With Brexit weeks away, many see the former PM as the man who wrecked Britain. Cameron’s memoirs will reveal more but meanwhile, we ask his friends and former colleagues: where did it all go wrong?
In the icy depths of late January, just as Theresa May was absorbing the latest parliamentary defeat for her Brexit plan, David Cameron landed in the sunshine of southern India. He had been hired to deliver a lecture on geopolitics, plus a few amusing cricket anecdotes, in Chennai, in honour of the late Indian entrepreneur KS Narayanan. The businessman was known in his home country for quitting while he was ahead, retiring at the height of his powers. Cameron, however, is better known for doing the opposite.
The official line is that the man who brought us Brexit, and then walked away whistling from his final farewell to the nation, has no regrets; that all will explained in the memoirs he is due to publish later this year, and that meanwhile he is enjoying an agreeable retirement on the international speaking circuit. In private, it’s not that simple. He may be more sanguine about it than his old friend George Osborne, but Brexit has divided the Camerons’ social circle just as it has divided the country, and they have not been spared the backlash. One society hostess entertaining the couple recently had to ring fellow guests in advance, checking that they would be able to keep things civil; not all the responses were positive. Even his wife Samantha’s Instagram feed, devoted mainly to holiday snaps and puffs for her new fashion business, is occasionally invaded by passersby criticising her husband.