John Kerry remarked on Theresa May becoming the British Prime Minister on 13 July, “It happened rather quickly … It’s such a different transition arrangement than in the United States.I am amazed it happens so fast – how do you have time to pack everything?”
Cameron quit after Britons voted narrowly in a June 23 referendum to leave the European Union, having failed in his bid to persuade them to back remaining in a bloc the United Kingdom joined in 1973.
A smooth transition of power within 3 weeks; packing would possibly be the last worry burdening the minds of the ‘powers-that-be’. It is nonetheless a remarkable testament of the power of democratic processes in the land.
‘Nothing ventured,nothing gained ..’ but the Brexit referendum went all awry for Cameron who is known to have told Tony Blair, ‘ I was the future once’. Words that echo and possibly best represent his lasting legacy after serving as the PM for six years spanning over two terms.
Cameron’s legacy will be known after the real impact of Brexit on the UK and EU are known. It is the biggest ‘known unknown’ as of now. One cannot even surely predict who will win the laurels of this slugfest. For the voices supporting globalization, the world has fallen but as Tom Friedman so remarkably mentioned in his pioneering book, ‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’, sometimes the local culture would matter more than the luxuries of the modern way of life.
Cameron’s career may have been chequered but surely he will be happy to know some of the key changes he bought during his tenure. A quick laundry list would be the following –
- The concept of ‘ Free Schools’ that make it possible for the 99 % to access quality education that was the privilege meant for the 1 %
- The Scottish referendum going in his favor to ensure that the ‘United Kingdom’ stayed together. Possibly this made him rather complacent about pulling off the ‘Brexit’ one as well
- Equal marriage reforms that made UK a progressive society that embraced the modern relationships and choices people want to make in their lives
- Wage reforms that pulled a true miracle after the 2008 Financial Crisis – public jobs were let go off but the private sector more than made up for it by creating millions of jobs. It created its own problems as well – the success attracted a surge of immigrants and the groundswell contributed to the ‘Brexit’ vote.
Still it represents a great contribution that merits to be cherished and commemorated for sure. Whether it will happen though is a rather big ‘if’ …. the results will be known once the ‘Brexit’ outcomes unfold and the final picture emerges for us to judge the ‘victors’ and ‘losers’ of the grand churn.