Cameron’s NCS Legacy Under Fire

David Cameron’s recent memoirs and media round has given him the opportunity to try and define his own legacy from the ashes of his forced departure in 2016; one of the most prominent examples he has been offering has been the National Citizenship Service, which he set up in 2011 as a taxpayer funded gap year provider for 15-17 year olds. Picture the IDF training programme but ziplining instead of national security…

However, it looks like the NCS itself may be on its last legs – mired in controversy, investigations, a swathe of examples of misspent public funds and providers pulling out. Cameron’s search for a successful legacy will have to re-open…

Cameron’s crony, Michael Lynas, had been leading the project since its inception – who insiders have said was never up to the job in the first place having no experience in leading such a project (taking up the reins after briefly working for Cameron in No. 10). Lynas officially announced his resignation in September without giving a reason. Seems suspicious, however Guido reckons he knows why…

Guido understands the NCS is currently subject to a handful of investigations, not least by DCMS – an investigation apparently being headed up David Knott at the direction of Nicky Morgan – looking into the trust’s leadership, in addition to that of the National Citizen Service Trust (which has previously been subject to NAO and PAC reports criticising financial control, governance and transparency). Did Lynas jump before he was pushed?…

Despite receiving around £180 million in public funds, Lynas has also previously refused to disclose his salary. However, his record on spending taxpayers money doesn’t give Guido reassurance, having previously moved the NCST offices from a £100,000-a-year shared space to a new swanky £1.1 million pad in Kensington; and spaffing around £10 million up the wall on a ‘brand refresh’ for the Trust.

Taking all this into account alongside the NCS’s largest provider pulling out a month ago, and it looks like Cameron’s project is on its last legs. Once the NCS goes the “Big Society” will be just a well-meaning idea that didn’t catch on…

UPDATE: A letter seen by Guido from the Chairman of The Challenge (recently the largest provider of the NCS programme until pulling out a month ago) to Nicky Morgan, in which he savages the behaviour of Lynas and others, that “gives the appearance of an organisation wilfully concealing its own failures by using The Challenge as a scapegoat”. 

Bill Ronald also accuses the NCST of “[exposing] young people to potentially life-threatening safety risks through a flawed medical assessment process”. Just last month, David Cameron – who remains the Chair of NCS Patrons – said Lynas could “be proud” of the work he’d done at the NCS…

Cameron’s Memoirs Reduced by 20% at Tory Conference

The signs were never good for David Cameron’s autobiography, following reports of slow pre-orders and a backlash over publishing the memoirs at such a fractious political moment. A sign – if one was needed – of how much he is struggling to flog the book can be seen at the Tory conference bookstall, where the book is currently reduced by 20%. For comparison, Thatcher’s books are selling very well at full price…

Perhaps spurred on by this, May announced at the Henley Literary Festival today that she doesn’t have any plans to write an autobiography at the moment.


This does presume May could actually find a publisher willing to take her on of course…

Cameron Calls for Remainers to Accept Referendum Result

Last night’s The Cameron Years on BBC1 is well worth a watch. The hour long programme ends with a surprisingly impassioned rallying call from the former Prime Minister for Remainers to stop trying to cancel the result of the referendum…

“But of course in the end, the country voted to leave. You might not like that and I might not like that, and many people watching this programme may think that was the wrong choice. But we are a democracy.

We decided to hold a referendum, we voted in an election for a party that wanted a referendum, we voted nine out of ten MPs for a referendum, we held the referendum. That’s the choice that we made, and that is the future for Britain.

That is something that can be delivered, that should be delivered, and it can be made to work.”

Elsewhere in the documentary, Cameron was keen to slay the Remainer myth that he only called the referendum for ‘party management’ reasons. He emphasised that there was a clear problem with the UK’s relationship with the EU that needed to be solved, and that every major party at some point in the last fifteen years promised a referendum on Europe. The hypocrisy of people who voted for a referendum but now try to claim it should never have happened is far worse than any of Cameron’s failings…

Cameron on That Guardian Leader

Cameron on that shameful Guardian leader…

“There is no privilege in holding your eldest-born child in your arms as their life drains away. Death knows no privilege.”

