Cameron Rolls the Dice
Napoleon asked that he be given lucky Generals. Meticulous preparation and cunning can only get you so far as eventually – as was the case with the Revolutionary/Dictator – luck will run out. The commodity of good fortune in politics should not be underestimated. One such beneficiary of this has been David Cameron. Cameron has had several great and extraordinary escapes since becoming Prime Minister. The two most notable are winning the 2015 General Election and the Independence Referendum in Scotland. The former was a stunning political ‘coup’ which his own political Generals scarcely believed was possible. The latter, Scotland, was on a knife-edge up until the final few days; the ‘No’ side was arguably saved by Gordon Brown (irony of ironies). He has had other big escapes also; many is the Tory PM who would have been dragged down by the Murdoch Phone Tapping Scandal. He had no hesitation in throwing Andy Coulson under a bus to save his own hide. More recently, Cameron has enjoyed more good fortune with the Labour Party electing the probably unelectable Jeremy Corbyn. He has, for goodness sake, also survived a rumour that he performed a sex act on dead pig. But the sea of troubles is about to get more stormy.
Europe; an entity for the Little Englander that begins after Calais. The ‘European Question’ (none of the other member states have such a term, yet) is a symptom of insecurity. There are huge problems with European institutions and the neo-liberal consensus therein. But Cameron’s view is that austerity is fine as long as it is self-imposed. His reform is reduction; a reduction of consumer, worker and human rights. Yet he has called a referendum that will be his biggest roll of the dice yet. There’s no guarantee he’ll get sufficient concessions from his European ‘partners’ to be able to sell a package to a domestic audience. Corbyn’s ‘New Politics’ might also see the Opposition move towards an ‘Out’ stance. The best hope Cameron has of winning a referendum is for a vote in spite of, and not because of, him. If he loses, then it’s an absolute disaster., He will need his luck to last to get a win-win from a needless referendum. The Conservatives are already experiencing a period of intense European Naval Gazing; in the run up to one of the most critical strategic decisions the British have ever have to make, Tory self-indulgence is only going to multiply. Cameron should start praying to the Gods.
Ed ‘Foot’ Balls
There are said to be no second acts in politics. Mostly, this is true; politicians reach a pinnacle and once they can’t go any further, it’s all downhill from there. William Hague was one of the few to buck the trend, coming back from his disastrous spell as Tory Leader to become Foreign Secretary. The trick, if you really want a return to the front-line, is to try to hold a semi-public profile in the recovery period. The shock of losing a seat at a General Election is profound but there’s nothing quite like getting back on the horse to keep you going. The recent appointment of Ed Balls as Norwich City FC Chairman is intriguing. One of the biggest of the big beasts, one foot in 11 Downing Street, he has chosen that semi-public role. He has said he does not wish to return to front-line politics but is this the case. A position like this and others leave him ideally placed to get back on that horse. There’s more to life than politics, as Balls is discovering. On the grounds of never say never, he might be advised not to rule anything out. We may see him back yet.
A Force for Good
‘Star Wars – The Force Awakens’ is, for many, a pleasing return to the childhood comforts of ‘A New Hope’. Many of us Middle-Aged Fanboys and Girls will have warm memories of one of their first trips to the cinema; the nostalgia is strong in this one. The latest chapter in the saga continues the battle between good and evil; the politics of Star Wars haven’t changed much in the Parts IV to the current outing. The Empire or First Order are the epitome of Might is Right fascism. Which brings us back to 1977…
‘Star Wars’ came out when WWII was in living memory. Just over thirty years previously, storm-troopers had swept through Eastern Europe leaving a trail of carnage and destruction. The script was about as powerful a warning a child could get to a the power of the dark-side in the recent past. It worked on this level as most parents bringing their children to the cinema in 1977 were ‘Boomers’; alright, they, like their kids, enjoyed it primarily on a ‘Space Opera/Western’ level like any great story, Lucas knew what he was doing by calling his bad guys ‘storm-troopers’. These guys were the Nazis in Space; even if us younglings didn’t know it, we were being schooled – ‘history’ lessons have rarely been as entertaining or as instructive,