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Dave Cameron

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/23/2016 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 254 times Debate No: 88689
Debate Rounds (3)
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Is David Cameron one of the weakest leaders the Uk has had?


I am pleased to accept my opponent's challenge. I will be opposing the motion that David Cameron is one of the weakest leaders the UK has ever had.
Debate Round No. 1


Hello and thank you for accepting this debate. I could have gone into great detail into this man, his failing's and weakness, and then he helped me hands down by disappearing to Lanzarote instead of staying here and explaining how he has not only managed to divide society but his party as well. This man's leadership qualities are questionable to say the least.


I will try and keep my response relatively short for this round.

I would argue David Cameron is not a weak leader. This is a man that took leadership of the Conservative party at a young age, going on to become the youngest PM since Lord Liverpool (1812) Despite polls throughout 2015 expecting him to lose the election, Cameron delivered a robust performance and ended up with a majority snatched from the jaws of defeat.

Cameron has made major changes to the welfare state and implemented his austerity policies despite being in coalition government. Since then, he has continued to do this despite divisions over the EU within his own party. Unlike John Major who had a very slim majority in parliament when he was PM, Cameron has actually instituted major policies (academisation, austerity) and has suffered only one major commons defeat since becoming PM. This says much about his leadership capabilities and his ability to make government work.

About the current position of Cameron. He is pro-EU and his party are very divided over Europe. He however he can't control the political motivations of some of his peers, (Boris Johnson, IDS etc.) who are motivated to gain politically once David Cameron stops being leader in 2019. Cameron is a man who has dealt and survived with good outcomes a number of political problems. He campaigned successfully in the Scottish Independence referendum and survived it, he won the 2015 general election despite polls indicating otherwise, and he is still running domestic affairs despite the party being bitterly divided over the EU. The fact the party are feuding says more about the party than Cameron's leadership, he has used the cards he has been dealt with (Recession,coalition, Scottish independence movement, Party divisions, slim majority etc.) and has made positive outcomes from them. A united UK, the fastest growing economy in the West, a lower unemployment rate and a 2015 shock election win. From this evidence I can certainly say David Cameron is not a weak leader.

I look forward to your response

(I am not actually a fan of Cameron and don't particularly support his policies, however I do believe he is a strong leader, given his circumstances. You can read this article by professor Kevin Theakson on his leadership, it is quite interesting and gives some insider perspective on his leadership. )

Debate Round No. 2


I will try to counter the points made by Fourthway about the election wins of Cameron in this round. Indeed David Cameron was young when he took leadership of the conservative party. In the build up to the leadership race their were a few circumstances which assisted Cameron to victory. The front runner David Davis had delivered a poor speech at the tory party conference which undermined his leadership hopes and this was apparent by the lack of supporting votes he received in the first round. Which Davis still won rather convincingly I hasten to add. When Ken Clarke then pulled out of the contest it left Cameron as the only candidate who represented the centre of the party, and we must consider this has become the main stage of political influence in this country, which is unfortunate and has led to the media friendliness of leaders being their main electable advantage.. The Tories wanted to emulate what they saw as the vote winning ground, what with the labour party still being in office. Indeed I doubt fundamentally you could put a sliver of light between Cameron and Blair on many issues concerning governance of the UK, and we must remember Cameron's closest political ally Osborne openly admits Blair is his political idol. So I would say emulating someone else is not the sign of strong leadership, quite the opposite in fact and many people still readily question what Cameron's beliefs actually are. Leaving this doubt in so many minds again is not the qualities I would expect of a good leader. Regarding the 2010 election with Brown in office (a man not liked in his role as chancellor) and the press swapping it's allegiance predominantly back to the Tory campaign, helped Cameron greatly. Again we know how close Murdoch and Cameron actually are, lets not forget the Coulson affair which left a wholly unpalatable flavour in the electorates mouth, not long after he took office. This is not winning on merit it is winning on favour. Brown had no redeeming qualities in the run up to the election, the bank bailout, the gold sale which is still brought up to this day for some reason, and his rather unfortunate tick which lets be honest in this nonsense age of politics seemed one of his biggest disadvantages. Especially compared to the rather quaffered waxy look of Cameron. Brown was not even an elected PM which is not attractive to the electorate.(Callaghan 1976 springs to mind) I must add I am not a fan of Brown or Blair in any way I see both of these as contributors to this country's woes. So back to the election with this torrid set of circumstances for Brown, and the boundary changes in 2005 (polled as a net benefit to the Tories) why could Cameron not secure a convincing win. I would suggest that in reality although palatable he lacks the spirit of true leadership.
Regarding the Scottish referendum I personally don't think Cameron campaigned well at all and the result is testament to this, we are still subject to the ramblings of the out campaign, who feel that even though gaining a good slice of the vote their voice was not heard and they continue to feel they are under represented. I will concur Cameron achieved his main objective the Machiavellian decimation of the labour party in Scotland, which combined yet again with the lack of Milleband's media polish, (bacon sandwich anyone) winged Cameron back into office. The pollsters hold no sway with me and I will not accept this adds to Cameron's presumed success, it just eradicates any faith in the polling industry in this day and age. I note after the election Lynton Crosby appeared to take most of the credit for Cameron remaining in office. Another Australian who Cameron had to rely on to do his rather vague bidding. Cameron and the whole country were debating the terms of the next coalition. The nation had no faith in him having a majority and by the way it looks neither did Cameron himself.