Cameron: Regrets, I’ve Had a Few

Last night ITV aired the first extensive interview the former Prime Minister has undergone since leaving office. Cameron was scathing about the Leave campaign, Michael Gove and Boris Johnson. He hit out at prorogation and told ITV‘s Tom Bradby that he wanted the 21 expelled anti-Brexit rebels to be let back into the party. His memoir ‘For The Record’ will be released on Thursday. Watch the interview in full here

Boris on Arch-Rival Cameron

In leaked un-redacted court documents obtained by Sky, Boris made clear his opinion on former PM and ex-Eton chum, David Cameron:

The whole September session is a rigmarole introduced by girly swot Cameron and show the public that MPs are earning their crust.

Hammond Himself Said Voting Leave Could Lead to No Deal

The latest mendacious line to come from the hard Remain camp is that “nobody was told that voting Leave could lead to no deal”, with Philip Hammond going into overdrive this morning and claiming it is a “total travesty of the truth”. The problem is, as usual, it’s the Remainer line that is a “total travesty of the truth”.

Change Britain have looked at what Remainer politicians actually said and, surprise surprise, everyone from David Cameron and George Osborne to Dominic Grieve and Hilary Benn repeatedly warned voters that voting Leave would lead to Britain leaving the EU after two years, deal or no deal. Along with a certain Rt Hon. Philip Hammond M.P. at the Despatch Box in the House of Commons…

Thatcher Voted UK’s Greatest Prime Minister Again

There’s some more bad news for Jeremy Corbyn to digest as he chews through his porridge this morning, the British public has chosen his arch-nemesis Margaret Thatcher as the UK’s greatest Prime Minister on the 40th anniversary of her taking power.

Thatcher took 21% in the poll of post-war Prime Ministers, beating Churchill on 19% and miles ahead of the rest of the competition. There were just enough diehard Blairites left to get Tony Blair into third place with 6% of the vote. Will the ChUKas even manage to match this in the EU elections?

The country doesn’t agree with the plethora of (Remoaner) historians who’ve been queuing up to brand Cameron the worst Prime Minister in history, 2% still carry the torch for DC. There’s no such consolation for Theresa May bringing up the rear on nul points…

What’s David Cameron Up To?

JOE.co.uk have produced a pretty spot on mashup of David Cameron’s chillaxing time since the referendum, and George Ezra’s hit song Shotgun. Worth a watch…

Tory Defections: Then and Now

The defection of the three Tory MPs to The Independents Group today has seen an outpouring of comments ranging from sadness to… sadness from their former Tory colleagues. Theresa May is “saddened”, David Cameron is “sad”, Claire Perry is “extremely sad”. All get thanks for their “dedicated service”, with the door being left open for them to return if they change their mind…

So presumably it was the same outpouring of thanks, hugs and condolences all round when Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless left for UKIP in 2014? Don’t be silly…

David Cameron branded Reckless’s decision “senseless and counter-productive” and accused Carswell of helping Labour. Carswell was accused of “betrayal”, “petulance” and “political vanity” by Tory MPs while Reckless was even sued by his former local party. All topped off with Claire “Brexit Jihadis” Perry’s ever classy “Don’t let the door hit your fat arse as you leave”…

David Cameron ‘Disagrees’ With Tory Defectors

Former Prime Minister David Cameron has emerged from hibernation in his shed put out a statement responding to the three Tory defections today, saying he respects their decision but disagrees with them. Pointedly he notes how the Conservative Party “has long been able to contain different views on Europe”. It always has, but now the pro-EU faction isn’t getting its own way for the first time in years they are calling it “entryism” and throwing their toys out of the pram…

David Cameron Doorstepped on Whitehall By Sky News

The former PM says that he “fully supports” what Theresa May is doing. Apparently he was off to see some papers in the Treasury for his book…

