« New LibDem team | Main | Tories 12% ahead in new YouGov survey »


I heard Cockerell talking to Andrew Marr about this earlier in the week on radio four. He was complaining that his access to David Cameron was 'Controlled' so I'm wondering how objective this documentary is going to be.

This looks interesting. Why is it on so early? Surely 9pm would have been a better time.

"Why is it on so early? Surely 9pm would have been a better time."

I don't expect there will be much sex in it!!

I think this might benefit Cameron. I've been doing quite a bit of canvassing lately for a By Election, and people are remarking on how good it is to see Cameron being strong.

A few minutes in and I don't like the caustic tone of Cockerell which is clearly setting the atmosphere for the rest of the programme.

Why is it that every time Cockerell effectively quotes something Cameron has said, he changes his tone of voice to that sort of 'sarcastic inverted commas' way you do when you're mocking someone?

David, the slant of voice is intended to lead the viewer. Its classical documentary putdown. As I expected this programme is a hatchet job on David Cameron.

The first half has been shown without the context of the imploding Labour government at the time.

It does show how much we needed Andy Coulson. The stunts seem very poor with hindsight.

Where is the half million a year to pay Coulson and Hilton coming from?

Yes £500,000 a year on spin doctors?

Impressive - mentioning the Ealing Southall by-election, but not the 900+ gains at the local elections earlier in the year...

So Portillo thinks Labour will win the next election. Interesting.

This programme was clearly aimed at making David Cameron look fickle, vacuous and an opportunist. I'm trying to think of one bit of good press that David got out of this documentary. Even the title itself is an attempt to belittle David, a nasty piece of work, from the 'Unbiased' BBC.

Not sure why the programme was claiming Hamilton Miller worked with Cameron and Hilton. She was a junior press officer so wouldn't have worked with either. So the Rasputin comments should be taken with a pinch of salt.

This was a documentary that was about 3 months put of date.

The BBC obviously tried to edit it into a hatchet-job for Cameron, in order to wheel it out if/when the Brown government was in trouble.

Hence why it's being shown now, with Cameron and the party 13% ahead of Labour, hitting 45% in the polls and now more of an expectation than a hope that DC will be next PM.

The best they could do was Heffer crooning that he receives cut-up Conservative party membership cards in the post from disgruntled Tories.

He really should stop sending himself mail, it's an odd habit...

What would happen if Brown challenged Cameron to sack his Spin Doctors?

Sorry - that should read '3 months out of date'.

John - I'd imagine he'd look like a bloody fool considering he's got a hell of a lot more of them than Cameron has. Heck, Brown has the entire Treasury department to spin for him...

portilo should be chucked out

ala in all, Cameron was okish bbc portrayed him as qquite Etonian and so therefore his came accros As arogant

good doc but suported by the bbc

None of it was focused on the normal day to day reality. Instead create strange images and verbal impressions and then get Heffer and Portillo to comment with more oddball takes on things.

Last part of the documentary asked "will Cameron be Prime Minister" - Heffer and McKenzie said no while Portillo thought it would be the election after next. When was this made? Surely it couldn't have been in the past few weeks!

John @ 20.07 - Why should David Cameron have to give up his spin doctors?? Mr. Brown has many 'aids' or spinners, he may well wish that Cameron was not allowed any help - naturally - but tuff titty as the saying goes!!

Actually I think that David Cameron came out of that programme much better than I thought he was going to - Michael Cockerell was NOT as cutthroat as the BBC pre-publicity lead one to believe he would be, and as Michael Portillo somewhat grudgingly said, he is glad that DC does have a less 'nice' side, and that he can be tuff, as you need that as a leader.

Last part of the documentary asked "will Cameron be Prime Minister" - Heffer and McKenzie said no while Portillo thought it would be the election after next. When was this made? Surely it couldn't have been in the past few weeks!

That's what I'm saying, Paul, I think this was finished by early October and as such is already out of date.

I certainly think that Portillo would not say now what he said then.

We got none of the government's cock-ups since October, in fact the doc ended pretty much after Cameron's conference speech.

I thought Alastair Campbell was okay.

Seems fair enough. I think some of you need to understand that it wasn't Cockerell's mission to be a Cameron sycophant. I thought is was reasonable, but sadly didn't get to cover the last few months.

I think Cameron is great, and I don't think this doc protrayed in negatively.

A fair documentary, overall.

First half not good but we knew, that as I've already commented.

Second half far better as Cameron had to start fighting and had better advice, and he was definitely up to the task.

