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Tim - you may have a point about the number of speeches that David Cameron is making but it is a bit spurious to pray in aid the Mail and the FT.

The Mail would have criticised DC's pro-single mother stance whenever he made it, just as the FT would have found fault with his attack on bankers.

Both positions are brave, counter-intuitive and right. Vintage early-Cameron, in fact.

One can't help but feel that sometimes the editor feels the need to 'have something to say', hence this rather bizarre criticism of the party leader. Damned if he says nowt on issues, damned if he does, better for people to be talking about Cameron and the party than not. People are already starting to compare the opposition leader who makes serious policy speeches with the PM who is always on the GMTV sofa...

I completely agree - the party looks like a "one man band". Surely others could introduce new policies - George Osborn for instance on economic matters. I think that Cameron could perform a useful function in appearing from time to time to provide coherence and link-up, as well as extra punch.

Could the big beasts be employed here - especially Ken Clarke, on a safe ground?

In the 1970s a speech by Margaret Thatcher was carefully prepared. Research was done over a number of weeks. Commentators were brought in to see her advisers. The location was carefully selected. Stakeholders (as they would now be called) were consulted.

The media environment is diferent today and events are faster moving but Cameron would be wiser to get closer to the Thatcher model.

"People are already starting to compare the opposition leader who makes serious policy speeches with the PM who is always on the GMTV sofa...

No they are not!

I agree and we really need more exposure for other members of the Shadow Cabinet. But I disagree with Cameron on single mothers - this is a real vote loser.

The Leader's Office needs Tim's advice

And why does not Cameron slow down? Gravitas is enabled by a slower speech pattern but he always speaks far too fast as though he is aboput to be interrupted by some House of Commons oik. Use the gobble speech in the HoC if you wish but reduce your wordcount per minute by half outside

"It would give more opportunities for frontbenchers to step forward. The Conservative team is an impressive one and they could do with a bigger share of the public stage".

This, to me, is the key point. Opposition spokesmen get less media coverage than ministers and some good conservatives are not well known. Osborne should be given more opportunities to demonstrate that he is as good as his supporters claim he is.

Ken Clarke has been seen and heard quite a lot lately and he has been very, very effective. Please may we have more.

and says nothing worth listening to. Your party is stuffed until you change the top 2 little boys. We are heading for a situation which will be more demanding than the last war and you put Pinkey and Perky in charge. Get real, Gordon may be a nasty bastard but at least he is regarded by the GBP as an adult.

I think he should give a speech to explain the strategy?

Silly me, I thought this was a site for Conservative supporters.

Wouldn't an advertising campaign with clearly laid out policy statements be better?

Although I would prefer Redwood in terms of his excellent judgement during this economic crisis (ie he opposed the bank recap plan), with the Tory position on the Euro set as an unequivocal no, in no circumstances, then surely it would be safe to bring Ken back.

If Osborne remains in his current role after the reshuffle, then the Tories will lose the next election.

Why? Not because I have any 'hatred' of Osborne, quite the opposite, but because the public will be the ones to choose the next government, and they have consistently shown that they trust him less on the economy than Darling, even with the country in the mess it is in.

If you don't react to what the public are clearly saying, instead of insulting them for not choosing your party over another, you will be punished at the polls.

We really do need to be careful not to appear to be a one-man-band!!
As others have said, there are some really good people in DC's front bench team who, when they have been 'let loose' have been extremely effective.

You are right Tim. If we broadcast too many messages the essence tends to blur into white noise and then there’s the dissonance of the mixed message.

We are, traditionally, about Daily Mail indignation at benefit scroungers and especially single teenage mothers popping out babies and clogging up social housing but now we are about defending the same, but different , against the responsibility to find work.

Most confused. Well not me but the target.

It's a fair point, Tim. I do think that there should be more coverage for other members of the team - but don't forget that the Government of the day always has an inbuilt advantage when it comes to media coverage - and especially so these days when as we know the BBC is the Media Wing of the Labour Party! Conservatives have to try harder to be heard and seen and perhaps we have been thinking that it is easier to do this when it is the Leader speaking?

Many Westminster think tanks will tell you that they often get just 48 hours notice of a Cameron speech. These things are often not well planned.

Well if he didn't do too many speeches he'd be critisised for not getting the message across.

He is starting to look a little like a 1 man band tho - he should let some others in his team get a bit of exposure, otherwise he'd start to look just as egotistical as the other one.

It is not the number of speeches that is an issue but the subject and the presenter.

Today as we all know people are scared stiff. Yet Cameron fails to hit the nail on the head every time. That is his problem.

