It was a family affair at this year’s Oldie of the Year awards. The magazine’s new editor-in-chief Harry Mount — who paid tribute to his predecessor, the great Alexander Chancellor — was joined by his second cousin, David Cameron. The former prime minister told hacks at the reception how much he missed Larry, the No 10 cat. However, it was Cameron’s mother Mary who stole the show.
As Lord Dubs and Vanessa Redgrave took home gongs for being both old and politically active, Mary Cameron picked up the ‘mothers know best’ award. Presenting the gong, Gyles Brandreth commended Mary for managing something no politician — bar possibly Diane Abbott — has achieved: she got Jeremy Corbyn to take her advice.
Referring to the PMQs when David Cameron told the Leader of the Opposition that his mother would tell him to ‘put on a proper suit, do up your tie, and sing the national anthem’, the judges noted that since that day Corbyn has looked rather smart — ‘clearly this woman is very effective indeed’. In accepting her award, Mary found faint praise for Corbyn — concluding that he now looks ‘reasonably respectable’:
‘I suppose I should share this with the Leader of the Oppositon, he looks reasonably respectable. I only wish my family were so obedient and I’d like to say good luck to him.’
While David cheered his mother for her achievement, Mr S couldn’t help but wonder: does this mean Mary is now the most influential member of the Cameron clan?