Saturday, October 22, 2005

You're our future now, Dave

When the newspapers are on your side you can get away with almost anything. Take David "Dave" Cameron's visit to Life FM yesterday. As the BBC reports it:
Urged to "put a shout out" to listeners, the Old Etonian hesitated for a moment before replying: "This is a great project, this is a great community, keep backing it, keep it real".
With its echo of Ali G (he was meant to be a parody, David) this was surely more risible than William Hague's baseball cap at the Notting Hill Carnival. Yet I have seen no one making fun of Cameron in the papers.

I suspect that the press is collectively fed up with writing about Tory failure. A fresh young leader taking them back towards power is a better story. Of course, Cameron may not be up to the job or turn out to have too many spoons in his cupboard. But with the press on his side he will have to work hard at blowing his chance now. And if he does become leader he can count on a long honeymoon from the press.

All of which leaves us - the Liberal Democrats - with a problem. Simon Mollan at Inner West expresses it well:
As long as Tory leaders were useless, lacking in credibility, humanity or normality, Charles Kennedy's blokeish demeanor and "underpowered" leadership style was just fine. With the rise of "Dave" - assuming he is elected leader (and I think he will), the clear USP that Kennedy had (in comparison to the warmongering "Reverend Tony", and the "Something of the Right" about M.Howard), may be a stronger card for a man who manages to come over as nice and dynamic; two qualities, only one of which is usually leveled at Charles Kennedy.


Anonymous said...

Or perhaps the glass is half full, and Cameron will be the political spur that prompts Charles to raise his game to the level of which we all know he is capable.

Martin Tod said...

Agree. I thought there were two factors that struck me in his excellent leader's speech at Blackpool conference. One was that he suddenly seemed more serious about his politics - particularly in the second half of his speech - which appeared to stem at least in part from fatherhood. It's no longer a question of theoretical principle or showing how brilliant he is at communication - but about making a better world for someone who matters to him. The second was that he struck me as someone who had become more aware of his political mortality. I don't think he's ever felt that threatened by his peers. But the latest generation of MPs is different. And while his potential successors may not yet be ready to take over from him - they are now sitting in the House of Commons.