Why talk about single mothers, why bash bankers - where is the statesman who understands the underlying issues and has ideas for getting us out of this mess.

I posted the other day that Cameron is an economic illiterate.

Harsh but true.

Cameron's other major problem is that he looks weak. That too is reflected in the polls.

Sad but true.

M Jones 9.30 I disagree with Cameron on single mothers - this is a real vote loser.

I disagree. Allowing mums, single or otherwise, time to bring up their children until school age, is sensible for society as a whole.
Forcing mother back to work and handing child care over to strangers is of no benefit to children, mothers or society.
This is caring Conservatism and should be supported.

Obviously it would better if children were in a stable family environment and there were less single mothers but lets be pragmatic.

I think if the media gave him and others better coverage then he'd not have so much need to make as many, but I'd commend him for everything he's done so far to get his message out to as many people as possible.

I have ONE criticism ( if it is a criticism ), and that is, that I think he needs to speak more from the heart as opposed to what amounts to recital from well written speeches. People need to know HE means what he's saying and that it is HIS view, and I think it is distracting that he looks down to his speech instead of into people's eyes.

If you take all the great orators, NONE of them appeared to be reading from text.

Infamously, Adolf Hitler, and famously Winston Churchill, JFK, Thatcher et al, ALL spoke from the heart and won the hearts of people, and this is what he needs to do too, otherwise many will fail to actually believe the message.

I've thought this ever since he made his famous 2007 conference speech.

Also, his position on Labour's policy of forcing mother's back to work too soon is right.

Whether it is a vote winner or a vote loser is of no consequence as long as it is right.

We either have a society which places no value on motherhood and sees no value in the development of a child in infancy prior to school age, or we have a Conservative Government which DOES.

Cameron's Plan is socially just, more reasonable, more understanding of people's needs, supportive of families and children and mothers, and clearly it is not an archaic 'National Socialist' agenda which would otherwise promote discrimination and unfairness in society like ZanuLabour.

What David Cameron and indeed every Tory MP shoulds be doing is using every speech and interview to ram home the fact that this economic mess is far worse for the UK because of Brown's vast borrowings.

Every labour MP seems to be under instruction that at every opportunity they should say that our public debt is easily manageable. It is not and we should be using every opportunity to stress time and again that we have the highest public debt in the advanced world and that is why the pound is on the floor and why taxes will have to rise under Brown.

"I disagree. Allowing mums, single or otherwise, time to bring up their children until school age, is sensible for society as a whole/"

Any canny long-term benefits scrounger will be praising Cameron as they could of course simply knock out another kid every four years before the youngest starts school, thus remaining on benefits for ever under Cameron's proposal.

Osborne is clearly been kept out of the public eye for a while after his recent 'difficulties'. I suspect this has played a part in Cameron delivering so many speeches.

That said, I'm sure the Conservatives are very conscious of having to portray Cameron as a leader-in-waiting so perhaps the Shadow Cabinet would distract from that objective.

It's not the number of speeches Cameron makes, it's what he says in them that is the vote loser - his thoughts on single mothers for instance. Why doesn't he just say if people can't afford babies then they shouldn't have them. True Conservatism is letting people keep more of their money they earn and remain in charge of, and responsible for, their own lives. Less Government, less taxation, more wealth creating opportunities - these should be any Conservatives priorities.

I'm not sure that restricting the free speech of our Leader is necessarily the right thing to do.

Tim you are absolutely right however to suggest that DC needs to be both relevant and reported to make an impact. But reducing the number of speeches in my view is not the only way to achieve that.

A quick perusal of Webcameron suggests that DC has not followed through with the summer's Cameron Direct project. I'd say that the problem is not the number of speeches but their location.

Our Leader needs to engage. Particular at a time of crisis. Lets not talk about businesses being closed by banks withdrawing credit in Parliament, lets get out there beyond the Westminster Village.

We know that the more people see of Cameron, the more they like him. Brown by contrast is not user friendly. That is an advantage we must use to best effect.

Andrew Nicholas @ 10.22 is spot on, to which I add Cameron must have rational solutions as well.

I agree with the editor, more concise messages fitted into fewer speeches would be best.

Less is more sometimes.

We've got too many messages at present.

To the general public (i.e. outside the Westminster bubble) the contents of a speech are soon forgotten - the tone of the speech, the character of the speaker, are remebered far longer.

I expect that ordinary people will remember the passion of Dave Cameron's "Baby P" pmq far longer than any of the detail.

I would like to see an *angry* Dave Cameron having a go at the present Government in addition to well thought out ideas. People follow leaders, not sages. Arthur, not Merlin.

