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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: The Posh Boys are back in charge. I’m just surprised George Osborne didn’t get the call to join Call Me Lord Dave. Couldn’t afford the pay cut, I suppose


If Call Me Dave is the answer, what was the question? Where did Rishi Sunak get the idea that recalling the former Prime Minister and making him Foreign Secretary would be the solution to the Tory Party’s woes?

It smacks of desperation, on a par with Gordon Brown sending twice-disgraced Peter Mandelson to the Lords and restoring him to Cabinet as the last Labour government hurtled towards inevitable defeat.

Like Sunak, Gordon had no mandate from the country. And though he’d been a successful Chancellor – until the money ran out – the top job proved beyond him. Same goes for Rishi.

Struggling at home and overseas, he has brought back Call Me Dave to add his well-padded ‘bottom’ to this fag-end administration.

All it has actually served to do is underscore his own inherent weakness, which became ever more apparent after last week’s lacklustre King’s Speech.

If Call Me Dave is the answer, what was the question? Where did Rishi Sunak get the idea that recalling the former Prime Minister and making him Foreign Secretary would be the solution to the Tory Party's woes?

If Call Me Dave is the answer, what was the question? Where did Rishi Sunak get the idea that recalling the former Prime Minister and making him Foreign Secretary would be the solution to the Tory Party’s woes?

To observe that Dave isn't entirely in step with current foreign policy would be an understatement

To observe that Dave isn’t entirely in step with current foreign policy would be an understatement

Out of ideas, out of touch with Tory voters and rapidly running out of road, it’s difficult to see what this bizarre last throw of the dice is supposed to achieve.

Sacking Suella Braverman as Home Secretary was a surrender to the woke Whitehall Blob and the Remainer rump on the Conservative backbenches. No wonder arch-EU fanatic Michael Heseltine was crowing last night: ‘We’ve got our party back.’

Sue Ellen may have rubbed the Establishment up the wrong way but she spoke for a sizeable chunk of public opinion, especially those in Northern constituencies.

Out of ideas and out of touch with Tory voters 

Call Me Dave doesn’t. Although he has been on the outside for seven years, he is a jet-setting Davos disciple and paid-up Brussels toady.

Shifting James Cleverly to Home Secretary opened up the Foreign Office for Cameron, but it’s a big gamble. To observe that Dave isn’t entirely in step with current foreign policy would be an understatement.

Last night, Sunak was making a speech at The Guildhall in the City of London extolling the success of post-Brexit Britain on the international stage. But if Cameron had managed to keep Britain in the EU, we wouldn’t have the ability to pursue an independent foreign policy, or carve out free trade deals without interference from Brussels.

Cameron also pursued a ferociously pro-China policy and still goes into bat for Chinese interests at a time the UK and our U.S. allies are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s influence around the world.

Sunak made a speech at The Guildhall in the City of London extolling the success of post-Brexit Britain on the international stage

Sunak made a speech at The Guildhall in the City of London extolling the success of post-Brexit Britain on the international stage

But if Cameron had managed to keep Britain in the EU, we wouldn't have the ability to pursue an independent foreign policy, or carve out free trade deals without interference from Brussels

But if Cameron had managed to keep Britain in the EU, we wouldn’t have the ability to pursue an independent foreign policy, or carve out free trade deals without interference from Brussels

There’s no doubt he looks the part. I always thought he gave great Front of House. But there are obvious questions about his judgment both in office, when he stopped the civil service preparing for a Leave result, and out of office, when his post-No 10 get-rich-quick scheme involved lobbying for a collapsed financial company still being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.

And although Dave’s got an impressive contacts book, his negotiating skills leave much to be desired. Brussels ran rings round him, yet he still recommended their insulting Remain ‘deal’, assuming the British public were too stupid to see through it.

When the referendum result was announced, Cameron flounced off into the sunset with indecent haste. But if he really cared about public service, which he cites as his reason for returning to Cabinet now, he’d have accepted the result and stuck around to sort out the mess of his own creation.

Cameron became Prime Minister after taunting Tony Blair: ‘You were the future once.’ Cameron was the future then, but in 2023 he’s the past. Who wants Yesterday’s Papers?

Or to quote another Chris Farlowe hit: You’re obsolete, my baby, my poor old-fashioned baby, you’re out of time…

The Return of Call Me Dave is not the only depressing aspect of this panic-button reshuffle. Four short years after a landside election victory delivered by an historic coalition of voters from across the country, the Conservative Party has reverted to type. Along with Cameron, I’m only surprised George Osborne didn’t get the call, too. Couldn’t afford the pay cut, I suppose.

