LONDON — Once in a while, the British gift for mockery aligns just so with social media frothery and weighty matters of state. Such a moment came this week when HarperCollins announced that one of its units would publish the autobiography of David Cameron in September.

In case you’ve forgotten, that’s David Cameron, the former prime minister who wanted to stay in the European Union, rolled the dice on a referendum he hoped would unite his Conservative Party, lost the gamble, quit, largely vanished from view, left the party more deeply divided than ever, bequeathed the nation years of political chaos, and is widely reviled by the left, the right, europhiles and euroskeptics.

Cue the Twitter flood.

“I believe the audiobook version features someone sobbing,” @WGallagher replied to the HarperCollins tweet.

@BJT98 asked, “Will the hardback come without a spine as well?”

“I do hope it will be printed on perforated, soft paper,” @GriffAuroroa wrote, “so that it can be of some use to us all.”

“Every word inside should be `Sorry,’ ” @Os_Oris commented.

The news prompted a host of references to book-burning and the publication coming in time for Britain’s annual Bonfire Night on Nov. 5, as well as gleeful speculation about the kind of reception Mr. Cameron would get on a promotional book tour.

Many people online took issue with the book’s title, “For the Record,” helpfully suggesting alternatives like “Well, That Didn’t Work” and “Running Away.” Alas, most of the suggestions, including the most scathing, cannot be printed here.

Nor can many, many of the references people made to the hotly denied and never corroborated rumor that, as a university student in the 1980s, Mr. Cameron performed a lewd act with the severed head of a pig.

Not all of the commentary was crude; some was rather subtle. After HarperCollins said that it was “pleased to announce” the publication, a few people wondered about the definition of the word “pleased.”

Someone at HarperCollins may have taken note. In two subsequent announcements on Friday, the publisher’s Twitter feed pronounced itself “delighted.”





Source link