Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Celebrity Ladder Theory

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

The Celebrity Ladder Theory

Article excerpt

It was while we were sitting in a Starbucks in Norwich that the loneliness of David Cameron's position dawned upon him. It was our second visit to Norfolk within the month for a by-election campaign that had not even officially begun and, despite it being breakfast, his patience with the day had thinned.

"There must be some other f***** who can help out with the dogsbody work?"

"Not really, DC."

"That's pathetic. And unacceptable."

"More sugar?" Sometimes it can seem that my destiny has been to provide saccharine, in verbal or granular form, for the man who will be this country's 52nd Prime Minister. Once again, I pushed the bowl towards him and watched him take two cubes, and one for luck.

Acceptable or not, we are where we are at. Dave wanted a new party in his own image and has been granted his wish. The only impediment to his joy is that he is not just chief but only salesman for the project. We have managed to assemble a shadow cabinet absent of all the talents. It is hard to think of a more slothful man on the planet than William Hague--other than Ken Clarke, whose return to politics is beginning to look like his position on Europe: another of his jokes, which no one else understands but which keeps him chuckling for a decade. Little George Osborne is tricky, and the public are wise to it. Maude, Willetts and Letwin are bores. The Theresas (May and Villiers) are best avoided. Gove has gone missing. Hammond is useful only for anaesthetising a Newsnight audience. …

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