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Buxtehude you don't expect Oberon to have really listened to things he know changed his surname too?
Cameron must still be turned off being that Iain hasn't you or me his messages James?

Mr Smoothie

Quite right, Mr Houston: no policy here, please. In the interests of balance, and the need not to put any unfair pressure on the frontrunner, we only have 'directions' on this blog nowadays.

Barry Graham

I think you have it spot on Tiltonroader, Cameron was and remains the one who can reach out to current non-Tory voters.

Just a wee anecdote ... We had two friends round for dinner last week; two middle-class doctors, who ought to be natural Tories but have never voted Conservative, having viewed us as untouchable since their uni days.
Both said how Cameron was at last a bit different, for a Conservative, and that with his tone and open approach, they could now contemplate voting Tory without feeling embarrassed, if he was leader.
My wife, a lifelong non-Tory agreed.
I'm sure lots of us have had experiences like this in recent weeks.
That's why Cameron is compelling. He reaches out beyond those of us on this site who would vote Tory regardless of whether we were led by Ken Clarke or Liam Fox.
In terms of winning power for the party, all of us here (bar non-Tories browsing) are largely irrelevant.

Matt K

I watched the programme last night and came away with the feeling that Davis had the better night, not hugely, but was clearly the winner of the debate. However, I have just listened to the programme while working on the PC, and developed a different impression.

It was said that the Kennedy vs. Nixon debate in the 1960 presidential election was thought to have been won by Nixon by those listening to the radio, but Kennedy's more assured TV performance won him the debate among TV viewers.

On TV, Cameron's worried expressions and sometimes tetchy responses contrasted poorly against Davis's relaxed and confident body language. By only listening to the show the content and manner of what they said was the deciding factor, and on that evidence I thought the contest was much more closely matched.

Cameron certainly has to work on his body language and demeanour in debates, as he will suffer in similar environments (PMQs for example) unless he picks up his game. DC will have hopefully learned some salutary lessons on this last night, especially as common consensus has been that media performance was DC's strong point. On the key arguments (policy vs direction et al) both men stuck to their positions (for better or for worse) and argued well.

Whichever one wins (and one must assume it will be DC) the fact that they are willing to debate openly like this can only be a credit to them, and the party. Bring on the hustings...

Tom Ainsworth

"What was so pathetic about Cameron was that he could only repeat his lines from Blackpool"

I too initially thought this disappointing and a sign that he hadn't prepared any new material, but perhaps we should bear in mind that the majority of viewers (and Conservative party members) are probably not as politically geekish as many of the contributors to this site. They may have been hearing some of the Cameron soundbites (not all of which were out of the conference speech) for the first time.


Sorry Barry but any army needs to keep its soliders onside and with that it does matter what the party members and voters think in terms of who leads them.

Oberon Houston

I'm not sure who "Oberon Waugh" is, should be "Auberon Waugh" if it is the author.

On the issue of substance, I am more than happy to have detailed discussion on policy, however regarding the live TV debate, this is something lighter and more touchy-feely, therefore its not surprising that we concentrate on those aspects today.

I have contributed to detailed posts on issues like Taxation, Iraq, Education, Europe, Health etc. so I'm a bit huffy at the accusation that I'm a superficial airhead.

Off to watch my 'Lost' DVD now...


Very disappointing from Cameron who could have won it last night. It was about as good as Davis could have done, he was more relaxed, confident and for the first time looked like a leader.

Cameron should have shoeed him on the Europe policy which is terrible and the tax one which is just daft.


Just returned from a well-attended meeting in Winchester Guildhall this morning. A very smooth performance from DC. He answered a wide range of questions setting out his general view that the party must broaden its appeal by talking more about compassionate conservatism, environmental issues, and third world poverty.
In answer to a question about controlling immigration he said that he agreed with the policy put forward at the recent election, pointing out that he was instrumental in putting it together.
He paid tribute to Dan Hannan's Direct Democracy agenda (Dan was at the meeting), confirming that he wanted to introduce elected local police commissioners. He wanted to see the police take a more pro-active stance against anti-social behaviour, by closing down bars that encourage under-age drinking etc.

After the meeting I was able to ask him whether he would keep the present leadership election process. He said he was in favour of an electoral college, but when I pressed him on the composition of such a college, he said, understandably that he had not thought the matter through, and that the members would need to be involved in any proposals.

I felt that DC came over as someone who would listen. I now feel that either of them would make an excellent leader of the party, and could lead us to victory at the next election

Jack Stone

David Cameron needs to be the next leader because unlike his opponent he is able to attract people to the party who don`t normally vote Conservative.
I don`t think its a coinsidence that since it as been assuned he is going to win the gap in the opinion polls between the party and Labour as narrowed.
If we are to win next time we need a leader that appeals to those outside the core vote, who can get people voting for the party who haven`t voted for the party before or who have been voting for another party these last eight years.David Cameron is that leader.

Jack Stone

If Michael thinks that Davis was impressive I suggest that he gets an engineer to look at his t.v. because there must be something wrong with it!


Blimey Derek!Cameron must have been good to elicit such a positive post from you.I thought you were a dyed in the wool fan of Davis.
I wonder if he can have the same effect on wavering Labour and Lib Dem voters.


The disturbing thing was DC's weak performance.

Not just on points of style:
-He had gained weight and it doesn't look good on him
-He was nervous
-Red in the neck
-A little abrasive and arrogant/insecure at times

But more importantly in WHAT he said, which was very little.

DC needs to say, in front of an audience like this: yes I am a conservative and I share much of DD's respect for the rule of law, ordered liberty, sovereignty and limited government.

