Cameron the "Common Purpose" Prime Minister
There was a lot of fuss a few months ago when the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby declined the invitation to be a patron of the RSPCA. Some saw it as a snub; others as a 'deliberate distancing'. But Lambeth Palace reasonably explained:
“Since taking office in March this year, the Archbishop has received many kind invitations to patron a large variety of charities and good causes. Each invitation has been an honour, and in an ideal world he would like to accept them all. However, in light of the sheer volume of requests the Archbishop receives, and the many pressures on his time and resources, he has reluctantly decided to restrict his patronage to a manageable number of organisations, based on where he feels his support could be most beneficial."The "ideal world" scenario of accepting all such invitations is, of course, a gracious expression of appreciation, but an absolute nonsense: when you are new to a senior office of state, you will be very wary indeed of each and every invitation to become associated with organisations and individuals. Indeed, you will have a dedicated staff whose job it is to research backgrounds, form a view and then advise in order to protect your office and person from association with fraudsters, malcontents and unsavoury political activity.
And when that request to associate is a formal invitation to become a patron - to have your name very prominently tagged to an organisation's aims, ethical standards and objectives - you choose very carefully indeed, and limit yourself to those with whose aims, ethical standards and objectives you agree and can devote time to supporting.
This will be the case for the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Queen, and the Prime Minister, if not for all bishops, the whole Royal Family and all politicians - commons and peers.
So when David Cameron plays down his patronage of the Dishaa Venture, and insists that its non-disclosure in the Register of Members' Interests was simply an "administrative oversight", you can safely bet that someone is being a little economical with the actualité.
Apparently he accepted this honorary position in 2010 - the year in which he became Prime Minister. On the Common Purpose website, we learn that "Dishaa is a Venture that expands, enriches and energises relations between India and the UK. By fostering discussion amongst diverse leaders it builds shared approaches to 21st century political, economic and social challenges and expand the existing partnerships, friendships and dialogues that are already taking place."
But who or what is Common Purpose?
His Grace isn't here to spoon-feed you: Google them.
And then ask yourself why a Conservative Prime Minister - or, indeed, any Conservative - would want to be associated with a group that, according to Philip Davies MP, is "trying to get their tentacles into every nook and cranny of the Establishment to pursue their Leftist, pro-European political agenda".
And he adds: "Common Purpose don’t want a free press because a free press exposes what they are up to."
So David Cameron freely associates his name and office with an organisation that seeks to diminish our liberties and negate our sovereignty.