Cameron’s legacy: Brexit and a divided kingdom?
If a decade or two passes us by and Britain is seen better off outside Europe, then Cameron would stand vindicated
Prime Minister David Cameron lasted as head of the Conservative party for 11 years. He headed the UK’s first coalition government since World War-2 and went on to lead with a parliamentary majority in 2015, the first for the Conservatives after 22 years.
Cameron will be remembered for three referendums – one to change the UK electoral system, which was rejected and the second one for breaking the Union and giving Scott’s independence, which did not happen. The third led to Brexit, and history will always remember him as the prime minister who took Britain out of the EU, leaving the UK's future in unparalleled uncertainty.
Cameron the politician was liked by all pundits. During his six plus years of tenure as head of UK conservative-liberal democrat coalition government he followed a robust economic policy trying to lift the UK out of the recession that hit the world after the financial meltdown of 2008.
Internally, he tried to unify the Conservative party and attempted to revive it by steering it more toward the center. His main achievement was to win the vote in parliament to allow same-sex marriage. Even though he lost some grass root conservative supporters, he also sent a strong signal about the country that he believed in, a tolerant and inclusive Great Britain.
In times of terror threat, economic fragility and migration pressures, Cameron should have measured the dwindling faith better and protected the street by not dancing to its tuneMohammed Chebarro
On an international stage he also took Britain to war and persuaded President Obama to bless the French and British intervention in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone against Colonel Qaddafi’s forces, which led to his removal from power.
In the Middle East, he went to parliament for a vote to sanction military action with the US against Assad’s forces. This was after finding the regime in Damascus guilty of using chemical weapons against civilian population. In August 2013, Cameron became the first British PM to lose a vote in parliament on military action in 100 years, an issue that dented his authority as a leader.
The post-Brexit legacy
It is too early to discuss Cameron’s Legacy as it is still hanging in the balance for which way the UK will go after Brexit. If a decade or two passes us by and Britain is seen to be better off outside Europe, then Cameron would stand vindicated.
But from our standpoint today the ordeal is yet to start and is likely to test Britain like never before. This test is coming at a time when division is looming within the governing party and the opposition Labor is in disarray with a leader short of leadership skills for testing times.
Cameron will go down in history as the youngest prime minister to lead the country in 200 years. Moreover, in my opinion, he would definitely be seen as a gambler without a vision. Yes, Cameron was a likeable politician, a family man, reliable and true to his words, and one that I would like to have as my neighbor.
But as a prime minister and leader steering a country in turbulent times I believe that Cameron sleep-walked into making true some promises that undermined parliamentary democracy and circumvented parliamentary procedures so dear to the UK.
In times of terror threat, economic fragility and migration pressures, and a common sense of vulnerability for an ageing population in the UK and most European nations, Cameron should have measured the dwindling faith better and protected the street by not dancing to its tune.
But the gambler in him took over and now, I reckon, history will see him rather simplistically as the man who took Britain out of the European Union.
Mohamed Chebarro is an Al Arabiya TV News Program Editor. He is an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He has covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London. He tweets @mochebaro