During his resignation speech Cameron played the perfect Tory and the perfect politician. I took note of some of the most preposterous things that came out his mouth. If listening to him doesn’t make you throw up, you can watch the full speech in the video below or read the transcript in the Telegraph.
Calling out the Prime Minister
CW: mention of gaslighting (only in the first paragraph)
It seems like in his speech, Cameron is gaslighting the whole world, as he is recreating our present reality by reshaping our memories of the past and denying his own violence. Gaslighting is a serious form of abuse, where the abuser tries to convince the victim of a version of reality that suits the abuser by manipulating the victim through denying reality and convincing them of a different version of the past. The purpose is to make the victim fond of the abuser so as to still be able to benefit from the uneven power relationship.
Blaming the people for Brexit
Throughout the speech Cameron makes sure to allocate the blame to the people for the horror that’s to come (If you want to know why we are devastated by Brexit read yesterday’s post). The first four sentences he utters all stress the people’s role in this decision.
By throwing a big number at us (33,000, 000 people) and making sure to mention every single one of the many countries that had a vote (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar) he makes sure to make it sound like everybody and their mom decided for this to happen. After all, as he says, they ‘all had their say’. He conveniently leaves out that the population of 16 and 17 year-olds was not allowed to vote, as the costs would have been too high, apparently. Two people I know who aren’t in the UK at the moment registered a proxy to vote for them but neither of them ever got a polling cart. Obviously this is not some sort of conspiracy, it’s just a testament to bureaucratic democracy failing the people.
Taking credit for people’s achievements
cw: mention of suicide in the following paragraph.
‘I believe we’ve made great steps, with more people in work than ever before in our history, with reforms to welfare and education, increasing people’s life chances, building a bigger and stronger society, keeping our promises to the poorest people in the world and enabling those who love each other to get married whatever their sexuality, but above all restoring Britain’s economic strength’ – this is probably the part that angered me the most. More people are working, and what he doesn’t tell us is that most of them are working more hours for less money finding it increasingly hard to survive. Budget cuts to the NHS, which he is responsible for, are affecting already marginalised people to such an extent that suicide rates are rising so he is decreasing people’s life chances across the board.
Then the dirty Tory dares to take credit for ‘enabling those who love each other to get married, whatever their sexuality’, shitting all over the hard work the people put into this great achievement over decades (plus it is still hard for trans people to even get recognised by institutions, not to mention actually getting married).
Denying his own role
Cameron makes sure to distinguish the decision of the people very clearly from his own campaign for a Britain that’s better off in the EU. He tries to make us forget the horrendous Tory propaganda he has been responsible for, for at least the past six years. He makes us forget that it was him and his government that riled up everyone, from working class people to rich-as-fuck ‘liberals’, against immigration, against muslims, against Eastern Europeans and against the EU.
He tries to make us forget that it was his racist, ableist, classist and misogynist politics that sent the population into despair and made many feel powerless and hopeless. It is his politics that made people like Farage acceptable and even popular. And it is Cameron who is to blame for Brexit.
Playing the martyr
Cameron said: ‘The British people have voted to leave the European Union and their will must be respected’ and ‘The will of the British people is an instruction that must be delivered’ – all of a sudden he is playing the civil servant. A fine civil servant who is blaming the people for his resignation as their decision is so different from his ideology which is why ‘the country requires fresh leadership to take it in this direction’. Nice one, first he messes everything up and then he leaves it to even more conservative and right wing politicians to take it from here. And he is trying to sell this screw up as in the best interest for the people?
Some casual nationalism
‘Britain is a special country’ and ‘I love this country’ reproduce the imperialist narratives of Britain’s greatness and ability to conquer all no matter how hard times are. It feeds right into the ‘we can do it on our own if we stick together as a nation’ storyline that has recently been made popular again through romantic adaptations of the ‘Keep Calm and Carry on’ War time slogan, versions of which are decorating everything from pillows, to mugs and pet food bowls.
Cameron knows however, that the world has changed and Britain has changed so he scrupulously appropriates British diversity to advance a sense of nationalism by pretending that he too, like most of the British people, thinks the melting pot culture to be a good thing: ‘And while we are not perfect I do believe we can be a model for the multi-racial, multi-faith democracy’, he says, trying to make us forget that it was his government who put islamophobic and xenophobic anti-immigration laws into place and that under his government police brutality against people of colour has risen.