David Cameron can teach American conservatives something
America’s presidential hopefuls in the Republican Party and conservative think tanks have turned up their nose at British Prime Minister David Cameron over the past five years. After all, Cameron formed a moderate coalition with the minority Liberal Democrats. He likes U.S. President Barack Obama and gets on well with him. Most of all, America’s conservatives have never forgiven Cameron for not being Margaret Thatcher.
They should get over their childish pique and wake up. Cameron has just won his party’s first outright election victory in 24 years. He has won back to back elections enabling him to form two successive governments. He ended the Labour Party’s 13-year domination of British politics under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He appears to have consigned Labour to oblivion for a full decade.
Cameron’s record in government too puts America’s conservatives to shame. They are far better at huffing and puffing out of power, than at actually applying conservative principles when they finally win national office. The U.S. national debt and annual budget deficits soared under Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both twice-elected conservative icons. But Cameron has hacked 120 billion pounds sterling from Britain’s spending. And over the past five years he has created 2 million new jobs. That is the equivalent of 13 million new jobs in America.
Cameron honored Britain’s prior commitments to the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq but has phased Britain out of them. He has cut defense spending to a historic low. But he has still found the resources to build the two largest aircraft carriers in British history, the Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales. When completed they will be able to project British power around the world in ways only the United States can exceed.
What a contrast to America’s conservatives and to the Republican Party! They have not won a national election in 11 years. They lost the last two U.S. presidential elections to Barack Obama by margins of eight million and five million votes. The Democrats have decisively outperformed the Republicans in the popular vote in five of the past six elections.
It follows therefore that Cameron has many lessons to teach the GOP. And it is time for them to bury their ignorant and unjustified sense of superiority and start listening: If they do not, the fate of Britain’s long-mighty Labour Party will engulf the GOP too.
Next: Cameron’s First Three Lessons for Winning Elections
Please also read: David Cameron confounds pollsters in shock victory in Great Britain
Martin Sieff is a former senior foreign correspondent for The Washington Times and former Managing Editor, International Affairs for United Press International. Mr. Sieff is the author of “That Should Still Be Us: How Thomas Friedman’s Flat World Myths Are Keeping Us Flat on Our Backs” (Wiley 2012) and “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Middle East” (Regnery, 2008). He has received three Pulitzer Prize nominations for international reporting.