Is “Dodgy Dave” running out of luck?
David Cameron has always been luckier than most politicians. He became Leader of the Conservative Party when Tony Blair was on the wane. “You were the future once” he smugly reminded Blair at one of their early PMQs exchanges.
Cameron went on to ride his luck at the 2010 general election against a Labour party that was tired and exhausted after 13 years of government and had endured the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s. In 2010 the soon to be PM was even luckier, Gordon Brown the Labour Prime Minister who he was up against, was perhaps the worst media performer of any person ever to hold that office. But still, Cameron failed to win a majority in Parliament despite everything being stacked in his favour. Instead, Dave hood winked the power hungry Liberal Democrats into a one sided coalition to provide him with the majority he had failed to secure for five years and destroyed the Liberal Democrats political and electoral credibility in the process.
Destroying the opposition
Cameron rode his luck even further when he gave the Scottish National Party their referendum for Scottish Independence from the United Kingdom. Of course, as in government, Cameron had the Liberal Democrats doing the dirty work and heavy lifting, he manoeuvred the Labour Party to do the same in order to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom. Cameron himself despite his efforts to de-toxify the Conservative Party was powerless to do anything else; Scotland hated him and the Conservatives. However, lady luck once again shined on the Prime Minister. The fall-out from Labour’s support for the Conservatives and the Union devastated their support in Scotland and this gave the tory leader a decisive advantage at the 2015 general election. Cameron was able to scare millions of English voters that a Labour government led by Ed Miliband would be in hock to the Scottish Nationalists. Cameron had destroyed his two main opposition parties electorally within five years with the help of lady luck and a savvy political brain.
A difficult month
But is lady luck about to run out for Cameron? The last few weeks seem to suggest that maybe the case. He was knocked sideways by the announcement that both Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, two big rivals for his job, had decided to campaign against him in the forthcoming EU referendum. Then another blow that rocked No.10 was the shock resignation of Iain Duncan Smith over the budget fiasco and disability payments.
Lady luck did resurface momentarily in that budget week for Cameron. With his Chancellor in hiding fearing a savaging in the House of Commons, he was left to face the music alone but fortunately he was in a duet with the hapless Leader of the Labour Party. Jeremy Corbyn missing an open goal from five yards with no goalkeeper saved what should have been a very uncomfortable and dreadful experience for him.
Corbyn then failed in his second bite at the cherry two days later at PMQs but by then the ‘loyalty list’ within the Labour Party had been revealed and the disaster and distraction that followed got Cameron off the hook. Cameron used the list to berate and belittle Corbyn, “I thought I had problems,” he barked across the dispatch box.
Panama, the EU & the £9m leaflet
Moving on a few weeks, luck seems to have deserted the PM once again. The Panama Papers and the resulting tax scandal threatened to embroil the Prime Minister in a deep mess. He has managed to escape the quick sand for now, but his reputation has taken another battering. A new body blow was struck when he announced the use of £10million of taxpayer’s money to fund a EU propaganda leaflet, much to the fury of his Eurosceptic backbenchers, grass roots activists and the general public.
Cameron’s desperation about the outcome of the EU referendum is starting to show. He may well have neutered his main opposition, Labour and the Liberal Democrats but he has not managed to keep quiet those who line up against remaining in the EU. With just eight weeks to go, I’m not too sure Cameron knows whose side lady luck is now on. But if she’s not on his side once more, his days in Downing Street will be numbered.