Thursday, October 04, 2007

David Cameron's speech...

For someone with a more active interest in politics than most, big political events like David Cameron's speech yesterday, or Brown's last week, tend to leave me cold in terms of reacting directly to them on the blog. This isn't a judgement on the quality of the speeches or the importance of the event - it's recognition of the fact that there's more than enough commentary and analysis elsewhere and I'm very unlikely to be adding anything new. All that leaves is the overtly tribal reaction you get on most political blogs and that doesn't interest me either.

Consequently I often find myself 'reacting to the reaction', particularly the media response. Most psephologists acknowledge the disproportionate importance of a relatively small and apolitical group of floating voters in deciding the outcome of elections. So, at a time when modern politics are so stubbornly centrist it's interesting to note how declared political opponents react to set piece speeches or key policy announcements. Brown's speech in Bournemouth last week attracted a predictably partisan leader in the following days Telegraph, even if the hostility wasn't as marked as you might expect - talk of "a political pitch with which Daily Telegraph readers could feel comfortable" is a nod to the cross-dressing so common in today's politics.

The reaction in this morning's Guardian to Cameron's Blackpool speech is, to their credit, remarkably unpartisan but that may just be a consequence of the fact that the Guardian's sympathies lie with the governing party so they can afford a little condescension. Whatever the underlying reasons I'm sure Cameron's team will be cheered by a reasonably positive reaction from an adversary.

Anyway, for what it's worth my reaction to yesterday's speech with best endeavours on an honest assessment and no tribalism:

  • In sheer performance terms an undoubted success. Speaking unscripted for over an hour given the recent hostility inside and outside the party took real guts and indicates a degree of intellectual clarity that his critics have sought to deny him.
  • In terms of the balance between positive vision stuff and attacking the government I think he got it more or less right - he avoided the temptation I highlighted below to launch a full-on personal attack on Brown and that was wise.
  • As for policy it's more of a mixed bag but that's because I'm firmly on the 'wet wing' (even in DC's party!) The 'tax breaks on marriage' thing is misguided gesture politics which Alice Miles destroyed in yesterday's times - that should go. The autonomy for head teachers, compassionate but firm approach on immigration, scraping ID cards, US-style welfare reform etc. all land well with me.


At 3:41 PM , Newmania said...

In their hearts many Conservatives want out and I am something of a loss to thnk of appropriate areas of EU engagement . I think you have swallowed a line here C.

Anway i have had an idea that might appeal to you it is up on my blog and I wondered if you might register an interest ...or not .

I `m going to have a go at it


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