I first met David Cameron (Books, November issue) in the first week of the Michaelmas term at Eton College and I was immediately aware of a contrast. He was sleek, open and personable; I was rather nervous, there on a bursary having passed an extra exam.
It was immediately obvious how at ease he was, a princeling utterly familiar with the faux-Victorian battlements that surrounded us. I seemed to be an interloper, not quite a scholar and not quite the majority 'Oppidan' ( a full fee payer's son.)
A year later, we were walking along one of Eton's playing fields near the swimming pool in drifts of snow which reached our knees. I suggested we build an igloo by packing snow into it and compacting it to make ice bricks. He enthused, "Let's build it as well as the Eskimos do!"
In a surprisingly short space of time we had constructed it well, except at the point where the upward curve folded in to the 45º angle, each new attempt at placing the ice bricks ended in a slow slippage into a slushy pile in the middle.
David went off and returned a few minutes later dragging a square piece of thick, builder's chipboard. He then piled loose snow on the now flat-topped, square-roofed ‘igloo’.
I said: ‘That wasn't the point though, David, was it? You said we would make it as the Eskimos do.'
He smiled, and said, ‘No one will notice.’
We then smoked our roll-ups inside.
It was only years later that the resonances of his design solution that winter day struck me, David had entertained absolutely no notion of sticking to a plan, and thought that everything was only to be touched by him to acquire a sort of magical resolution even if it were false, but ‘No one will notice.’ It is when we see the fantasists now in government, led by our older contemporary, Boris Johnson, (known then as ‘the Yeti’) trusting in the so-called ‘sherpa’ Dominic Cummings, who will surely lead us not to some ‘Everest’ of free trade, but to a crevice from which we will have no escape. Everyone will notice.
Dom Ramos, Lewes