February 22, 2018

David Cameron and His New Avengers

What do politicians and super heroes have in common other than strong self-belief and a love of spandex?

The ability to divide opinion is the surest of answers. If, however you were to suggest the creation of self inflicted disaster in a vain attempt to beef up security then I can see where you’re coming from.

In the Avengers Age of Ultron, Tony Stark decides to build “a suit of armour around the world” to protect it from enemies both domestic and foreign. He creates the movie’s titular character, Ultron. Tony does this without taking in the opinions of his team. He sculpts what he thinks is needed to save us all.

The movie deals with the psychological side of Ultron badly. Ultron’s reasons for attempting to destroy the world are poorly developed – almost paper thin. If more screen time had been devoted to the villain rather than needless side-plots the audience could have felt the same fearful understanding with Ultron that we did with Heath Ledger’s Joker. What if Ultron had successfully assisted the Avengers multiple times before going rogue? His motivations could have been laid out spectacularly. What if he had sought to destroy nations in order to avert a future world war that his programming allowed him to predict? Or perhaps he begins trimming off the world’s population in order to avoid future food/water shortages? We might have considered empathising with the near unassailable android. We could have had a movie on par with the Dark Knight. Instead, we got a slightly inferior movie to the first Avengers.

Theresa May did not even allow the dust to settle after her party’s triumph before boasting vociferously about her new found powers, “A conservative government would be giving the security agencies and law enforcement agencies the powers that they need”. May’s previous attempts were thwarted:

“We were prevented from bringing in that legislation into the last government because of the coalitions with the Lib Dems and we are determined to bring that through because we believe that is necessary to maintain the capabilities of our law enforcement agencies so they can continue to do the excellent job day in day out of keeping us safe and secure”.

Theresa May, it seems, is falling into the same trap as Tony Stark. She asks what can be done in the name of security instead of what should be done. The Conservative government hid GCHQ’s telephone data collection activities from the general public until Edward Snowden’s 2013 revelations.

Under Theresa May’s revolution, GCHQ has gained great power through additional funding but they are already showing signs of a lack of responsibility. Just weeks before May’s speech the Investigatory Powers Committee had to order GCHQ to destroy documents illegally stolen. The NSA (the American equivalent) has been caught many times with its hands in the proverbial cookie jar as employees spied on their lovers, family and neighbours using the government agency’s capabilities. Theresa May will soon be granting GCHQ similar powers to match their Shiny £337 million complex. Can we hope they will refrain from similar actions?

In the Avenger movies Captain America is often the foil to Tony ‘Iron Man’ Stark. The upcoming Marvel Civil War movie will deal with this rivalry in greater detail. Unlike Captain America, David Cameron shows a lot of faith in his rival, Theresa May, and gives her a free reign. The only obvious similarities between David and the Captain are their equally tenuous grip as the team leader and their propensity for looking quizzically over the horizon.


Joss Weadon, writer of The Age of Ultron had to quit twitter recently after a barrage of angry abuse. Age of Ultron came under some criticism because Black Widow’s story arc consisted almost entirely of a forced romance with the Hulk character leaving fans feeling that she was not treated seriously as a hero because of her gender. British politics is surely far more egalitarian, right? Wrong. The British press took occasional breaks from the character assassination attempts on Milibae in order to discuss Nicola Sturgeon’s makeover rather than her policies and Samantha Cameron’s blue dress rather than her role as “Consultant to the Prime Minister”.

Back to the reviews:

The Avengers Age of Ultron is a fun romp of a movie which is close in strength to the original and well worth watching. A solid cast do battle with the Marvel’s cutting room floor and achieve victory with the movie that keeps most critics on side whilst pulling in over $800m at the box office. James Spader tries his best to make Ultron an entertaining villain but is hampered by his lack of screen time. The need to give every hero character a story arc extends the clock and makes the movie’s plot needlessly complex. The dialogue is snappy, the characters are fun to watch and the action scenes are breath taking.

David Cameron’s Tories whilst occasionally amusing, lack the wow factor that accompanied Ronald Reagon’s delightfully unhinged, conservative government in the 80’s. Their narrow margin of victory at this year’s election all but guarantees Cameron will struggle with the threat of rebellion from his own back benches. Liberals have been quick to compare Cameron to Margaret Thatcher but his political position makes him more of a John Major than anything else. Could someone please restrain Edwina Curry?



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