Lesson to be learned - sack Hilton.

And he didn't mention that things got better when Coulson came in and Eustice and Bridges disappeared / removed.

Clear turning point was Rwanda.

I think the BBC tried to paint DC badly but utterly failed. The examples of his PM questions were completely devastating and probably plenty of viewers of this programme will not previously have seen this side of him - they will, given the current state of politics, also have been delighted to see Brown given the hatchet! It was however sad to see the tart Portillo again.

Until the last party conference was featured, it seemed extremely negative to me - even before the Brown Bounce.
Does anyone else find Simon Heffer irritating?

Does anyone else find Simon Heffer irritating?

The guy needs to cheer up and get out more.

Simon Heffer clearly doesn't like the era he's been born into and wants to recreate one of a century before. Bit of shame really.

I came away from it having learnt nothing new. I agree it feels out of date.

On a positive note, I saw myself on TV when they showed the Coutts speech.

Typical BBC left leaning slant imposed on programme editing. Would have loved to see Peter Hitchens (MoS) as a critical panellist!

I never saw the programme - I could not be bothered to go along to Tesco's to watch it,

Having seen the way the BBC dealt with: IDS; their reporter at the inaugural speech of Michael Howard; Cameron would not be done any favours and the day that the BBC do the Conservative Party any favours will be the day after the TV license fee is abolished. Portillo (does n't he look lovely, bless him) is probably hoping that the Tories wont get in for some time in order that he might keep his job with the enemy.

Votedave, I also find Simon Heffer irritating. In fact, immensely so. For most of the year he has done nothing but rant in the Telegraph about how much he loathes Cameron. Thankfully his attention has turned recently to commenting on the woes of Brown and Labour. Why he didn't do this for the rest of the year is beyond belief - he should either put up or shut up about Cameron. Add to that Kelvin Mackenzie, another annoying and unhelpful ranter. It is interesting that their answer 'no' to the question 'Do you think DC will ever be PM?' was really an answer to 'Do you want DC to be PM?'. And the Tories are now at 45%! They should show some respect.

I think the point Mackenzie was making is that David Cameron needs to click with a certain type of voter. The Sun newspaper has an uncanny knack of tapping into the popular mood of the day and any politician would be foolish to ignore the popular sentiment. The party must do everything to get The Sun onboard for the next election.

Yes, I also find Heffer irritating.
Another one of these deliberately negative trolls who talk up political opponents to get back at Cameron, gloat about any difficulty (such as the polls between July and early October) and then go quiet or move onto another issue when things go well.

I find them bloody irritating actually. These people do sweet FA delivering leaflets or canvassing like some of us have done - whoever the leader is.

UKIP supporter Heffer came across as a slug.

The programme came across as one put together to record the demise of DC but he surprised them by leading us to our highest ratings in 20 years.

Cockerell did not put any context to the interview statements and in most cases hid the dates that they were interviewed.

Turned the sound off half way through - I found it very negative.

Agree with Portillo though that it is good to see Cameron losing his temper from time to time.

Iain Dale seems to have loved it.

Cockerel sorted out a real leftie line up for himself! I count that appalling Heffer as a leftie. Thank goodness for Alan D and Nicholas Soames who balanced the thing out.
The BBC are doing themselves no good at all with their partisan views. Cameron will be PM for years when we get back in. They must be really blind to the reality of their situation.
In all of it however, DC came over well. You just cant keep a good man down.

Was there anything new in this documentary? I didn't learn a single thing!

Annabel Herriott, yes, Nick Soames often talks a lot of sense. He has a good understanding of the long-term picture. Those people who don't think David Cameron will become prime minister are in denial. Its going to happen. We will make it happen.

Did anyone else think that Cockerell looked like a stalker, waiting for Cameron at the hotel just to ask him some silly questions about his speech?

I agree with Edison, a lot of the interviews seemed like they had been done 3 months ago. No real coverage of what has happened since conference week despite some huge developments.

I thought it was a rather interesting documentary and pretty balanced. Heffer spoke just as his columns read; and that certainly isn't a compliment. I think he is fundamentally wrong if he thinks that all core Tory voters believe in everything he does. At the very least almost everyone wants us in government rather than being a right wing pressure group. Yes, in the party membership there will be some exceptions, but that's hardly a big chunk of the population.

I thought Campbell was an interesting one. He didn't seem to want to admit it when Cameron's lines were good and when the spin was successful. "Fine" was about all he could muster. I thought he'd be a little more honest about it: be harsh when there was a cock up but praise the team when they did well.

