David Cameron was running late… SamCam had him on supper duty: HENRY DEEDES watches the former Prime Minister’s parliamentary committee appearance
After prime ministers waddle out of Downing Street for the final time there’s a tendency for their looks to, well, go to pot. Think Gordon Brown’s haunted features or Tony Blair’s stocking-over-the head visage.
So when David Cameron appeared before the Joint Committee on National Security Strategy yesterday I was expecting an ungainly mass of cookie dough slumped in front of us. Instead, he looked in remarkably fine fettle.
The hairline’s holding firm. Those apple cheeks noticeably less podgy than the last time we saw him. He was also showcasing a snazzy new pair of spectacles, procured, quite possibly, from the same oculist as Brains from Thunderbirds.
David Cameron was also showcasing a snazzy new pair of spectacles, procured, quite possibly, from the same oculist as Brains from Thunderbirds
SamCam must have commandeered that cosy shepherd’s hut Dave bought to write his memoirs in for herself
This was his first appearance to give evidence since his resignation speech outside No10 the morning after the EU referendum.
On that occasion, his wife Samantha later admitted steeling herself with a mid-morning cocktail. Had Dave done something similar yesterday afternoon I would hardly have blamed him. The committee was a tad on the venerable side and at times it showed.
Cameron appeared remotely from a living room in his Cotswolds home. Lots of taupe and fashionably exposed brick. Very Chipping Norton, darling. SamCam must have commandeered that cosy shepherd’s hut Dave bought to write his memoirs in for herself.
The session was warm and respectful. Chairman Dame Margaret Beckett (Lab) even referred to him as ‘Mr Cameron’, but to all other members it was simply ‘David’.
Unfortunately, the oldies weren’t all that comfortable with the technology. Former defence minister Lord King (Con) got off to a rocky start. We couldn’t hear him. ‘I think you’re on mute, Tom,’ Mr Cameron urged politely. Lady Neville-Jones (Con) was interrupted when her computer blared out an advertising jingle. Poor Pauline looked like her fire alarm had gone off.
Much of the discussion centred on his formation of the National Security Council. Colonel Sir Bob Stewart (Con, Beckenham) referred to it as Cameron’s ‘baby’. Cameron replied that it was more of teenager by now, almost ready to celebrate its 21st birthday.
Speaking of youths, some of the Cameron children could be seen lolling in the background. Not entirely by accident, I felt.
The Cameron charm was on full display, his voice as creamy as Lurpak. But that didn’t stop him firing a couple of velvet-encased torpedoes. He felt it was a mistake for his successor Theresa May to let former Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill combine his role and National Security Adviser.
Tony Blair’s old Cabinet enforcer Lord Reid (Lab) was next. ‘Unmute!’ someone cried
David Cameron was expected to have Gordon Brown’s haunted features or Tony Blair’s stocking-over-the head visage
There was a pop, too, at Boris Johnson’s merger of the Department for International Development with the Foreign Office. (Boris, I’m sure, will take that on the chin. He always regarded Dave as an oily squit).
Up popped the face of Angus MacNeil (SNP, Na h-Eileanan an Iar). ‘Been a while,’ chirped Angus. He asked if Cameron missed much about his old job. Cameron replied he certainly didn’t miss having to do PMQs.
MacNeil wondered if he might ever consider a political comeback. ‘No,’ said Dave. ‘I think the thought of Donald Trump making a comeback is enough to keep us all spinning over.’
Tony Blair’s old Cabinet enforcer Lord Reid (Lab) was next. ‘Unmute!’ someone cried.
He was a surprising sight. Gone was that menacing character of yesteryear, leaving something softer, gentler. Chopper Harris devoid of bite. Strange.
Beckett called creaky Lord Brennan (Lab). Again silence. ‘Lord Brenn-nan’ she squawked sternly, like Nurse Ratched summoning him for his medication. Again, nada. Possibly the old boy had nodded off.
It took dotcom entrepreneur Lady Lane-Fox (Con) to inject a bit of oomph and glamour. She wore a shirt emblazoned with lightning streaks and specs even flashier than Dave’s. Reminded me of one of those chin-strokers in east London art galleries.
She asked whether Dave would have done anything different in his time. ‘Er, I don’t mean your whole premiership,’ she added quickly. Phew! It was 5.15pm after all, and, as Beckett kept pointing out, Dave was already running late. SamCam probably had him on supper duty.
Source: Read Full Article