Soon after Cameron became Party Leader he developed the practice of delegating the duty of making specialist speeches to those members of his Shadow Cabinet who were likely to be responsible for the areas of policy in question. This now appears to have gone by the board and he makes all pronouncements himself. Clearly his advisors feel it is important that he makes a continuous impact on the electorate as a PM in waiting. This is understandable and it focuses the thin resources that the Party in opposition has by way of research and briefing staffs, in comparison with those at the disposal of the Government. The aim must always be to appear both relevant and right.
We hear of staff cut-backs at CCHQ now, so presumably the situation will not become any easier. This will possibly have the effect of reducing the chances of Cameron`s Shadow Cabinet allies in the preparation-in-depth of speeches on specialised subjects. This is an inevitable consequence of reducing MPs` outside earnings, thus reducing their ability to fund their own research teams, as well as paying to give them the time to develop areas of expertise while working as high-profile, conscientious constituency MPs. (think how a similar situation in the 1930s might have restricted the activities of Winston Churchill, in his efforts to warn the nation of our shortcomings in Defence).
Nevertheless it is crucial that we show our team as a Government-in-Waiting and this will entail a succession of regular, substantial speeches by all members of the Front Bench team, in addition to those being given by the Party Leader; otherwise
"..nothing will grow or flourish in the shade of one mighty oak..."

The problem is that apart from David Cameron there is barely anyone else in the Shadow Cabinet who can convincingly get the Conservative message across to the public. Other than William Hague, the only other instantly recognisable figure in the party is David Davis. It is crazy that one of the best talents in the party is on the backbenches.

The Mail and FT leaders have far more to do with those papers management than anything David Cameron says. What would Tim rather have a Tory leader who panders to newspaper editors?

Tim has made the point many times about the CP's web coverage. Exposure is not just about speeches but also about the web "footprint".

Many times, I have gone on to Conservatives.com to look for a quick quote on some topical issue that I can lift to include in a post. Largely, there is a fine collection of the leader's speeches and very little else.

It is all very well complaining about (the lack of) media coverage, but it seems to me that the CP does not even exploit the medium over which it has total control - its own website.

This, of course, has considerable relevance. In the days of high speed journalism, many hacks will lift quotes from websites rather than ring up press departments ... that latter option takes too long. Thus, no comment on website, no quote and no exposure.

David Cameron's speech on corporate governance at Canary Wharf this week was a complete waste of time. A sop to Guardian readers who are flocking back to Labour anyway.

He looked like he was delivering it through clenched teeth, a point picked up by Dame Polly in the Guardian.

Cameron's position on single mothers is not right. My daugher has a one year old and has returned to work because her domestic finances demand it, rather than be a burden on other taxpayers. Why should her taxes support single mothers who don't face up to their responsibilities?

Cameron's anger about Baby P came across as stage managed and synthetic I'm afraid. In fact, too many of his performances are him doing Mr Angry when we need something more statesmanlike with gravitas.

Is Sam not coping with the workload?

I disagree, D.C is doing a good job with his speeches. I also agree that other Shadow Ministers must make sppeches that come under their protocols. This must be seen as a complete team effort.

Cameron is right on bankers, wrong on single mothers - needs to start putting together some coherent alternative policies and allow his cabinet team to present them. What's the pount of being a Shadow Cabinet Minister, if the Leader keeps making your announcements for you?

"It would give more opportunities for frontbenchers to step forward. The Conservative team is an impressive one and they could do with a bigger share of the public stage."

Hague was pretty awful at PMQs - perhaps Cameron knows what he is doing.

There are two problems. Apart from Osborne the media are not interested in anything a shadow minister says, can you imagine the BBC headlining a speech by Andrew Lansley?

Also, unlike Labour the Conservative party seems to have a policy of MPs or Shadow Ministers says nothing unless it directly affects them. (Nobody notices speeches in parliament any more.) Labour wheeled out Ed Balls recently to defend economic policy. The effect is that Cameron, or any Tory leader, is left looking without support.

People don't just have to make speeches. E.g. MPs could write to Newspapers. A particular point, Osbourne could get himself up front with articles listing out Conservative policies, firstly to get noticed but, secondly, to show the Tories are not the "do nothing" party. By doing this the policies are seen as a package, Brown's big advantage is that he has a simple package of policy - just borrow and spend.

(P.S. Agree with Cameron re single mothers and bankers.)

It does not matter whether he is giving a speech or not (I loved the one to the LSE, by the way) because nobody is listening. The BBC does not really report anything except "Cameron calls for an election". Meanwhile Mr Brown is still peddling the lie that the Conservatives have no policy to cope with his economic crisis.