Boris is Still UK’s Most Popular Politician

Boris Johnson tops out YouGov’s list of politicians by popularity, with a positive rating of 32%, when you look at the net approval ratings Boris is 3 points ahead of Theresa. The other Tory frontrunners to replace May, David Davis and Sajid Javid come in at 18th and 33rd respectively. Despite the unforgiving treatment in the remainstream media Boris still has better net approval ratings than both May and Corbyn…

More people have heard of Jacob Rees-Mogg (72%) than Ruth Davidson (62%), however the people who have the highest recognition ratings are Boris, May and Corbyn coming in at 97%, 100%, and 98% respectively. This helps explain Sajid’s dismally low numbers…

Finally, the public don’t appear to be too enthusiastic about a David Cameron comeback. Despite his name recognition, Dave comes in at 23rd, with just 18% approval and a worse negative rating than Nigel Farage…

Friday Caption Contest (Shed Responsibilities Edition)

Entries in the comments…

Dave and Boris Slam May Plan

Sky reports David Cameron and Boris Johnson met last night, where they agreed Theresa May’s Brexit plan was:

“the worst of both worlds”

Cameron Asked Obama to Say UK Would Be “At Back of the Queue”

Confirmation from ex-White House staffer Ben Rhodes on the Today programme this morning that David Cameron and his aides asked Obama to say Brexit would put the UK “at the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US. Can’t think why the Remain campaign working with foreign countries to diminish Britain wasn’t popular with voters.

DC in NYC, Not Nice

Oi, Dyer, get yer facts right, mate. David Cameron ain’t “in Nice with his trotters up”. He was in a bar in NYC last night watching the England match.

He was spotted by fellow England fans who started chanting “Davey, Davey, give us a wave!”

UPDATE: Reminder that Danny voted to Leave. Telling the Telegraph “I’m gonna be straight with you; I voted Leave and I’ll tell you why; because I’m f**king sick of politicians doing f**k all.” Unfortunately the current PM is committed to doing f**k all as a matter of policy.

Danny Dyer on Dave

Danny Dyer tells Good Evening Britain that David Cameron is “in Nice with his trotters up” and should be held accountable for Brexit. 

Political Prospects for Pot

William Hague coming out for legalising cannabis is a welcome new development, though he isn’t the first former Tory leader to do so. Back in his groovy WebCameron days David Cameron told Guido “If it can be proved that there are real benefits, medicinal benefits and scientific evidence for it, I would be relaxed about that… my decision would be to licence it if it could be proved to have benefits.” Home Secretary Sajid Javid was convinced by the scientific arguments to grant an exception for Billy Caldwell. What are the prospects for the exception becoming the rule?

The international context is important. With many US states decriminalising medical cannabis it is becoming more acceptable at government level. In Europe the experience of more liberal regimes can be shown to have improved rather than worsened matters. Countries are granting licences for medical cannabis more readily – Malta is introducing legislation to enable it to become the EU’s leading medical cannabis exporter. The spirit of the age is for liberalisation.

The normalising of cannabis use beyond dope smoking teenagers is becoming more widespread. Many people now have the personal experience of an auntie or granny who uses weed to deal with their arthritis pains, never mind those with more serious conditions like MS and cancer. This social development has made the perception of cannabis use less negative.

Domestically we now have a generation of politicians who have used and are familiar with the reality of cannabis use and don’t see it in the demonic terms that non-user politicians of the past might have. With the departure of Paul Dacre from the public stage they also no longer fear a monstering from the Daily Mail if they do speak out in favour of a more liberal, rational policy. Think tanks are now pointing to the tax raising potential of legalised cannabis. The stars are aligning for decriminalisation, though judging by the reported rows in cabinet, one Tory leader stands in the way…

Dave On Hot Mic: “Has The Former Chancellor Been Helpful Tonight?”

Dave was on a morale-boosting visit to CCHQ ahead of the locals last night – while browsing the Evening Standard he was caught on a hot mic by young Tory Robert Langley. The former Prime Minister wondered aloud:

“Has the Chancellor, the former Chancellor, been helpful tonight… oh no, not particularly [laughter]… ah, no way…”

He seemed to enjoy it a little too much…[…] Read the rest

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Peter Mandelson tells Emma Barnett…

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