OK, so there’s a smattering of women in the Cabinet, but the truth is: the Posh Boys are back in charge. This is a new-look Government designed to appeal to Centrist Dads, not former Red Wall voters.

Most of the prominent Leavers have been forced out — not just Boris, but Priti Flamingo, Liz Truss, Nadine Dorries and now Sue Ellen and Therese Coffey, to name but a few.

Cameron also pursued a ferociously pro-China policy and still goes into bat for Chinese interests at a time the UK and our U.S. allies are increasingly concerned about Beijing's influence around the world

Cameron also pursued a ferociously pro-China policy and still goes into bat for Chinese interests at a time the UK and our U.S. allies are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s influence around the world

And although Dave's got an impressive contacts book, his negotiating skills leave much to be desired. Brussels ran rings round him, yet he still recommended their insulting Remain 'deal', assuming the British public were too stupid to see through it

And although Dave’s got an impressive contacts book, his negotiating skills leave much to be desired. Brussels ran rings round him, yet he still recommended their insulting Remain ‘deal’, assuming the British public were too stupid to see through it

No wonder Hezza is ecstatic at the reshuffle. The self-styled ‘grown-ups’ are back in town. OK, so Sunak voted Leave and so did Cleverly, the new Home Secretary. But one of the bones of contention which led to Sue Ellen’s sacking was her determination to take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) should Supreme Court judges, as expected, rule the Rwanda migrant deportation scheme illegal this week.

Cleverly says he intends to be resolute in stopping the small boats crossing the Channel, but under this new Cabinet the chances of the UK quitting the ECHR are less than zero.

Sunak clearly prefers consensus to confrontation and the likes of Cameron and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, another slavish EU enthusiast, are never going to support withdrawing from the orbit of the European Courts. If they had their way, we’d still be in the Single Market and Customs Union.

On that, and a raft of other issues, there’s barely a cigarette paper between centrist Tories and Labour leader Keir Starmer. With Hunt still resisting strident calls for meaningful tax cuts from desperate Tory backbenchers, who rightly fear annihilation at the next election, if and when Starmer does become Prime Minister will anyone notice the difference?

The speed and extent — and enthusiasm to a degree in some quarters — with which the Conservatives have squandered what should have been an unassailable 80-seat majority is mind-boggling.

No wonder Brexiteers like Iain Duncan Smith are in despair. No wonder the backbenches are restless and dozens of MPs are talking about writing to the 1922 Committee expressing no confidence in the PM and demanding another – another – leadership election. 

Braverman is none too subtly threatening a horrible revenge. Far from shoring up his Cabinet, sacking Braverman and bringing back Cameron could be the end of Sunak. It’s difficult not to sympathise with those demanding a snap general election.

Sunak clearly prefers consensus to confrontation and the likes of Cameron and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, another slavish EU enthusiast, are never going to support withdrawing from the orbit of the European Courts. If they had their way, we'd still be in the Single Market and Customs Union

Sunak clearly prefers consensus to confrontation and the likes of Cameron and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, another slavish EU enthusiast, are never going to support withdrawing from the orbit of the European Courts. If they had their way, we’d still be in the Single Market and Customs Union

Since he appears to have alienated much of his own party, perhaps Rishi should have gone the whole hog and decided to form an emergency government of national unity. He could even have sent an SOS to Heseltine. Your country needs you!

At the Cenotaph on Sunday, I spotted an entire conga line of ‘grown-ups’ he could have called upon. Counting Sunak, there were eight Prime Ministers, past and present, on parade.

 No wonder the Brexiteers are in total despair

Gordon Brown would probably have jumped at the chance. He tried to hang on by his fingernails in 2010. Mother Theresa stayed on the backbenches after being deposed and would no doubt welcome the opportunity to resurrect her Cabinet career.

Boris might not be up for it. Not just yet, anyway. And I’m not so sure about Liz Truss, this soon, either. But I bet Johnny Major wouldn’t mind lending a hand between Test matches. As for Blair, how about asking him to become Middle East peace envoy?

Sorry, I forgot. He did that for a few years after leaving No 10. Doesn’t seem to have worked out too well, does it?

So Call Me Lord Dave it is, then. But if he really is the answer, I’m afraid the question is lost on me.  



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