In terms of half a million for spin doctors, if that is what it costs then fair enough. You can spend £20 million on an election campaign, but if you have dreadful PR and pursue policies people don't care about then you're not going to win votes.

Given how much our party's media relations and performance has improved recently, compared to the rightly-lambasted shambles it was a few months ago, I'd say Coulson was worth every penny he's being paid

Paul D, yes, conveying political ideas to people who don't follow politics and often don't understand politics is a skill that the tabloid editors understand. They can sum up a complex idea in a headline that people remember. No-one should ever underestimate their expertise in these matters.

Overall, I thought Cameron came out of it quite well. Yes, Heffer is a slug. Where's the slug killer? He is, though, the "Associate Editor" of the Telegraph - didn't know that. Will now have to switch to the Indy or the Times.

It was on TV at a really bad time to get friends reactions, especially so close to Christmas. It will have little impact.

A couple of friends who saw it have been more impressed with what we have done the last few weeks.

With tomorrows You Gov poll showing a 12% lead - dropped a point since the last in lead terms and down to 43% but Labour down to 31% - and Brown as the most unpopular Labour leader with 60% dissatisfied I don't think Cameron will be bothered.

Justin H.

Heffer talks a lot of sense and is generally on core conservative message even if he did, this week, describe himself as a Gladstonian liberal (I think without digging out the article).

Historically Conservatives are liberal since that equates to freedom of thought and expression. Heffer was exasperated by DC's heir to Blair and accepting NuLab spending plans. He simply wants a rightish wing Conservative Party to espouse conservative beliefs and policies.

Blair was brilliant at sounding right but allowing Brown to pursue hard left policies (more tax and even more spend) all Heffer asks is for a smaller state with all that is implied therein. Liberals, NOT LIBDEMS, espouse a smaller less intrusive state.

Considering it was the BBC it wasn't really that bad.

The problem for Labour and their friends at the Beeb is that the more you see of Cameron the more you realise that he is basically a normal, fairly likeable fellow. With Brown the opposite is the case. The more you see of Gordon the more repulsive he becomes.

Earlier in the year, the Tories were ahead in the polls but usually below 40 per cent (sometimes hitting it).
Large parts of the media (and the Con Home trolls) were saying we would only gain a few hundred council seats and would not hit 40.

The Tories gained 911 council seats and hit 40-41 per cent, (and made considerable progress in the Welsh constituency votes, plus some glimmerings in Scotland.)

This indicates the gains would have been even more sweeping now.

I would, however, like to see public statements about gains in May 2008 carefully managed down. This is because it has rather fewer seats up for election, and I think Labour (who did very badly against the LDs) might regain 3-4 per cent against the 2004 result.
If the Tories exceed the (40-41) share of the vote achieved in May 2007, which we should, then that will augur very well.

Happy Xmas.

Jonnyboy - Heffer hates "Dave", he doesn't accept that the policies of three decades ago have as little meaning to today's electorate as the policies of the thirties had to the voters of the sixties. The world moves on and politics moves on with those changes. His preferences are those of some mythical 1950's Britain.

Happy for him to be a spokesman for those, there is a market for such opinions, but he is a mere commentator not someone of any importance other than for entertainment.

I agree Ted, Heffer,s brain belongs in the repressive Presbyterian 50,s and 60,s.
Time moves on although you can almost hear him cry with frustration at how that other paragon of presbyterian hypocrasy, the son of the manse Brown is making such a complete mess of the PMs job,, as he did the chancellors job.
I remember Heffer and the rest of the so-called wise political commentators crowing about how DC and George Osborne etall had misjudged Brown when he opened up a poll lead in the first 2 months.
Its galls them to see that DC,s strategy for handling Brown worked very well because both he and George had spent years on the Tory back benches analysing Brown,s strenghts and weaknesses, which is why DC floors him at PMQ,s and other parliamentary debates just as George was doing against Brown when he was chancellor.
Anyway a new yougov poll out to-morrow shows us on 43% and labour 31% however the biggest hit against Brown is the 65% disatisfaction with his performance.
DC has a 47% positive rating as a good leader for the Tory party.

That Steve Hilton guy reminded me of an upcoming Alistair Darling!


I quite enjoyed it, though probably because I hadn't paid attention to the pre-broadcast publicity and was expecting Michael Crick (boo! hiss!) rather than Cockerell, who struck me as - well, can't put it better than the Editors who call him the Louis Theroux of political broadcasting!

