David Cameron is a war leader. We know this because he has told us so. Outside is a gathering storm. We face tribulations without modern parallel. But he will unite a nation, and, together, we will persevere.
The leader at a time of crisis requires many attributes. He must have the foresight to project a clarity of purpose. He must have the humility to reach beyond the confines of party, and embrace his opponents. He must also have a fair slice of luck.
As Labour has found to its cost, David Cameron has those attributes. He would not be prime minister without them. He has set out a cruel, but clear, strategy on deficit reduction. Entered coalition with the Lib Dems. Narrowly prevailed in an election against a demoralised and exhausted opponent.
But leadership, especially war leadership, requires one quality more than any other. Courage. And David Cameron is not a brave politician. He is a cowardly one.
This week he had a choice. He could stand up to his partners in Europe. Or he could stand up to his euro-sceptic back benches. He did neither.
Cameron surrendered to demands for a 2.9% increase in the European Union budget, having initially talked brazenly of a freeze, or even a cut. Then he pandered to the europhobes by pretending to have secured a “spectacular” victory.
His only true achievement was the way he managed to unite both left and right in ridicule. “He’s tried to swing his handbag but simply ended up clobbering himself in the face”, said Yvette Cooper. It was a “Vichy style” betrayal, raged Norman Tebbit.
As Uncut has noted previously, David Cameron has a history of marching away from the sound of the guns. His child benefit panic. The u-turn over his plan to reform the 1922 committee. The ditching of “compassionate conservatism” when he feared Gordon Brown would call a snap election.
To date, style and spin have masked these deficiencies. Labour must also take its share of responsibility for failing to expose him. But “Yellow Dave” is as much reality as “Red Ed” is caricature. And it is Cameron’s, and the Conservatives’, Achilles heal.
We are indeed facing turbulent times. The enemies of fairness, social justice and tolerance are at the gates. It requires a bold and brave leader to confront them. Dave le Jaune is not that man.
Here are Uncut’s best-read pieces of the last seven days.
Stella Creasy says the loan sharks are circling, and the government doesn’t care
Jessica Asato on negative campaigning
Tom Watson’s anatomy of a Downing St spin day
John Woodcock finds glimmers of hope amid the grey
Chris Bryant’s poetic take on the cuts
Dan Hodges says PMQs is no playground – Parliament matters
Eric Pickles the ‘transparency champion’ refuses FoI request