When prime ministers leave, there is a chance to clear the decks, empty out the Rubbish and start afresh.David Cameron’s departure is no exception.
As he leaves Downing Street, we have an opportunity to assess and analyse all that he did in office, to place his actions and choices in proper historical context.
Will posterity record him as an ultimately disappointing prime minister, a man who never quite lived up to his potential and then destroyed his own premiership in a spectacular act of self harm over the referendum?
Or will we recall him in a more rounded way, remembering that he did rather more then call and lose that referendum, that he gave the country stable government in 2010 when it was sorely needed and that he kept the union together in the face of rising Scottish nationalism?
And of course will get the chance to assess some of the claims he made during his time in office, and maybe identify the ones that weren’t entirely honest.
For example his immigration policy, which is surely due a more critical examination: the man who promised to get immigration down below 100,000 made the promise knowing that he could not deliver it and that were he to do so it would not be in the interests of the UK economy.Likewise the referendum that ended him: he didn’t really want to do it in the first place and promised it hoping it never have to deliver on the promise.
But those of questions for historians to answer another day. Today I want to talk about cats.Or rather one cat in particular: Larry the Downing Street cat.
While the rest of the Cameron retinue is clearing out this week, Larry is staying on with Theresa May.Which raises all sorts of questions, but first: what sort of man moves house and leaves his cat behind?
The answer: a man who doesn’t like cats and never really owned the cat in question.
That’s right, Larry was a lie, an exercise in spin and branding. He was confected by spin doctors who thought the idea of Cameron having a cat would make him more likeable and warm, more like ordinary people.But the man himself didn’t like Larry and he doesn’t like cats.Anyone who has spoken privately to Cameron about Larry could sense the lack of affection: he refers to Larry as “it”, not “he”, for instance.