The next UK election and David Cameron February 25, 2008Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.
Watching BBC4 tonight there was a repeat of Michael Cockerell’s Dave Cameron’s Incredible Journey.
It was actually pretty interesting, and I hadn’t caught it the first time around. With a near instinctive aversion to the Conservative Party but a long term interest in party politics the actual process by which Cameron came to power and his near fanatical desire to avoid the mistakes of his predecessors made for some intriguing television.
I can’t tell whether his rise is a case of style over substance. I’m still not as impressed by his near unscripted speech to last years party Conference as I’m apparently meant to be. I’ve said this before that it’s hardly unheard of for public speakers to manage that particular trick. And it’s a bit like a magician. To know the trick is to have it spoiled. Moreover on the policy front I genuinely can’t see what the fuss is about. He appears a trifle more emollient in his use of language, which I suppose is some sort of an improvement. But, he remains, for all the spinning, a fairly typical Conservative. As the BBC piece above notes:
To attract mainstream voters, he deliberately stopped talking about traditional Tory issues – like immigration, Europe and cutting taxes – and he started talking about education and health and especially the environment.
Hilton came up with a classic political rebranding slogan: ‘Vote blue, go green’.
The Tory leader and his spinmeister used the most graphic images to get their message across: hence hug-a-huskie and hug-a-hoodie.
Perhaps it is churlish, or simply stupid, to expect better, but it really does seem to be the definition of manipulative. And it’s most curious considering we’ve just seen off ten years or so of precisely that sort of stuff, to see potentially another ten years of it, and as Cockerell notes: David Cameron is a child of the media. He spent much of his early career as a PR man for a TV company and advising top Tories on presentation. Still, one thing that really fascinated me was the roundup at the end when various figures who had been interviewed throughout were asked whether he would be Prime Minister. It really seemed to divide 50:50 with clear antagonists such as Kelvin MacKenzie and Simon Heffer absolutely convinced he wouldn’t be while Michael Portillo seemed to think it might take another election or so before he would make it.
I find this interesting, if only because I had thought, considering the series of recent polls, that the Conservatives were doing rather well. This pessimism – which may indeed be well founded – was something of a surprise. What do others think?