The baby-faced British Prime Minister David Cameron is, at first glance, miles away from his world weary and heavy-set historical counterpart, Sir Winston Churchill. But they share a penchant for tough decision making during even tougher times. In an interview with the current prime minister, Niall Ferguson draws certain parallels between the two.
When last December, he refused to sign on to the latest rescue plan for the Euro, his Conservative party members hailed it as an act of Churchillian defiance. Cameron would not let British interest be swayed by a larger force.
Not content to forego British national interest while witnessing human rights abuses, Cameron assumed a central role in the U.N. campaign against Gaddafi’s Libya, and is currently pressing for a hardline diplomatic solution to the threat posed by a nuclear armed Iran. Even when favoring diplomacy, he keeps his options open. “Nothing is off the table,” he says.
At home he has been forced to be equally tough. His austerity program has seen cuts not witnessed in the U.K. since World War II. They are difficult decisions to make, but Cameron remains pragmatic: “It is a difficult path, but a path the country has to take.”