I didn't even mind the inclusion of lengthy vox un-pops from Kelvin Mackenzie and Simon Heffer. There's always a gap between how one views oneself and how the rest of the world sees you. For most of us, the gap is just wide enough to be amusing. For some people, the gap becomes so wide that it's a tragedy.

The most impressive thing to come through about Cameron in the programme was his sang froid, and steadiness under fire. This will serve him well in No.10. It was amusing to see the Liar Campbell almost knashing his teeth in frustration as he watched Brown bomb at PMQs.

Simon Heffer is starting to remind me of Ted Heath. Being accused of snobbery by Simon is akin to be called odd by Ed Balls, or short by Hazel Blears.

Blimey Oberon, bad language at 7.22 in the morning! Did you get out of bed on the wrong side today?
Sadly,I missed the programme but usually find that Cockerell is a pretty fair journalist and would not produce the hatchet job that could be expected from several other BBC journalists.
Agree with those who have criticised Heffer, he seems to have a very gloomy and unpleasant personality which make my hacles rise even when he's right.
I wonder if Portillo and Mackenzie would make the same comments now rather than a few months ago when Conservative Party fortunes were in the balance?

Ted, it's a very predictable smear to chuck at Heffer that he yearns for the 1950's. I thought the 1950's was the high noon of MacMillanite Toryism i.e. positioning the Tories a millimetre to the right of the Labour Party and aspiring to do no more than manage Labour's failures slightly better than Labour. In that sense, isn't Cameron the heir to MacMillan?

I quite enjoyed the programme though I suppose it could have been said to be "Politics Lite" to a certain extent!
I thought David and Samantha Cameron both came across well. Unfortunately to my mind the spectres of the Appalling Heffer and the equally Appalling Kelvin McKenzie lowered the tone considerably!

Heffer is a Tory Arthur Scargill figure - someone to be marginalized and ignored to show that the party has really changed.

I was so disappointed when the Telegraph poached Heffer from his rightful home at the Daily Mail. For a while, I switched papers by way of protest though I've gone back again.

Even now, I can't read much more than the first paragraph of whatever Heffer rights without feeling nauseous.

The man is a world apart from Britain in 2007. He simply does not understand the modern world and thus the way that the party needs to position itself.

Even time he writes an article criticising Cameron it convinces me more and more that Cameron is a good thing.

If David Cameron has such a convincing story to tell and such an attractive alternative to offer, why do his cheerleaders get so hot under the collar (unbuttoned of course) about the admittedly gloomy Simon Heffer?

The Tory Party may well have changed ....or rather reverted to type: a closed elite of wealthy well-connected but very inexperienced patricians playing at politics and treating the masses with condescension.

When I think of the Tory Party of Simon Heffer, I think of Malcolm Rifkind's comment about his marginal seat in Edinburgh Pentlands:

"I am burying my majority at the rate of 3 a week".

Am not very clear what point you are making, London Tory. If it is that the older Conservative vote is dying off, you are right but the reality is that the Tories are still very heavily dependent on the reflexively deferential vote of the over 55's aka the "core vote" that the modernisers spend so much time reviling. Well within a generation, that bedrock will be gone. Younger aspirational voters will need a lot more than slick marketing to compel then to vote Tory.

Simon Heffer would laugh heartily if he read this thread. He has succeeded in winding up the Cameroons, the new Heathites!

@Michael McGowan and Moral Majority

My point is that Heffer harks back to a Golden Age that never was. The effette and useless administrations of McMillan and Eden landed us with a legacy of Wilson and Heath (who was even worse). Twinset and pearls, a blue rinse, and Sir Bufton Tufton twiddling his handlebar moustache may get Heffer's juices running, but there is no electoral future in it. As I mentioned earlier, it is not the Cameroons who increasingly resemble The Grocer, it is the Old Ginger Sourpuss himself. He professes to want a Conservative Government to help 'his voters' (the over 65s)- yet puts in public appearances like last nights, which suggest we are not a happy and united crew.

Simon Heffer should lead the Saga Party.

Quite an interesting insight. The half million on 2 spin doctors angered but didn't surprise me- no wonder political parties are having to resort to all sorts of iffy methods to get cash.

Isn't Portillo looking like a bad loser?

"Simon Heffer would laugh heartily if he read this thread."

I wasn't aware he knew how to laugh.

"...the new Heathites!"

I wish I was old enough to understand what that means.

Moron minority: wait long enough and Cameron will show you in great detail why a Heathite Government is something to be avoided.

The comments to this entry are closed.



ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker