All 16 entries tagged David Cameron

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July 22, 2007

Brown’s Bounce

Worn down by the British weather, bored of the bloody Beckhams and fed up with the falling dollar (okay, maybe not that last one), Britain seems to have become fond of the quiet life.

Lewis Hamilton isn’t the only quiet yet determined person to be enjoying a summer of popularity. Gordon Brown, too, is feeling groovy.

Today’s Sunday Times/YouGov poll puts the government on 40%, Labour’s best in nearly two years. David Cameron, meanwhile, is off to Rwanda, hoping things can’t get much worse while he’s gone. He’s staring at a seven-point abyss between him and the dour one.

I was one of many who thought the popularity chasm created by Blair’s departure would cause a headache for Brown. But if anything, the workmanlike approach from the new Prime Minister is winning people over. The closest the government has had to a scandal has been the cannabis revelations this week. But this will be a non-issue for Labour while the opposition is led by a man with a (what’s the word…) colourful past.

As Rod Liddle hints in the Sunday Times this morning:

When I was at university – around the same time as Ruth Kelly, as it happens – habitual drug use was divided strictly on party lines. The lefties smoked dope… Coke was seen, back then, as an upwardly mobile, aspirational, Thatcherite drug. I think we need to hear a few more specific confessions from Conservative Central Office, don’t you?

This is not an issue on which the Tories can make much hay, and they were predictably quiet this week.

But if silence is a virtue, it is one Labour have grasped more effectively. While David Cameron practically carpet-bombed Ealing Southall with his presence, Gordon Brown left the by-election to local lieutenants. The result – third for the Tories, a modestly reduced majority for Labour – says it all.

He might be boring, but so far he’s been effective (to use one of his buzzwords, ‘resolute’).

The test will come in the Autumn, when election fever reaches a crescendo. How well can he do rabble-rousing?


July 02, 2007

Anything you can do…

David Cameron plays poker with his cabinetI see your Sir John Stevens and raise you Dame Pauline Neville-Jones!

[EDIT] That cheeky Nick Robinson has used the same title for his blog. Great minds…

[EDIT 2] Ooh… he’s lucky. He posted one whole minute before me.


May 06, 2007

Clutching at Straws?

From today’s Sunday Times:

David Cameron would win a general election by 54 seats, based on voting patterns in last week’s local elections, according to a study published this weekend.

The world and his dog know that local elections are used as protest votes and are always worse for the Government than a general election.

There’s not much here for Tories to crow about.


May 02, 2007

Does John Major like David Cameron?

John Major writes an interesting piece in today’s Times. Interesting for what he doesn’t say, as much as what he does.

You might expect, a day before local elections in England and slightly more important ones in Wales and Scotland, that there might be just a little bit of electioneering going on. There is, but not much. The best he can really manage is:

it is once again becoming an exciting time to be a Conservative. Most of our party understand that we will only win if we recapture the centre ground as well as holding the centre-right.

...which is more navel-gazing than soap-box. You don’t expect the finest flowing rhetoric from Major, but he could have tried a little harder.

His article is a criticism of Labour spin – an argument that set sail long ago, really – but many of his criticisms are as easily applied to his successor-but-three, David Cameron. He says:

new Labour only has sound-bites and apparatchiks, careless of constitutional proprieties, who will use any unscrupulous trick to benefit the Government

...but replacing Labour for ‘Conservative’ and Government for ‘opposition’ doesn’t really stretch the imagination. David Cameron himself is the Master apparatchik, regularly employing unscrupulous tricks and gimmicks at PMQs. Admittedly, he’s not had time to prove a disdain for the constitution, but that’s much easier to try from the opposite bench.

Which begs the question… if John Major dislikes spin so much, and in his retirement can maybe see through partisanship a little, does he like Mr Cameron? His Conservatism seems, from the available evidence, pretty detached from that of the 1990s, when Major was in charge. But on policy it’s probably fair to assume they’re still not very far apart. In style however, they are Ying and Yang, Beauty and the Beast, Pete Doherty and Cliff Richard.

Some of his criticisms are notably not aimed at the government, but are a broader view of British political parties. Is he tempted to make his views of Cameron more explicit, or does he not need to?


March 23, 2007

Cameron tries to win over the Welsh


Doidge Meets Cameron

David Cameron’s fishing for votes in Wales. His Conservatives have eleven seats in the Assembly, and are hoping for a big increase in May. But he might have to do better than his flying visit today, where he didn’t announce any policies for Wales and didn’t hang around long either.

He told me Plaid Cymru stood for nothing, and that his Conservatives could protect the Welsh identity better. Perhaps a contentious claim.

And he’ll have to work better on his stage management. In an attempt to look eco-friendly, his shadow cabinet followed him in minibuses. Not entirely becoming for Theresa May and her sparkly shoes. And with one bus completely empty, plus two others only half full, you have to wonder whether their environmental concerns are genuine or half-hearted. Mr Cameron himself got out and walked so we couldn’t see what gas-guzzler he’d arrived in.

The whistle-stop tour included a meeting with Conservative Assembly members and a brief – and not entirely natural – chat with children from a local primary school. He’ll be pleased to know they approved, even if his new hairstyle got a less enthusiastic reception.


December 09, 2006

If Cameron wants to be taken seriously, he needs to dump Osborne

George Osborne and David CameronIf there’s one thing making David Cameron’s bid to be Prime Minister look weak, it’s his right-hand man George Osborne.

From suggesting Gordon Brown was “faintly autistic” to getting someone to analyse his opponent’s handwriting, Osborne has been using the politics of the playground, and embarrassing the far more professional Cameron.

Cameron has styled himself as Blair Mk.II, and seems determined to replicate the close friendship with his Chancellor, no matter how inexperienced and useless he may be.

But for the party’s economic policies to be taken seriously, he needs someone presenting them who doesn’t look like a smug schoolboy. If Osborne is to be remembered for his pot-shots on Gordon Brown’s personality, rather than for new ideas about the economy, then he is in danger of becoming a major drag on the Conservatives’ new agenda.


December 08, 2006

A shock election from Prime Minister Brown?

Might Gordon Brown be preparing a shock election for us in 2008?

Hazel Blears has suggested in a letter to party activists that Labour should prepare for an election in as little as “16 months away”.

Sir Bob Worcester predicted last year that the next election would be on 7th May 2009. He predicted the last one accurately to the very day. But I’ve also been hearing rumours over the past year that Labour might be planning a snap election rather sooner.

They’ve selected their parliamentary candidates for the next election earlier than would be usual in a 4-5 year parliamentary cycle. The Conservatives have responded and should have their lists complete in under a year.

Why would they want a quick election?
Well, it would allow Brown to pull off a few spectacular moves (like reform of the House of Lords) before walking his way through a general election. Similarly, there might be worries that the longer David Cameron has to bed in, the better he’ll get.

But will it work?
I think there’s a chance it might. The best way for Brown to overcome his glaring lack of warm personality is to blind us with a raft of dramatic changes in policy and make his government appear strong and forward-thinking. Scrapping ID Cards isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, and we might see greater independence for the NHS, allowing it to govern itself.

Only if he does this quickly and avoids silly mistakes will the strategy come off. It’s high risk and there’s always a danger that ‘events’ will derail the entire plan. But if it works, we can forget fears of a hung parliament, no matter when he decides to call the election.


November 24, 2006

The tosser within

The TosserIn their breathless search for new approaches to ‘doing’ politics, the Conservative Party have launched a viral ad campaign (see video below) about rooting out your ‘inner tosser’.

It’s caused a lot of bemusement and some mild anger from the old guard Tories who find the use of the word ‘tosser’ offensive. But arguably it’s those who the campaign is aimed at who should find it offensive.

But I’m trying really hard to find something I hate about it. It’s very classily produced, and luckily is quite funny. If they’d missed the punchline it would have been incredibly embarrassing.

Norman Tebbit predictably finds it ‘a mark of the permissive society which has been lauded by the Labour Party’ but Iain Dale is amongst the moderates who note this is not aimed at us. But I’m not sure he’s right about that.

Because ultimately, while the advert is quite amusing and makes a good point, it does so in a way which isn’t very likely to have much effect on the ‘tossers’. Instead, it’s probably aimed at potential Tory voters, who might see the party as witty, clever or having unique ideas about how to solve the nation’s debt problem.

The trouble is there’s a fine line between all of that and seeming like a smart arse.


October 04, 2006

David Cameron's Conference Speech in Quotes

  • Iain Dale Conservative blogger and A-lister:

    He has refashioned the Leader’s speech to his own character. This was not a rabblerouser. Not a tubthumper. It was reflective, statesmanlike and substantial.

  • Tim Montgomerie Conservative blogger

    The sections on supporting marriage and ‘tough on crime and its causes’ were very sensitively delivered and offered the kind of balanced conservatism – alongside the modernising green and public service messages – that this website has long hoped for.

  • Mark Hudson, writing on ConservativeHome

    Perfectly vacuous. A great example of why there’s an evaporating(ed) in the polls and his Party is collapsing in the country as members fail to renew. Thank you and Goodnight, Dave.

  • Graham in Sheffield, writing on BBC News Online

    What Cameron proves is that most of the electorate don’t understand the difference between an ideal and a policy. I keep hearing people saying that they agree with his ‘policies’. He hasn’t announced any! What he has done is talk about his ‘ideals’.

And what did I think?
I thought it was a pretty good speech, with some very welcome passages on civil partnerships which didn’t go down very well with some of his audience. I don’t blame him for not coming up with any policies yet: he knows Brown will only steal them in 2007. True, he has a lot of style, but the lack of substance is excusable this far away from an election. It’ll be interesting to see whether the policies he eventually unveils strike a chord with the British public.

What might worry people isn’t Cameron, but the people behind him. From the leaks and drips, it sounds as if many within his own shadow cabinet have quite different ideas about how the country might look in 2009/10. Rumours of ‘unlimited privatisation’ in the NHS and mixed messages over Jamie Oliver’s school meals campaign suggest that unless the party unites behind Cameron, we won’t have a clue who we’re supposed to be voting for at the next election.


October 02, 2006

David Cameron and the BBC

Why did the BBC have a non-story as their main headline on tonight’s Six O’Clock News?

This isn’t a matter of subjective opinion. Even the BBC’s Political Editor said after his news piece that it wasn’t really a big issue.

So why, dear BBC, was it the main headline on the UK’s most-watched news bulletin? I am in no way a Conservative supporter, yet this story was clearly nonsense.

The story was that the Tories were unsure about David Cameron’s tax policies (not that he really has any), preferring tax cuts to stability. This was based upon a fringe debate which was carried 60/40 in favour of a motion calling for tax cuts. The main proponent of the motion was Norman Tebbit, a well-renowned nutter who in the same debate called for the Tories to pull out of the EU. The people in the room were more than likely not typical of Conservative members, let alone voters. They were in all probability Tebbit-fans who wanted to see their idol.

Another Tory MP claims that 100 Conservative MPs are doubtful of Cameron’s tax policies, a statistic that he seems to have no way of proving.

Yet this fringe debate became the main story on the BBC News.

My usual reaction to this is that someone was spinning the story and trying to bump it up the agenda. But realistically the only person who would want to do this is Norman Tebbit himself. So who decided to make this angle not just the most important one from the Tory party conference, but also the main story of the day?

The media seem to want this conference to be a critique of Cameron’s “style over substance” problem, and yet they’ve realised it’s not entirely true and doesn’t make for sexy television. Far better to report splits in the party, even if they’re so small they’re almost invisible.

When Nick Robinson comes on TV and says:

David Cameron’s not too upset about this sort of news item

you know someone’s screwed up.


September 04, 2006

Why's Blair passing up the solar–powered bandwagon?

Tony Blair’s rarely afraid of jumping on other people’s bandwagons. Whether it’s school dinners or aid for Africa, Blair follows as often as he leads. This often extends – especially before the 2005 election – to stealing ideas from the Conservatives. So why hasn’t Blair jumped on David Cameron’s most successful bandwagon, the environment?

The Director of Friends of the Earth says the Conservatives’ stance on the environment is as important as Labour’s Clause IV moment. But the key difference is that the Conservatives couldn’t do anything about Clause IV, whereas Labour could easily steal a lead on the environment if it wanted to. True, it would make Blair look weak, but it would also be the pragmatic thing to do. Blair boasts of his environmental record, but the reality is that he could do much, much more. The words “environmental tax” or “green tax” have never been spoken by Gordon Brown (which doesn’t suggest much for his presumed Premiership), and there is little support for individuals or businesses who want to go green, just legislation.

At DEFRA you have a very competent minister in David Miliband, but he too has offered little on the environment. So why?

My theory is that DEFRA is simply too big. Many have called for it to be broken up in the past, but with the environment such a key issue I think it’s high time that we had a Cabinet-level Environment Minister and a separate Department for the Environment.

DEFRA seems bogged down in agricultural issues, and bunching the environment with ‘rural affairs’ seems to be a strange association to make. Surely environmental problems usually originate in cities?

Breaking up DEFRA would focus minds and allow new policy initiative to be made. Otherwise it’s inevitable that David Cameron will be able to steal a lead on the environment when it’s an area of policy that ought to be Labour’s strong suit.


May 03, 2006

Dave: "this election's about local people!

Jimmy-The-B reckons I'm part of a Conservative conspiracy and so I hope this entry (which is incidentally about the Tories) will serve as a response to such nonsense!

Dave Cameron has just been on BBC News 24 saying:

'some' people have chosen to make this election about judging the government, but I don't want to do that… it's about local people…

Yes Dave, that's why your face is all over the Party Political Broadcast you put out this week and the local elections have been all about your pet topic, 'the environment' which is unlikely to be the main issue locally. And now you're going on about immigration. So stop telling me this is about 'local people' – you can't resist the chance to get your mug on the telly!

(that do it, Jimmy?)


April 08, 2006

When was the ground lost?

Listening to David Cameron give his Spring Conference speech in Manchester, the thing that strikes me is that he is walking all over traditional Labour territory without anyone fighting back.

On the environment especially, Cameron isn't promising policies, but an approach which Labour should have been advancing for the past nine years, but have failed to do so.

For the Conservatives to be so far ahead of the government on this issue suggests that something has gone hurrendously wrong in the Labour Party. Is it a conflict between the DTI and DEFRA? Is it the Chancellor putting his foot down? Have they simply taken their eye off the ball? Who knows.

But listening to Cameron (who so far has been impressive), I don't see how Labour will fight back against the Tories come the next election now that it is Cameron, not Blair/Brown, who rhetorically appears to be a policy innovator, even if that means stealing Labour's traditional clothing.


April 04, 2006

David Cameron: Sooo many thoughts, so little time

Ah, it must be hard being David Cameron. Young children, annoying in-laws, and that's just his party.

How does he find the time to express the many policies he evidently has inside his sweaty head?


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