Conservative Diary

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Election fever cooled by snow

ElectionBrief The big freeze squeezes out election stories. Not much to brief about today. None of the parties launched big new initiatives, wisely deciding that any election initiatives would be buried in a snowdrift of weather stories.

David Miliband was almost as much a loser from the snowstorm plot as Brown. Andrew Grice notes that the Foreign Secretary has sat on the fence during all three botched coup attempts against Brown... "and fallen off".  David Miliband's hesitation, yesterday, will have appealed to neither the loyalists nor the insurrectionists. As Bagehot put it: "He ended up looking both tame and disloyal at the same time." Miliband was, not of course, the only Cabinet minister to give a grudging endorsement of Brown. Iain Martin speculated that Darling even asked Brown to consider quitting. Andrew Neil concludes that the legacy of the SnowStorm plot will be the "half-hearted" support that the PM enjoys from his Cabinet. Every Political Editor knows at least one Cabinet minister who is briefing against the PM.

Janet Daley warms to a more human Cameron. ConservativeHome summaries the Tory leader's Today programme interview here. Janet Daley (who has become increasingly positive about Mr Cameron in recent months) enjoyed his willingness to apologise for his marriage policy gaffe. She thinks he is coming out of his PR man years and becoming himself: "Admitting that he had simply screwed up earlier in the week with his unintentionally ambiguous wording on the marriage question, he sounded as engagingly frank as he generally does in private conversation."

Hilton&Cameron Who is out to get Steve Hilton? There have been a stream of anti-Hilton stories in recent days (another one tonight) and I fear they are coming from within the Conservative machine. Steve isn't perfect (who is?) but he has been vital in broadening the Conservative Party's appeal. I've defended him before against unfair critics and hope that his attacker will start spending more time attacking the real enemy.

The first defaced Tory poster. Hat tip to Virtual Economics:

Screen shot 2010-01-07 at 22.11.18 Tim Montgomerie

> Yesterday's General Election Brief


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