while Mandella languished in prison Cameron enjoyed what his then boss described as a "little treat" which was "terribly relaxed... just a jolly" was unknown when Mr. Cameron met with the former president in an attempt to distance himself from his parties aparthied stance.

Attempts by his office to paint the excursion as a fact finding mission were thwarted by his then boss Alistair Cooke, who said "It was all terribly relaxed, just a little treat, a perk of the job", and spokesperson offered up the excuse that "the Conservative Party at that time was against sanctions".

Such feverish towing of the party line even on something as awful as opposing sanctions on a repressive and racist regime raises serious questions about the moral character of a man who never tires of attacking others who he accuses of lacking such credentials.

The contrast was made clear by anti-aparthied campaigner Peter Haine MP, who pointed to the example led by prime minister Gordon Brown, who was an anti-aparthied campaigner. The prime minister, who in addition to his anti-aparthied work also devoted a chapter of his book to and unveiled a statue of Nelson Mandella, contrasts strikingly with the blasé attitude of David Cameron, with the sickening attitudes of his then collueges, who are reported to have worn badges bearing the slogan "hang Nelson Mandella" and with the outrageous stance of their then-leader Margaret Thatcher, who branded Mandella "a terrorist".

These revelations, described by Peter Hain as a measure of character, deal a serious blow to the credibility of the man who has gone to great lengths to rebrand the Conservative party. Though he himself has said that people must be allowed to "err and stray" in their past (in reference to allegations of his use of cocain), this was not something he did as at Eton or at Oxford; he chose to take this jolly to aparthied South Africa as a backroom politician in the Conservative research department and it was offered to him as such.

No matter how many licks of paint David Cameron tries to put on the Conservative party, he seems to find it just keeps coming off, washed off first by the economic crisis which exposed wide gaps in his economic policy (in that he didn't have one)and now stripped clean by his own actions, as a Conservative party employee. Mr. Cameron would do well to learn that selling a party isn't just like selling a car; try as he might to wind back the mileage, there will always be someone who remembers. The past doesn't go away just by saying so. But we won't hear that from the man who aspires to be the PR PM.

1 comment:

  1. http://news.scotsman.com/scottishconservativeparty/Tory-confesses-but-mystery-of.3588553.jp