Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cameron exposed as weak, out of touch and as relevant as Demosthenes...

Eton-educated David Cameron showed how in touch he is with modern Britain by claiming Labour's Deputy Leadership contest made John Prescott look like a cross between Ernie Bevin and Demosthenes...

Most MPs at Prime Ministers Questions had the same response as me: Er, Demos who?

Ernest Bevin of course was a moderate trade union leader who became Labour statesman - best known for his contribution to the wartime coalition government when he formed the Bevin Boys to mine the coal which powered Britain's war effort.

I'm afraid I didn't go to Eton: and unfortunately the Robert Pattinson Secondary Modern School failed to familiarise me with Demosthenes...

I'm clearly not alone...Even the Tory benches looked totally gobsmacked when Cameron alluded to Demosthenes. But for anyone who needs to swot up on who he was, you can find him HERE.

The PM brought Cameron back to earth by letting him know that Labour will have a new leader in Gordon Brown who is strong - unlike the Tories whose 'Leader' bears the imprint of the last person who sat on him...

Tony Blair mocked the fifth Tory Leader he has taken on with the words:

I might remind you of what you said when you ran for leader: 'Consistency in politics is vital' - and you then proclaimed your support for grammar schools and selection!

Rather than you worry about our deputy leadership campaign, I think you should worry about your own leadership.
The BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson, noted after PMQs that Cameron’s biggest problem was that he’d been exposed as being weak.

By the way, as if you didn't know, that's Demosthenes in his glory on the right, not to be confused with Ernie Bevin on the left...

14 comments:

Michael Oakeshott said...

So just to clarify. Cameron is at fault because the thickos in Parliament didn't know Demosthenes? I see. I think more of them knew than you realise Phil. Anyone who studied history at a semi-serious school will have studied the Greeks, and even the dodgiest of teaching will have mentioned him - as probably nothing more than a perfect orator.

If they don't do this sort of thing in State Comps any more then that will probably explain why Oxford and Cambridge are not interested in their students(who apparently achieve record grades every year but seem to know less about everything).

The only people who think knowledge is elitest are the people who don't have any.

Anonymous said...

Most MPs at Prime Ministers Questions had the same response as me: Er, Demos who?

Perhaps they were simply astounded that Cameron could somehow clamber over his own partisanship and pay a compliment to John Prescott.

Paul May said...

Hmmm anonymous, perhaps, as the leader of the opposition, it was not a compliment but an attempt at irony? A very poor one mind, and a very ill thought out reference which left the chamber glancing at each other, lost. This is not because they are 'thickos', but because (like most of the rest of the country - the people Cameron is supposed to try and be relatable to) they were not born with an oversized silver spoon in their mouth, a toffy plum lodged down their throats and given an exclusive education at a school responsible for churning out a disproportionately large section of Cameron’s out of touch front bench. Having been to a comprehensive school, I have, to date, never suffered from my lack of knowledge of Demosthenes. Assuming you were privately educated, I doubt that conversely you could claim to have not suffered from being an unbearably pompous elitist snob with a superiority complex.

fairdealphil said...

cameron's attempt to impress us with his Greek classic knowledge has clearly backfired...

i suspect most normal people have more affinity with with the Labour MP who thought Cameron was talking about toilet cleaner...!

Michael Oakeshott said...

If so many of our public speakers have heard of Demosthenes then they are barely educated. If Labour MPs aren't educated that is their problem. I don't think politics should be dumbed down for the Big Brother generation, and I am sorry so many of them sit on the benches wearing Labour colours. They won't be there much longer though and they know it.

Perhaps the same Labour MPs would be better employed cleaning the Commons toilets.

Paul Leake said...

It used to be that you had to have heard of Demosthenes and the rest (and probably be able to read them in Greek and Latin) in order to run the country. Thankfully that's gone, but to expect only those ignorant of the classical Mediterranean cultures that indirectly shape our own to run the country is equally crazy. It shouldn't be a qualification but shouldn't be a bar. MPs don't forget their other pre-Parliamentary knowledge of law, trade unions, sciences or the intricacies of local government, many of which are just as arcane for the general public. Sure, it was an ill-judged question but Cameron shouldn't be excluded from office for his understanding of Demosthenes, Big Brother or the off-side rule but for his politics, principles and those of his party.

Paul - who also didn't do any classical history at his comprehensive school.

Deeping resident said...

Regrettably the link doesn't work in some browsers("h" missing from start of address, so here it is again in full:
http://www.crystalinks.com/demosthenes2.html
and the laugh is that Demosthenes (about whom I did not learn at my grammar school - we only did Latin, not Greek) "did not take an interest in politics and remained totally neutral throughout the Darkness and Chaos Wars," which does not sound at all like Mr Prescott to me!

He was not an orator as MO suggests but a god ... still doesn't sound *quite* like Mr Prescott .... but does suggest that MO knows no more about the subject than the rest of us ...

Paul Leake said...

Or that the link isn't to do with the correct Demosthenes

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demosthenes

is the one Call Me Dave referred to.

The crystallinks link seems to be about a fictional god for RuneQuest 2.

Michael Oakeshott said...

Deeping resident - I haven't laughed as much in weeks! Might be a good idea to have a clue what you are talking about before criticising me, otherwise you might look stupid. Oops...too late!

Seriously, thanks for that.

Idiot.

fairdealphil said...

deeping resident:

thanks for your valued contribution and for pointing out the careless dropping my h.

hopefully now restored to its rightful place...

anyway, don't worry about the rude remarks directed your way: the ejit doesn't know any better.

Michael Oakeshott said...

Haha Phil have you even understood what the fool did?!

I do hope Deepings Resident(who claims to have gone to a Grammar School - surely the most convincing argument against them yet) drops in again. I do hope he brings his brain next time though. Be sure and not confused between cartoons and real life in the meantime. There's a good lad.

fairdealphil said...

michael:

you're making assumptions again...

it's hardly surprising that deepings resident may have appeared a tad confused by Save Dave's Greek lesson, but then, irony a wonderful gift...

anyway, deepings resident may well live in japan as far as i know, as there is no grammar school here in the deepings....

meantime, i understand that the Demosthenes to whom Save Dave meant to refer is really here:

http://www.chemistrygroup.co.uk/pg.asp?p=1271

Michael Oakeshott said...

Yes if I was that stupid, I would claim irony as well...

fairdealphil said...

in fairness to Save Dave, i think he was trying to be serious, though i could be wrong.