The Camerons’ newfound ostentation

Free from Downing Street, the Camerons have cast off their pretensions of frugality.


The carefully curated Ikea backdrop has gone
(Image credit: Copyright (c) 2016 Rex Features. No use without permission.)

The Camerons may have left Downing Street last year with their tails very firmly between their legs, but this evidently hasn't reduced their taste for fancy living. A few weeks ago David's £25,000 "shepherd's hut" made the headlines, and now it's the turn of his wife.

Photographed by fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar at their "quintessentially English cottage", Samantha Cameron was unable to resist boasting about her newly launched fashion label for clobber that retails for between £150 and £450. Naturally such prices only sit "somewhere in the middle of Samantha's own wardrobe of elegant classic pieces", which include a £1,960 chiffon dress.

Mrs Cameron's extravagance is surprising because she has previously said that "she can't afford designer clothes because she has children and a mortgage", notes Sarah Barns in The Sun. Naturally, the furnishings in their house aren't exactly cheap either.

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They include "a £1,200 sheepskin rug by high-end homeware line OKA and a portrait by 18th-century French master Jean-Baptiste Greuze, whose work is displayed in the National Gallery". What's more, while Samantha complains that their "family nest" is "falling down", the reality is that the Cameron's originally "paid £650,000 for their constituency home" and it "is now worth a staggering £1.5m".

"While her husband was still in office, baronet's daughter Samantha always took pains to play down her elemental poshness and his n' hers discreet wealth," says Jan Moir in the Daily Mail. The couple were always photographed against "a carefully curated backdrop of John Lewis saucepans, Ikea cabinets and a Habitat wall clock", and Samantha stuck to "high-street heels", and "dresses from Marks & Spencer". However, "now David has left politics to write a memoir no one will read, whay-hey! It's time to crack open the £265 fireside log basket and get one of the chars to run a comb over her £1,200 ten-skin sheepskin rug".

What really annoys Moir are the various novelty items scattered throughout the house. These include "the copy of the Enid Blyton parody Five Go Mad On Brexit Island in the Camerons' sitting room; a sign saying Calm Down Dear, It's Only A Recession' by their kitchen sink; and a sniggersome Alison Jackson print showing a lookalike Tony Blair' placing a bet on the election". This suggests that public office was just "a chore to be ticked off on a bucket list before retreating behind their rose-covered walls to drink tea from their ironically mismatched bone china cups, while we all suffer the consequences".

When he was in office, the former PM had six sources of taxable income, reports Maya Oppenhiem in The Independent. This included "his £140,000 salary as PM, rental income from his £2m home in Notting Hill, interest on savings and dividends from shares". The taxpayer also paid £53,000 for the salary of a "special adviser" who "helped Ms Cameron with her social diary and fashion style". Immediately after leaving office Cameron "earned £120,000 per hour for giving a speech about Brexit in New York. This equates to £2,000 per minute." Nice work if you can get it.

Tabloid money Leave means Stay

"I've just been in France on a short trip which was hot and sunny but with the pound now almost level-pegging the euro, pricey," says Rachel Johnson in The Mail on Sunday. The fact is, sterling doesn't go as far as it once did thanks to the slump in its value in the wake of the Brexit vote. "Nor, it appears, shall we, if the new long queues at European airports are anything to go by."

According to a poll last week, six out of ten people who voted to leave the European Union in the referendum would tolerate "significant damage" to the economy. Well, the economy's one thing. "But holidays? Really, everyone? If it's going to take hours to enter the EU no cheap sun and sangria then Brexit may still mean Brexit, but Leave' will actually mean Stay'."

This year's crop of contestants on reality television show Love Island "popped in" for a free holiday, "as much on-air sex as possible", and the chance to win £50,000, says Emily Clarkson in The Sun. Now they are set to make "ten times that amount" from endorsements. Likewise, reality star Kim Kardashian can charge upwards of £380,000 for a photo on social-media site Instagram. "She's become quite the role model To milk their 15 minutes as effectively as possible, all these stars' need to do is lie to the millions of people following them that the secret to their 16-inch waist is a tea brand they've never heard of."

Actor Helen Mirren has said what every woman secretly knows, says Fiona Phillips in the Daily Mirror. "Moisturiser does f*** all'", as Mirren put it, when it comes to holding back the years, "no matter how much, or how little you've paid for it". The UK face-cream industry rakes in around £2.2bn a year they'll do all they can to make you think it's still "worth it".