Sunday, August 27, 2006

Cameron Recants

The Observer leads on David Cameron's recantation on South Africa. In an article in the paper he says his party made "mistakes" with respect to "relations with the ANC and sanctions on South Africa" (Just "mistakes"? It wasn't actually wrong? It doesn't actually make him feel ashamed that the Tories gave so much succour to the apartheid regime? I know, it was just an "error of judgement", a "moment of madness", and shouldn't be taken "out of context"). Anyway, this is typical of Cameroonian "gesture politics": sixteen years after the release of Nelson Mandela it costs nothing and helps Cameron in his attempt to make the Tories look like humans. True, it enrages Bernard Ingham and such-like but that is probably all to the good in appealing to the wider electorate. The lessons he draws from this? Well, one is "the importance of humility" (no doubt at some stage he will expand on this on Richard and Judy's couch). The other is "the importance of patience when trying to achieve long-term change". This is a suitably conservative theme but one hopes to God he didn't expatiate on the subject in his recent meeting with Nelson Mandela (who must be sick to death of photo-ops with celebrities and wannabees). Meanwhile, the YouGov poll in the Telegraph puts the Conservatives 7 points ahead on 38%. The Cameron strategy (touchy-feely, policy-lite) may seem to be working but I think this is more to do with Labour's travails. I still think the Cameron bubble could burst. On Cameron's recantation Mike Terry of the Anti-Apartheid Movement hit the nail on the head. Cameron, he said, should listen to what Mandela has to say "about the Iraq war, about the Middle East or about the need for resources to adress HIV/AIDS". Mind you, vis-a-vis this last, so should Thabo Mabeki.


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