"Every labour MP seems to be under instruction that at every opportunity they should say that our public debt is easily manageable".

I have posted elsewhere today that the conservatives must state what they believe public debt to be and show that Gordon Brown's claims - less all the off-balance sheet items - are as deceitful as many of his other statistics.

Until we establish things like the real rate of inflation, of public debt, of unemployment, of violent crime etc, we can neither have a legitimate debate based on firm foundations, nor a credible verbal punch up with Labour.

Is there anything Thatcher wasn't best at?

"In the 1970s a speech by Margaret Thatcher was carefully prepared. Research was done over a number of weeks. Commentators were brought in to see her advisers. The location was carefully selected. Stakeholders (as they would now be called) were consulted.

The media environment is diferent today and events are faster moving but Cameron would be wiser to get closer to the Thatcher model.

Posted by: Thatcherite | December 17, 2008 at 09:19"

She also walked on water and healed lepers at weekends.

Tim, I think the question is: what is the best way we can gain more effective coverage and exposure? Seems to me like we need as much as we can get!

Cameron is right to be out fighting. I also suspect that approaches by shadow cabinet names to the media are less likely to get top coverage but should be tried as well. Where I would agree is to focus the message. The tax bombshell pics were good and it looked like this would roll out in a very big campaign at all levels. This is the way it should work - everyone from top to bottom of the party should be repeating the key message we want to get across. Whenever anyone is interviewed or comments they should introduce the same slogan. This is how Labour work and its the only way a message breaks through the noise into the public conciousness. Also all appearances and activities by MPs should be designed to add weight to a theme that supports the message etc. Attack on the issues you want to attack on and set the agenda.

There is wisdom in 'keeping ones powder dry' but with so many disasterous issues to shoot at.........

''Hague awful at PMQ's'' give over!!

The problem is not the number of Cameron's speeches, it is, as partly alluded to by the Editor, the content of some of them that seems ill thought through and unlikely to please anyone much at all.

The utter incompetance of Bankers in allowing their usual rules to be broken and bring destitution to millions while they have paid themselves obscene bonuses MUST be punished. I am a Hospital Consultant of 24 years standing,a Clinical Excellence award worth£10,000 per year and a basic salary under £100,000 after working for the NHS for 38 years.I have had to compete on the property market for years with these people most of whom did not do a University Degree taking 6 years or get their first pay cheque aged 24 of £36 a week for working over 100 hours (not including 'on call' which was not paid at all in those days).Furthermore I am worth my Final salary Pension.I am told the life expectancy of an NHS Consultant who retires at 65 is only about 2 years and my wife gets only half my pension after that.My savings are thefore very important to me and my family.Gordon Brown took the first massive bite out of my personal retirement pot and now these twisters have reduced it further and I have no sympathy for them, their yachts, ski apartments,holiday homes,etc,etc.If they had done their jobs properly my retirement would be much more secure, so thank you David Cameron for standing up for the little guy . Some will say this comment is too long- 'keep it short and keep it simple' - but real life is neither short or simple so the glib comments of political spinners must be profoundly distressing to the desperately hard up pensioners I see every week in East London.

You may be right about the sheer number of speeches Tim and the fact that the Shadow Cabinet can be invisible in comparison.
However I would disagree with you about the attack on the content. As someone who has worked in the City for many years and seen white collar crime not being punished again and again I thoroughly welcomed Cameron's speech. I haven't seen the relevant FT article but if they sought to criticise it ,more fool them.
As regards single mothers I'm not so sure.However I did see the Daily Mail leader and thought that their attempt to link it all with Shannon Mathews case was tabloid journalism at its absolute worst.
Personally I'm glad that Cameron does not pander to the press in the way Blair did. He's better than that.



hahaha some people do make me laugh. I have been dying to ge back to work after having my 19 month old daughter, i have ust found out i can claim 80% of my childcare back so my daughter can attend nursery, without this i could not work, because it will be costing me money! People saying they want to stay at home with their kids is a joke. Everyone needs a break, whether its 1 day or a week. I think its good for the children to not be molicoddled and gain independance by puting then with other children (it prepares then for school) in june all my tax credits will be lost due to the cowardly approach for the lib dem and conservative co - olition. Resulting in me being just a mum, nothing else, no independance. David camerons wife has all the money in the world to throw at her kids. We dont, id rather work and be able to give my children every thing the need whilst they are children, rather than saying no...i dont have the money all the time! TERRIBLE GOVERMENT......GET THEM OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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