David Cameron is the Member of Parliament (MP) for Whitney and is the United Kingdom’s current Prime Minister, a position he has held since 2010. He was born to Ian Donald Cameron, a stockbroker, and Mary Fleur, a former Justice of the Peace in Marylebone, London in 1966.
When he reached his teens he went to Eton College, an independent boarding school in Berkshire, which throughout its history has educated much of the next generation of Britain’s establishment. Having excelled in his A-levels he managed to secure entry to Oxford University to study PPE, (Politics, Philosophy and Economics) a degree commonly studied by those looking for a career in politics.
During his time at the university Cameron was also a member of the Bullingdon Club, an exclusive male-only group infamous for its laddish behaviour, excessive drinking and damaging of property. The journalist Andrew Grimson once said about the club: "I don't think an evening would have ended without a restaurant being trashed and being paid for in full, very often in cash.”
After graduating with a first-class honours degree in 1988 Cameron started working for the Conservative Research Department, a central cog in the Conservative Party machine, and from there he built up his reputation within the party, eventually becoming a special advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and then to the Home Secretary in the early 1990s.
In 1997 he finally got the chance to win a seat in the House of Commons having been selected as the Conservative Party candidate for the constituency of Stafford in the UK General Election. It was widely thought the area would yield a majority for the Conservatives. But on Election Day he was defeated by the Labour Candidate David Kidney for the seat, winning nearly 50% of the vote to Cameron’s 40%.
However, when election time came round again in 2001 he won the parliamentary seat for Witney in Oxfordshire with a majority of 16% over the Labour candidate. Having been elected he managed to attain a position on the Home Affairs Select Committee in Parliament where, despite being a Conservative, he argued that the state take a more liberal line on drugs.
Four years later, just after the Conservatives had failed to win yet another election against Labour under the leadership of Tony Blair in 2005, the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, resigned, setting in motion a leadership election which Cameron, despite being a relatively young MP, roundly won. He then proceeded to turn the Conservatives into a centre-right party, rather than a more solidly right-wing party as it had been under its previous leaders, wanting to gain the support of parts of the electorate who were more liberally minded. He presented a party which was open to green policies, which wanted to strengthen the National Health Service and which promised to match Labour’s public spending.
However, when the economy went over a cliff due to the global financial crash of 2008, with banks having to be saved by massive state spending, Cameron cleverly seized his chance and put the Conservative party on the offensive, claiming that the Labour government had spent too much during its time in office and as a result the state was bankrupt. In the run up to the general election of 2010 Cameron thus promised to restore Britain’s economy by making large cuts to public spending. It was due to this promise of economic competence after the supposed economic incompetence of Labour that the Conservatives won the most seats in the 2010 General Election.
And though the party did not have enough seats in the House of Commons to form a majority government, with 306 out of a possible 650, they managed to agree to form a majority coalition with the Liberal Democrats, who had won 57 seats. Cameron thus became Britain’s first Conservative Prime Minister of the century, a role he managed to retain in the 2015 General Election last year, returning to power with a small Conservative majority.
Image: By United Kingdom Home Office [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons