Surf's Up and Cameron Needs to Stand Up

Without wishing to get all psychoanalytical, there does seem to be a parallel between Cameron's reluctance to stand up and surf and his apparent inability to stand up as a respected world leader.

Every year we get dozens of images of Dave on holiday, as though he's a sex-crazed Inbetweener in Magaluf or 'finding himself' on a gap year and posting tedious generic 'adventures' to Facebook. Sadly, even with his numerous holidays, he never seems to find himself but instead maintains the impression of a blushing impostor in constant fear of being exposed as a sham. An untalented Mr Ripley.

The images from his holidays are drearily repetitive. The same shirts, shorts, grimace, compulsive pointing and Mr Bean-like attempts to surf. Brits have watched with some embarrassment Mr Cameron's attempts to ride the waves. His sporadic board-straddling antics can evoke the same cringing irritation as watching Charlie Brown try to kick the ball in Peanuts. Charlie Brown has the excuse that a mean girl always grabs the ball before he can make contact. Cameron has no such excuse - his battle is with gravity and ability. He simply can't get to the level where he confidentially stands up and rides a decent-sized wave.

Without wishing to get all psychoanalytical, there does seem to be a parallel between Cameron's reluctance to stand up and surf and his apparent inability to stand up as a respected world leader. Fair enough his party hasn't won an election for 22 years, but he did manage to stumble through the door of Number 10, somehow. And after four years we would hope he would at least try to graduate from being a political belly-boarder to someone who can stand up and ride the waves like a grown up. He may never have gravitas but he could at least try to fight gravity.

Cameron has got a lot of negative media attention for the number of holidays he takes. I confess to making one or two mentions of this myself. I'm sure it isn't jealously fuelling these 'attacks' - if the public thought Cameron was doing a good job as prime minister there wouldn't be a problem. The issue is that Cameron has failed the country on so many issues that it is galling to see him taking more holidays than a pampered trustafarian, Made in Chelsea socialite or hotel heiress. Even Paris Hilton, since becoming a DJ, appears to work significantly harder than David Cameron does in the summer months.

The fact is Dave wouldn't be mocked for failing to stand up on a surfboard if he could stand up in his job and ride the waves of significant events rather than duck them. To stand up in his job would mean standing up against tax avoiding corporations, standing up against shady financiers and standing up for those many people who have been abused - especially when alleged perpetrators are in his own party. Over the years Cameron has intimated that these are important issues which he wants to tackle, yet his progress is at least as slow as his progress as a surfer.

Dave might only have five or six holidays left before next May's general election and so the window of opportunity for him to actually stand up on a surfboard before leaving office is closing. Perhaps he should instead concentrate on trying to stand up as a politician and make a mark.

If, for example, Cameron dares to stand up against those who would wish to keep 'VIP' child abuse covered up, he could go down in history as the prime minister who dared lift the rotten carpet and expose decades of predation. If, conversely, he decides to keep paddling around belly-down in the shallow water, it won't merely be that he doesn't make a mark but will be remembered as the prime minister who had a chance to take on something massive and sinister but bottled it.

Whether or not Cameron dares to stand up for this wave, the fact is it's bigger than him and it's going to flood the complacent beach of Westminster regardless. He can either raise himself up and try to surf it or try to duck it. If he does duck it, however, his recent claims to being 'child friendly' will seem insincere and he has no guarantee that he won't be caught in a rip current and dragged out of his depth anyway. As William Pitt - or perhaps it was Gary Busey - once said: "Sometimes you have to surf or die".


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