A great mess, a greater Britain: corked Cameron

The Prime Minister made a long triumphalist speech yesterday. It was unstructured, light on policy and full of nonsense. Perhaps it was not entirely his fault. There comes a point in the career of any politician where the level of their success takes them far away from reality.

While a sycophantic media noted down his banal and dangerous remarks, Cameron elaborated a bizarre vision of a greater Britain. As a result, he forgot that the nation is an imagined community as Benedict Anderson once theorised. It is a social construct which cannot carry the weight that reactionary politicians place upon it. Patriotism alone cannot unite a country. Nor can an economic strategy which is inherently divisive.

The speech should have been a conciliatory one. It could have contained policies which were generous to Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the poorer parts of England. Instead it trumpeted a faux concern for equality of opportunity and social reform. With a small majority and a critical referendum on the EU to come, Cameron fell into the trap of attacking Labour. His cheap jibes and contradictory attempts at policy triangulation were not worthy of him.

The UK faces the real prospect of rising inequality and potential relative economic decline. Its diverse people need a break from ham-fisted politicians who are deaf to environmental concerns. Climate change will put much more strain on the system just as the managers of that system focus on more nebulous matters.


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