By Anthony Sheridan
His legacy will be defined and blighted by how he left office. Above all he will be blamed for Brexit.
The above is how an Irish Times editorial described the resignation of David Cameron.
Let’s try to figure out how the Brexit referendum ‘blighted’ Cameron’s legacy.
He decided to ask the people of the UK if they wanted to remain or leave the European Union. Now, admittedly, he did so under pressure from UKIP but that’s realpolitik for you. From what I observed Cameron conducted the campaign in a statesmanlike and honest fashion. Within hours of losing he delivered an impressive speech announcing his resignation – how does this blight his legacy?
Compare this to Irish politicians when they lose referendums. The democratic will of the people is ignored, the result is not accepted, and there are no resignations. The people are patronisingly told that they must have misunderstood the issue and are forced to vote again. Democracy is, in effect, suspended until the government gets its way.
Now lets compare this ludicrous assessment of Cameron’s legacy with how the legacy of the criminal politician Charles Haughey was assessed by former editor of the Irish Times, Geraldine Kennedy, in 2006.
Keep in mind that Haughey was a national traitor responsible for infecting the body politic with the disease of corruption. He plundered the state’s resources for decades and lived on bribes from rich businessmen who were richly rewarded by the criminal at the expense of Irish citizens. He was a ruthless bully and serial perjurer; he was a man who betrayed his wife and family for decades by openly whoring with every slut that came within range of his sleazy presence.
This was Kennedy’s assessment:
On this day, however, it is worth acknowledging that Charles Haughey was the most charismatic figure in Irish politics in living memory. Though small in stature, he had a great presence. He was an astute parliamentarian. He possessed his own particular sense of nationhood. And for good or ill, Mr. Haughey’s character, ambitions, beliefs and flaws are an integral part of the development of this modern State.