Understanding British Politics today: David Cameron’s last day in the pit

The nitty gritty of British parliamentary democracy in action. Apparently, George Bush Senior, who witnessed a parliamentary debate, was absolutely terrified.

To fully enjoy this text, you might want to check the meaning of blithely, wryly, to toady, crumpled, an attire, devoid, the ranks, to rouse, to pervade, sixth-form, spick & span, spry (adj), shenanigans, friendly fire, to flinch, to unravel, upsetting, Eton, to muster, a tricky situation, to giggle, to resign, to be appointed, dizzy, havock.

To improve your English, from the text, find the meaning of ‘barbed’ ‘puffy’ ‘shortage’ ‘cheerful’ ‘crane’,’barracking’, ‘deuce’, ‘a tight spot’ & ‘respite’.

Understanding British Politics today: David Cameron’s last day in the pit

Understanding-British-Politics-today-David-Cameron’s-last-day-in-the-pit

HE WAS the future once. Those words, hurled so blithely by David Cameron at Tony Blair, the Labour leader in 2005, hung over the outgoing prime minister’s final session as Conservative leader in Parliament. He could not resist wryly using them about himself.

Far from the usual weekly session of barbed interrogation by foes and ritual toadying by supporters, this felt like an impromptu show with a star still stunned at realising the curtain has fallen. For Mr Cameron, who spearheaded the Remain campaign in the EU referendum, Brexit meant exit.

Facing him was a bouncy Jeremy Corbyn, honouring the occasion with a dark jacket and tie instead of his usual crumpled beige geography-teacher attire. Mr Corbyn, the Che Guevara of the British Left, is the embattled leader who all orthodoxy suggests ought to have been on his way out by now. Devoid of parliamentary support, he presides over a worsening civil war in his ranks.

Yet the man waving goodbye, deep lines around puffy, exhausted eyes, was Mr Cameron. Luckily for him Mr Corbyn was playing safely from the baseline on his trusty topics of gay marriage (delivered by modernising Tories with Labour votes), the return of a prisoner from Guantánamo Bay (not a rousingly popular achievement among Conservatives), the housing shortage and failure to redistribute wealth. “A deep sense of malaise” pervaded Britain, sighed Mr Corbyn, who is rarely cheerful about the condition of modern capitalism.

Nonsense, responded Mr Cameron, in the brisk tones of a headmaster dealing with a sixth-form Spartacist uprising. Convenient statistics whizzed across the net. No one much cared. Tories craned their necks in premature devotion towards a spick-and-span Theresa May, Mr Cameron’s spry successor.

The cheers and barracking reached stadium volumes. Tories jeered Labour’s mess. Labour howled back on the grounds that they don’t much rate their leader, but dislike being told how flawed he is by an opponent who has just had to resign.

Mr Corbyn cited Nina, one of the civilians (invariably lacking surnames) who pepper these encounters. An EU citizen, Nina was worried about deportation. Mr Cameron, having consulted briefly with Mrs May, reassured Nina she would be fine—as long as other countries in the EU tolerated Brexited Britons.

Then it was the turn of Judith, who had written to the prime minister (heaven knows why) about the shenanigans in the Labour Party and her fears of what might happen next in the exchanges of unfriendly fire on the Left. Deuce.

Angus Robertson, the Scottish nationalist leader in Parliament, intoned that he was not prepared to be nice to the prime minister who had taken Scotland out of the EU. Mr Cameron, who led the referendum campaign in 2014 to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom, flinched. To lose one battle for a place in the European Union is embarrassing. To prompt the unravelling of the United Kingdom is rather more upsetting.

Etonian debating skill was swiftly mustered to save a tricky situation. Had he not been prime minister during two British Wimbledon wins, both delivered by Andy Murray, a Scot? Not for the first time, Mr Cameron’s perky humour got him out of a tight spot. Shortly before 5pm, the Cameron family stepped outside the door of 10 Downing Street for a final wave. One small daughter wiped away tears. A smaller one giggled.

Off went the prime minister in a smart, silver British motor, to tender his resignation to the queen. There was a short interregnum between Mr Cameron leaving Downing Street and Mrs May accepting the appointment as his successor, during which the country had no official prime minister at all. After the dizzying havoc of the past few weeks, it felt like a welcome respite.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.

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