However, we conservatives, on that platform have LOST. And LOST. And LOST again. With differing leaders, different styles, but similar platforms. We need to win again, and to win we need to change, and that's what I, DC, am going to do and here is how I'm going to do it. The last part was simply not there.

He cannot keep repeating for the next 4 years that he wants us to change and that he believes in hope and optimism.

Anyway, DC will still win of course and I am happy with that because I think DC has potential and DD has virtually none. DD is just another Hague or IDS with hair. Good guy but not a plausible prime minister. Definitely needs a big role on the front bench, now and when we win back the government.

It's good that DC is finally facing some adversity. Maybe it will lead to improve his game. This is desperately needed.

Helen Graham

I seem to remember a similar immediate post debate victory (of the kind DD seems to have been attributed after last night's showing) for Al Gorse in his first debate against GWB. However, several days later it started to unravel badly as the cold-light of day enabled people to really question the STRATEGIC merits of Gore's 'win'.

The Sunday papers are going to be a big test for DD: if questions start being asked about just how well his core-vote debate strategy is actually playing beyond the hall, he could find himself be in BIG trouble.

Mr Eugenides

I'm a Cameron supporter (although by no means fanatically)... last night, for me, was however a win for DD without any doubt, and arguably a comfortable one.

It's true that he got lobbed a couple of soft ones, and got the biggest applause simply for massaging the party's G-spot rather than impressing us with any new moves, but he could not reasonably have been expected to do any better.

I still hope and expect that DC will win the contest comfortably, and anecdotal evidence from non-Tories I've spoken to suggests that they were not as keen on Basher's performance as Conservative voters.

But this has, at the very least, raised some questions about how Cameron will perform when he's not got a bump to pat.

James Cleverly

We will look a bit foolish if we go to the country after eight years in opposition and say that we haven’t really had a chance to think of any policies yet. We can’t attack Brown’s tax hikes if we are not prepared to champion tax cuts. Cameron is right that tax cuts are not the whole picture but he then fails to expand upon what completes the picture.

He has all the hallmarks of a great leader if only he would be willing not to be popular, popularity should be a by-product of good policy not a policy in itself.

James Cleverly

We will look a bit foolish if we go to the country after eight years in opposition and say that we haven’t really had a chance to think of any policies yet. We can’t attack Brown’s tax hikes if we are not prepared to champion tax cuts. Cameron is right that tax cuts are not the whole picture but he then fails to expand upon what completes the picture.

He has all the hallmarks of a great leader if only he would be willing not to be popular, popularity should be a by-product of good policy not a policy in itself.


DD doesn't have a core vote strategy, so it is odd that this is an oft-repeated and unchallenged statement on this forum. He has said many times, and indeed said last night, that the test of any policy for him is how it affects the least well off in society. Indeed, the moments he was most passionate during last night's debate were those when he was speaking about these issues, of state failure and social justice.

If anything, Cameron is the core vote man - he wrote the last manifesto, he agrees (still!) with Howard's disastrous nudge-wink immigration policy, and he has nothing to say about widening the party's appeal, except that in electing him as leader, somehow that appeal will magically widen. Where he does have policies, they're populist managerial appeals to past headlines - phonics for literacy, keeping special schools open, putting a drug addict into every classroom. Where's the big idea? Where's the beef? I'd personally rather trust a man with a broad policy programme of public sector reform to deliver the electoral goods. We don't need someone to be the change, we need someone to implement the change. Vote DD.

Oberon Houston

I have talked to a lot of people that are not core voters. Many like Cameron. Not one, not one has said they will vote Tory next time if David Davis is elected leader.

try it, talk to ten voters that voted Labour or Lib Dem in May and give them DC or DD.

In the words of Malcolm Rifkind "The voters are never wrong".

John Coulson

I have been out all day so have just come in to see how the debate on here develop. What a surprise that certain people (I can't mention who can I Ed!) have resorted to quoting people who we have no idea of substantiating whether they exsist and trying to spin what was a poor performance from DC into the fault of again unsubstantiated planted questions. If I wrote an academic essay that contained unreferneced material I would get slated by the academic reading it. It is obviously a trademark of certain Northern universities that one does not need to acknowledge where one got ideas or quotes. How ridiculous.

Oberon Houston

Whats your point John? oh ha ha ha.

ok, not how the use of the word 'spin' is increacing amongst the DD supporters. Deluded.

John Coulson

I apologise for the grammar, spelling and general inaccuracies there but I was in a rage.

Daniel Vince-Archer

"But this has, at the very least, raised some questions about how Cameron will perform when he's not got a bump to pat."

The alarm bells were already ringing. Don't forget how he's been monstered by that renowned {sic?} formidable political operator Ruth Kelly over the Commons despatch box. If, as seems likely, Cameron becomes leader having come off second best in head-to-head confrontations with Ruth Kelly and David Davis, surely Gordon Brown will make mincemeat out of him?

James Hellyer

"ok, not how the use of the word 'spin' is increacing amongst the DD supporters"

In direct proportion to the incidences of spinning from the Cameron Camp on this blog!

Oberon Houston

Look, for those that have been flinging the ‘Blair’ and ‘Spin’ accusations about. Davis said that he would cut taxes and save the average family £1,200 in a year if he was Prime Minister. That’s an irresponsible promise, designed to make tomorrows headlines, just like Labour.

David Davis calls a press conference and announces that he wants to withdraw from Europe, this statement is even more absurd. Its open ended and designed for tomorrows headlines. Just like Blair.

So don’t claim that Cameron is another Blair because he empathises with people, and don’t criticise him because he has not followed David Davis into making irresponsible headline grabbing policy announcements and fielded, frankly, outrageous accusations that David Cameron is aping Blair. That is spinning at its worst.

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