Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Leader

David Cameron did it against the odds. Coming from behind to beat the previous leader in the title race is some feat, but to crush the opposition under a 2-to-1 landslide of modernisation is one of the great feats of modern British politics.

Not that David Davis did badly. His conference speech - contrary to popular opinion - was at least solid if not sparkly, and anyone doubting his ability to deliver great speeches should recall the fantastic job he did in the Commons after the 7/7 terrorist attacks.

Instead, it was Cameron's campaign team that shone, running a slick exercise in media based campaigning. He wooed the press with strawberry smoothies and caught the imagination of activists with a message of change.

Davis, by contrast, attracted the hard right old guard of the party. This was unfortunate as he is actually a very personable, down-to-earth sort of guy with a compelling back story. Given a choice of who to share a pint with, Davis would win hands down.

For me the tipping point came when Davis declared that 'there is no such thing as Blairism'. Sadly, it has been apparent for some time that Blairism is alive and kicking and it extends further than spin and Alistair Campbell. To win an election the Conservatives must totally change their outlook. Though sparing with the details, Cameron presented an ideas driven approach to solve the decade-long Tory slump.

Cameron's first appearance on the Parliamentary stage seems to have been a qualified success and certainly proved painful for the Labour Chief Whip. But I'm more interested in how the new leadership will affect CF. Modernisation seems to be the key and it is hard to see how the current amateurish system dominated by students will ever attract the key 24-35 age group.

Watch this space.......


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