I was sorry to see that David Cameron felt he had to resign after being defeated in the EU referendum. Although he decided as Prime Minister to associate himself with the Remain campaign, the issue of our EU membership was big enough to transcend normal politics and he would have been justified had he wished to carry on and steer the country through the negotiations that will undoubtedly follow now that the British people have made their choice.
Both the Conservative Party and the country as a whole owe Mr Cameron a debt of gratitude. He took over the party after it suffered its third consecutive election defeat and forced it to modernise and adopt social values that were more in keeping with public opinion and the spirit of the times. Upon entering Downing Street he faced the crucial task of stabilising the economy in the wake of the global financial crisis and puting the country’s finances on a sound footing. A social reformer, he empowered his Cabinet colleagues to undertake radical changes to the delivery of public services. His offer to the Liberal Democrats of a genuine coalition in which the third party had ownership of policy decisions showed that he was willing to put the national interest above party interest, but also helped anchor the Conservatives in the moderate centre ground of politics. Unfairly derided as a politician obsessed with image and spin, he took some big and bold decisions and on subjects like gay marriage or the referendum on Scottish independence, when he believed in an issue he staked his reputation on it and argued it with passion.
History will be kinder to David Cameron than today’s pundits, and he will be remembered for more than the outcome of the EU referendum. I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next.