David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference might well be his last before he is elected by media acclaim as our next Prime Minister, but I am constantly reminded of scenes from two films every time I have this dreadful premonition.
The first is perhaps the less memorable of the two. In ‘The American President,’ a truly awful film I might add (although arguably the pilot for the West Wing), Michael Douglas plays a widowed President who falls for an environmental lobbyist, and dates her in the full glare of the modern media
The President’s media guru, played by Michael J. Fox, urges him to combat the Republican Presidential candidate’s constant, and ever increasing, attacks on the character of the President and that of his girlfriend. Fox exclaims, ‘when a man is in the desert he’ll drink the sand when he can’t find water.’ The President replies, ‘the problem is he can’t tell the difference.’
The other is the sweeping deserted vista into which Damien Green is abandoned, by James Bond, at the end of Quantum of Solace with nothing but a can of engine oil to sustain him, eventually he drinks it, knowing it will kill him, but with no other choice for salvation.
This is Cameron’s pitch. The desperation of the British people is turning to him, not because they want to, but because they have no choice and the mellifluous words he utters makes them think he can make the world better. They cannot tell the difference between real change and the sand he offers.
The progressive forces in British politics, the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party, must offer the public fresh water, and quickly, before we are all forced into the Conservative desert.