Prime ministerial legacies are about party, not just country. That might save Daveby David Runciman / October 12, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in November 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
How is history going to treat David Cameron? Making snap judgments on a prime minister’s long-term legacy can be a dangerous business. When Tony Blair was cheered out of the Commons he looked set for a dignified, if lucrative, afterlife. It’s proved far more lucrative than anyone could have imagined, but barely 10 years on there’s not much dignity left. Blair is being fitted out for the role of statesman as pariah. On the other hand, some prime ministers have just the reputation their contemporaries might have anticipated. Did anyone wave William Gladstone out of the Commons muttering under their breath that history would cut him down to size? He looms as large as ever. Did anyone say goodbye to Anthony Eden thinking that his real accomplishments would eventually earn their due? Suez was never going to get out of the way, and it hasn’t. Sometimes, what you see is what you get.