Theodore Dalrymple has written an eloquent, insightful review on the memoir of David Cameron:

David Cameron’s supreme achievement is banality

For a man to have been at the peak of political power for six years and to have written a 700-page memoir without a single arresting thought or amusing anecdote, without giving any insight into the important people he has met, and without displaying any interest in, let alone knowledge of, history, philosophy or higher culture, is an achievement of a kind.

Public relations as the queen of the sciences

In a sense, Mr. Cameron is a Kantian: he believes that we can never get beyond appearance to things in themselves. Behind presentation there is no substance: just more presentation, so that public relations is the queen of the sciences and opinion polls must be consulted as Roman soothsayers consulted chicken entrails.

A “bread and circuses” populist against Brexit populism

Mr. Cameron castigates supporters of Brexit as populist, but he is himself a firm believer in the circus-division of a bread-and-circuses regime, for example counting Britain’s high tally of medals in the London Olympics as a great national success and cause for pride, rather than as evidence of a shameful and frivolous concentration on a trivial diversion during a period of national decline. 

Conserving the principle of statism

Mr. Cameron poses not only as a man of the people, but also as a conservative, admitting in his memoir, however, that he means by this the pursuit of progressive ends (that is to say, the fashionable nostra of the day) by conservative means: once again, the form without the content. And insofar as he can be said to have any philosophy at all, it is profoundly marked by statism

“Valuting ambition” + “utter mediocrity” = Cameron

In the end, I felt slightly sorry for David Cameron. There is no plumbing his shallows. As politicians go, he was obviously at the decent end of the spectrum, he was no monster; but when vaulting ambition (as his must surely have been) is allied to utter mediocrity, the result is… 700 pages that are a torture to read.

Cameron’s memoir may not be worth reading, but the entirety of Mr. Darymple’s “arresting and amusing” essay, David Cameron’s Big Lie, surely is.

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