Conservative Conference: Did William Hague's farewell speech really move David Cameron to tears?

What the ‘real’ Prime Minister felt, only he can tell

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Indy Politics

William Hague’s valedictory speech to Conservative conference was indisputably the high point of its opening day.

It was a farewell to politics from one of the great exponents of the old fashioned art of oratory, a moving, clever, crowd-pleasing and funny goodbye from a great prime ministers the Tories never had. David Cameron, for one, was moved to tears.

Or was he?

It is the second time this month that we have seen the Prime Minister on the point of weeping. Last time it was joy and relief when the Scots voted to remain in the United Kingdom that made him lachrymose. This time, his tears were a tribute to a man who was a Cabinet minister when David Cameron was a young researcher wondering whether to stay in politics or find another career. Hague has that other great advantage that - unlike Boris Johnson, his only rival in finding the Tory party's G-spot - he is no threat to Cameron because he is leaving Parliament at the next election.

David Cameron sits with Ffion Hague as her husband, Leader of the House of Commons William Hague, addresses the Conservative party conference for the last time in his political career (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

Politicians, like actors, have to know how to perform. A trained actor can cry when directed to. The tears convey the message that the person the actor is pretending to be is upset or deeply moved: they do not tell you anything about what the actor actually feels.

So it is with David Cameron’s tears. They tell you that the person the Prime Minister wants you to think he is was deeply moved by William Hague’s speech. What the ‘real’ David Cameron felt, if indeed here is a real David Cameron, only he can tell.