I have little time to cross check Cameron's loses in parliament, but I would suggest on many occasions he has had to concede to get the vote through, I believe this happened regarding the EU referendum legislation for example. This man although a professional politician is far from a conviction one. A good leader he is not.


I will try to counter my opponents counter arguments in this round.

Indeed Cameron had some factors assisting his rise to the leadership. However there were factors pulling against him such as his youth and inexperience. furthermore he wasn"t as popular with the Tory rank and file as Davis. My opponent is right about Davis" lacklustre speech. This contrasts with Cameron"s which was substantial and moreover delivered without notes. Cameron also gained traction from his triangulation of policies. e.g his vision for what he called a "big society" was enticing to Tories who wanted to make the party electable again. Whether one likes the big tent politics and policies of Blair and Cameron is subjective, but in any case Cameron proved to be an electable unifier in the party. His charisma and his inclusive, pragmatic, non-ideological leanings certainly show he is a good leader. (My opponent my argue his vision etc differs from what he practised once he was PM, but this was before the 2008 recession, this curtailed severely the Cameron leaderships ability to spend for the changes they campaigned for.)

As for the similarity argument between Blair and Cameron, I would more contend that they may have had similar styles. e.g a fresh, stylistic, charismatic big-tent approach. When Blair was PM he increased taxes and increased expenditure on social spending to a large degree (tax credit institution, family benefits etc.) Furthermore Blair was in favour of devolution while Cameron has been more restrained on it. You can thus see basic political and economic differences between the two. One can say Cameron copies style from Blair, but many Stylish, presentable, unifying politicians have existed, such as FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan etc who held these traits but were unique in many other areas as ell.

I would also like to prove wrong two of my opponents claims about Gordon Brown, leading him to make subsequent arguments about the debates question.

1 "Brown was not even an elected PM which is not attractive to the electorate."

The executive and the legislature are explicitly linked in UK politics. Members of cabinet have almost always historically been members of the commons or lords. Brown was a member of the commons for two different seats.

2: "Regarding the 2010 a: "election with Brown in office (a man not liked in his role as chancellor) b: and the press swapping it's allegiance predominantly back to the Tory campaign"

Why not? After Brown took the leadership following Blair"s resignation, the labour party took a two digit lead in the opinion polls over the conservatives. This indicates otherwise, and furthermore some policies were good, e.g giving the bank of England independence over interest rates. under the section: Cameron"s revitalisation of the Conservatives.

As for the press it is well known Brown is to the economic left of Blair, such a differing stance from Murdoch was bound to see a change in support in favour of Cameron as the lesser of two evils, as well as this the change came as Cameron had a realistic chance to win, unlike former leader Michael Howard. I can further say Cameron took the Tory party back from a two digit poll lag to winning the 2010 election with his vision, inclusivity and policies, despite the popularity of Brown. Brown"s position was only hindered following the 2008 crash which of course as the incumbent he suffered for it, despite the positive feedback towards his stimulus policies in other countries. (also found in Britannica link) Even then the conservatives could only get into government through coalition, so actually I think Cameron"s humble start position and innovations within the party changed the tide.

As for the Scottish Referendum I would argue the PM was fighting against a nationalist tide as for a while despite Labour"s devolution reforms Scotland was still leaning towards leaving. It was a combined effort and I"ll admit Cameron did not pull it off alone. Lastly no leadership is based on just the individual themselves. The teams they assemble play a pivotal role so I agree with my opponent that Cameron had a good team that worked wonders in scaremongering about the potential SNP-Lab coalition in 2015. This was the politically pragmatic thing to do, the fact Cameron had built a very good success story team since his leadership win is part of why he has a strong, pragmatic leadership. As for the polling industry it indicates more about people than pollsters, as many people were "shy" tory supporters who agreed with their policies in secret. This phenomenon is well documented.

On a final note I would say to my opponent that whether a leader is professional or convictional does not matter. For example tony Blair was "professional" and Thatcher was "convictional" and both commanded super majorities during their tenures.

Overall it can be said that Cameron"s 2015 election victory was admirable as was reflective of his effective leadership. There were many expectations in general that Labour would win that election, not just with pollsters, but also in the public vibe. Despite encountering many problems along the way, the Cameron leadership has been strong and effective in achieving it"s goals, against typically unfavourable odds.

I would like to thank my opponent once again for the chance to debate this issue. It has been interesting reflecting on Cameron's leadership.
Debate Round No. 3
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