Glorious sunshine, as I write, I have just come back from the beach. As ever, it was gloriously unpeopled! I’m never sure why that is but I suspect it may be that walking is just an old-fashioned pastime now. Exercise means the gym or thumping along a pavement; it must have purpose. Few are inclined to go for a saunter and soak in the view, while at one with their thoughts. I suppose golf involves fresh air and walking in picturesque surroundings but I’ve never felt the need to take a club with me. I do, however, still feel very lost without a dog. I stood for a while and watched – from a distance – an old man in his swimming trunks playing with his two dogs in the shallows. Simple pleasures and a joy to see – the spectacle, not the man! Not a dog walker in sight, either. Perhaps people walk their own dogs in St Andrews … The tents and the stands are now in place in preparation for the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship which starts next Thursday and there is a definite buzz. The same celebrities seem to return year after year to this historic little town and one can understand why. Must be like an annual camp; a boys’ reunion … in the Old Course! Hugh will be packing his case, as I write, beside himself with excitement. It’s been a year. Hopefully, he won’t recognise us!
Blethering over. Scene set. Subject? David Cameron. With his memoirs out this week, he has been all over the media and I have found his interviews compelling. Three years on since that disastrous referendum, his personal account of that time has taken us back to the source of today’s mayhem reminding us, at once, of the part each character has played. In particular, Boris, Michael Gove and George Osborne. If only Shakespeare were alive, one can only imagine the great work he could have woven around such egos.
I liked David Cameron, when he was Prime Minister, but with a small ‘l’. I always found him a bit bland and his lips are too thin. Added to that, he reminded me of our hideous neighbour across the road known to us as ‘DIY Dave’. He had his sorrows to seek, therefore, as my mother would say. Anyway, shocked, like so many, at the winning vote to leave, I was surprised when he resigned immediately and did feel that he had taken the easy option. In hindsight, I would bring him back in a heartbeat and, particularly, after this week.
I watched The Cameron Interview, courtesy of Tom Bradby, on Monday and it was clear that he was very nervous. Held responsible, by most, for the country’s mess, he was like a lamb to the slaughter but I was impressed from the outset. He was human, holding his hands up, in hindsight, for decisions which have had dire consequences. Clearly, made for the right reasons, he could not have anticipated the actions of the other key players and, in the end, he facilitated the opening of the sluice through which the flood waters are still pouring. Not an insignificant load to carry.
I believe him. Not always convinced in the past, he seems open and honest now. That could, however, merely be in contrast to Boris with whom Shakespeare could have had the most fun. Somehow, Iago in Othello comes to mind: scheming, manipulative, clever and no great fan of the truth! Not so David Cameron. Distance from the ring, as it were, seems to have given him perspective; mellowed him. No longer on the front line, he has accepted the part he played, reliving every decision. His book, For The Record, affords him the opportunity to justify these decisions as he has eloquently done in his numerous interviews this week. Courtesy of a clear conscience, it would seem he has nothing to fear. Candid and, in many respects, humble, he is light years away from the ‘disasters’ now left brawling it out in the political arena.
More important by far than any of that is David Cameron, the man: the husband, son and father. Forgive me, but I remember – many years ago – his defence of his father when he died. Sketchy, I remember being enraged as he fought his corner with regard to his father’s investments and his supposed silver spoon upbringing, as his son. I felt for him then and understand even more now. Fervently proud of his father and appreciative of a wonderful childhood, he stood his ground in the face of … let’s face it, envy.
Years on, he was to face a parent’s worst nightmare – the death of his six year-old son, Ivan. No words. Humbling in the extreme … you’d think. Not so for all. The inhumane voice of the editorial in The Guardian – online, 15th September, if I am correct – referred to his loss as ‘privileged pain’. Withdrawn almost immediately, there is no scope for forgiveness. Human nature at its most depraived. Asked about the death of his son, David Cameron’s eyes filled with tears; the insurmountable emotion, the lasting grief clear to see. Father, son, husband … politician. Inextricably linked, it seems his passion for all has been unfailing.
A fitting place to end but I cannot do so without comment on Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and George Osborne. Regarded as allies of the former Prime Minister, Michael Gove, in particular, was a valued confidant; a close family friend. Julius Caesar and Brutus come to mind. Betrayal. To my mind, Michael Gove embodies the part he played – slimy, sly, disloyal in the extreme. Boris? The manipulative, shallow ‘clown’. George Osborne? He gives credence to the word ‘priviliged’, at its most abhorrent.
David Cameron’s week, I shall buy his memoirs and read with interest. I suspect, however, that my opinion will not waver …
‘I loved the Boy with the utmost love of which my soul is capable, and he is taken from me – yet in the agony of my spirit in surrendering such a treasure, I feel a thousand times richer than if I had never possessed it.’
William Wordsworth. (Excerpt from a letter written to his friend, Robert Southey, on December 2nd, 1812, informing him of the death of his six year-old son, Thomas – the day before – from measles.)
Words. The very key to the soul.
This is Trish, signing off.