Thursday, 29 July 2010

Cameron is our time's Chamberlain

Chamberlain was wrong on one issue, one very large issue. He was naive enough to think that his little white paper, stroked by the wind as he fervently shock it at Heston in 1936, actually meant something real. It turned out that the only thing real about it was the underlying realpolitik it represented for the Nazis.

Cameron is appeasing everyone it would seem on every issue and it would appear that he is pissing of his only friends, other than his enemies, that he has left. Join the EIO, let Turkey join the EU, the UK is the "junior" partner etceteras...


James Higham said...

The end is nigh for Pink Dave.

Edward Spalton said...

Chamberlain was Prime Minister of a democracy which was by no means mentally ready to accept a war. You only have to see the newsreels of the deliriously relieved crowds outside Buckingham Palace to know that.

The Labour party had opposed rearmament because its left wing feared the arms might be used against its darling, the Soviet Union. To rearm was to be a "warmonger" in their view. Yet it was the Labour party which later poured its vitriol on "the guilty men of Munich".

The French cabinet had decided not to take steps against the remilitarisation of the Rhineland (by a majority of one)for similar reasons. That was the crucial moment which was missed.

Churchill said that Chamberlain "saw the world through the end of a municipal drainpipe". That was probably right although an unkind way of expressing it. Also, large sections of influential opinion were still keen to do a deal. The FBI (Federation of British Industry, ancestor of today's CBI) was hard at work trying to make agreements with its German opposite numbers well into 1939.

For an insight into government thinking of the time, try Sir Nevile Henderson's "A Mission that Failed" (He was Ambassador to Berlin). Appeasement might have worked with a rational character but not with unappeasable ideologies like Nazism and communism.

subrosa said...

Aye, Mr Cameron's not doing too well regardless of his PR credentials.

Good post Edward.