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Cameron’s everywhere – and that ain’t necessarily a bad thing

By Peter Hoskin
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Saunter through ConservativeHome’s newslinks this morning, and you’ll notice something: David Cameron is everywhere in them, even more so than usual. From shale gas to social networks, from Gibraltar to the tenets of his Christianity, the Prime Minister is broadcasting more content than the average satellite channel, at the moment. He’s even ‘fessed up to his love for The Boss.

This is something that the Guardian’s Patrick Wintour has noticed, too. In a fine article for the Guardian, he describes Cameron as a “24-hour news machine”, and contrasts his and Nick Clegg’s hyperactivity with Labour’s relative silence. As Wintour puts it:

“…if there has been any governing going on it has had to be squeezed in between David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s appearances on various phone-ins, press conferences, morning breakfast shows and Cameron Directs. ‘A lot said, a lot more to say,’ seems to be the coalition’s slogan.”

First, the pitfalls of this approach. The Prime Minister should be careful not to achromatise himself from overexposure, which is part of the reason why ConservativeHome has consistently urged him to make fewer speeches. He should also be careful not to breathe inanities on every given subject, as he did when he got involved in the Hillary Mantel row in February. And, of course, he should leave time for actual government.

But, on the whole, I think Cameron’s current omnipresence – in the forms it is taking – is a welcome thing. Far better for the battered cause of trust in politics that he goes around the country, talking more or less directly to the public, rather than running the Westminster treadmill. This is why I’ve previously advocated that he scrap PMQs. It’s why I reckon he should follow Clegg’s lead, and do more radio Q&As.

Besides, there could be something else to this approach. I remember speaking to a Cameroon adviser, a couple of years ago, who was puzzling over Cameron’s best side: should he be more David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury, leading us from the mire? Or should he be Dave, some guy you’d have a drink with downt’ pub? That we’re now seeing more of the second, mixed in the first, could reflect Downing St’s increasing optimism about the state of the economy.


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