That whole David Cameron being Prime Minister thing was weird, wasn't it? He always seemed like he had been rather imposed upon us, like an unjust law. Possessing no apparent personal qualities of charm, charisma, or even competence, forever puffing and chortling like a big posh balloon, he just sort of emerged one day, before he suddenly became Tory leader, and then was immediately inducted by the press as Prime Minister-in-waiting, "the heir to Blair" as he put it. He ended up being the leader of the land for six years, before anyone could work out how he got the job.
Even when he finally resigned, Cameron standing down as PM didn't feel like big enough news. The Brexit debacle meant we were allowed little if any cathartic release from his finally fucking off, and no period of sustained reflection about what the Cameron years meant. And yet, this was a mess Cameron was directly responsible for (sure, he campaigned for us to remain, but it was his idea to have a vote to begin with, and his lacklustre "new EU deal" that set the tone for the debate). The man was a disaster for British politics. He left us with a legacy as debilitating as it is utterly toxic. David Cameron deserves every disrespect that we can possibly throw at him. His name ought to be one of those sullied in the manner of a Nixon or a Chamberlain.
Thank the lord, then, for Piss Cameron, the hilarious and frankly disgusting collection of 'political grotesque' vignettes (short little micro-stories mostly, and poems) that might just provide us with the satirical, critical model necessary for understanding the Cameron years.
Self-published immediately after the Brexit vote by the San Diego-based writer IllllllllllllI (real name Grant Leuning), Piss Cameron was originally inspired by the events of 2011. The then Prime Minister, speaking to the press from an EU summit at which he had just won some tough concessions from France and Germany, announced – astonishingly enough – that he had accomplished the feat as a direct result of holding in his piss. Apparently this was a technique he had learnt by watching a documentary on the life of Enoch Powell, the fascist former Tory MP. Powell apparently used to hold his urine for as much as 24 hours before making an important speech. "You should do nothing to decrease the tension," Powell once advised. "If anything, you should seek to increase it."
Cameron, in Leuning's portrayal, is utterly, monomaniacally fixated on piss. And he is, it is true, an absolute master of piss, and pissing. He is a master of holding it in – which he can do, apparently, for months – and a master of releasing it: Cameron can control his stream of urine to the extent that he can piss clean over a car without spilling a drop, expel enough at once to drown an overly enthusiastic underling who tries to drink from his potty as he pees.
Cameron is seen bursting at the skin from holding his piss for so long, his organs sodden and turned black, his gums yellow with urea that has been forced up from his oesophagus
He is depicted, in the various short stories, telling a captive audience about pisses he has taken as a youth and onanistically humping his mattress as he pisses his bed. In these stories Cameron is pissing merely for the love of piss. But piss is also associated, in Piss Cameron, with political power: Cameron's preternatural pissing abilities not only help make him a hero amongst his bragging posho buddies, they also, by his own account, make him the person most qualified to run the country.
In 'Doctor', the vignette that constitutes the stylistic high point of the collection, Cameron is seen bursting at the skin from holding his piss for so long, his organs sodden and turned black, his gums yellow with urea that has been forced up from his oesophagus. When his doctor quizzes him on this, Cameron declares that, as he continues to fill up more and more with piss, "I can feel my powers rising… And my frayed nation begins to twine back together." He is holding his piss, Cameron says, precisely for the good of the British people (Cameron does not, of course, succeed in solving all the nation's problems by holding in his piss – during an operation to help alleviate his pain the doctor accidentally ends up bursting Cameron, and all the piss gushes out of him like a ruptured oil tanker.)
This might all sound rather bizarre (it certainly seems clear why it had to be self-published). But as well as being funny, Leuning is able to communicate to us a sense of Cameron's real strangeness – his peculiar apartness from ordinary people and their concerns. This is something that mainstream satire, or even serious political commentary, never seemed able to grasp at all. Cameron was always capable, through his social policies, of doing great violence to the lives of ordinary Britons – without ever really seeming to care. In this way, he gave the sense of being motivated by something beyond us, some hidden, transcendent value-order which we do not generally share in.
Of course we might want to say that this order was really "money" or "capitalism", but even then – at least in capitalism's own understanding of itself – some sort of benefit ought to accrue to regular folk as well; the prosperity of the rich, so the story goes, ought to "trickle down" to us poor suckers. Under Thatcher, under Blair, this trickle-down effect was experienced by enough for these leaders' relative popularity to make, despite all the concomitant injustices, a certain sort of sense; under Cameron, no one seemed to benefit in any way at all. The way that Cameron government behaved, it was as if the ruling class's interest in money had been transmuted into something like an interest in piss: an interest that was weird, foul, and ultimately did trickle down on us all.