David Cameron: Estonia will dethrone us

David Cameron in Oslo Business Forum.

PHOTO: Stian Aleksander Rasmussen, Oslo Business Forum

Former UK prime minister David Cameron says that Estonia will soon overthrow the United Kingdom for the position of the world’s most digital government. As concerns Brexit and Donald Trump being elected president, Cameron attributes both to unchecked immigration in the EU.

“When we were part of the EU, we were enthusiastic about cooperation between member states and the common market, while we were never enraptured by the political union and didn’t like the European Parliament, the European flag – we have our own parliament that has been doing a fine job for centuries and we are proud of our own flag,” David Cameron said at the Oslo Business Forum held in the village of Skjetten yesterday evening (Wednesday).

Concerning the Brexit campaign, Cameron finds that key issues were not technical arguments over the common market, jobs and businesses, but rather the emotional argument for the need to regain control over immigration.

“I have plenty of criticism for the campaign, but we must admit that immigration is the number one or two problem in every EU member state. And people feel politicians have not done enough to admit this,” the former premier said. “I believe the immigration topic had a great effect on the Brexit vote, as it did on Donald Trump becoming president. Looking at the situation in America, there is no doubt in my mind that immigration was one of the main drivers behind Trump’s victory.”

Cameron said the UK created more jobs in 2010-2014 than the rest of the EU combined, which is why it is little wonder immigration skyrocketed and the UK had created a problem for itself.

Free movement of labor in the EU quickly led to completely unchecked movement. “Politicians must demonstrate there is a system for immigration that is fair, in control and beneficial for the country.”

Asked how to get politicians to return to the path of rational and sensible action after “years of Brexit, Trump and everything else,” Cameron said that the real concerns of people need to be addressed. Concerns over globalization, income of the middle class, immigration.

Race with five horses

Regarding the main problem in UK politics, the former prime minister pointed to the government’s lack of a parliamentary majority.

“The United Kingdom is currently a five-horse race: to leave the EU with a deal, to leave without a deal, to hold a new general election, to hold a new referendum or not to leave the EU at all,” Cameron said.

He said that right now you can wake up predicting a different outcome every morning.

“I still believe leaving with a deal to be the likeliest option. It would be the most sensible,” Cameron said.

Estonia to take the lead

Cameron also mentioned Estonia in connection with digital topics at the prestigious forum.

“The aim of policy is to try and make sure a country’s economy has a fair chance at success in the future. To give people the chance to get a good education and find gainful employment. The world is witnessing rapid technological advancement – Amazon is upending the book market, Uber the taxi market and fintechs everything to do with banking,” the former PM said.

Cameron said that technological development will only pick up and countries must choose whether they want to be on the cutting edge as leaders or follow what others are doing.

“Everything can be done online in the UK, with all our public services accessible through a single website. The UK has the world’s most digital government today, of which I am very proud. Actually, I believe Estonia will take that away from us very soon, but we are first for the time being,” Cameron made light.

David Cameron was PM of UK in 2010-2016 and head of the Conservative Party in 2005-2016. He resigned on July 13, 2016, following the Brexit referendum.