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« DD: I am strong enough to withstand Labour's attacks | Main | DC isn't the heir to Blair... DC is the heir to AC? »



A very clear account. There seems to be a consistent pattern emerging from all the hustings reports. It is going to be very difficult to get something very original from the two candidates. The problem is that they seem to be run on a rather narrow format. Perhaps this is done so that each area has the same experience, but it leads to a very repetitive set of meetings. A little more variation on the theme might inject more excitement.

It is much more interesting, for example, if the questioner can ask a follow-up question, to challenge a weak or vague answer. I believe we may find the Paxman interview tomorrow, or the Jonathan Dimbleby head to head on Sunday will be a stiffer test for them

Simon Dodsworth

Great report. All reports have had real value in different ways, so I thank the contributors to date for their input.

What is becoming increasingly interesting is the perceived alignment of the candidates as they progress through this stage - the two-horse race to the winning line. Should we draw an analogy with two thoroughbreds running neck and neck along the inside rail at York during the May meeting? I fear not.

Any why? Because it is not widely engaging the party to the crescendo that may have otherwise been anticipated from just two/three days ago. In fact, quite the opposite from many I have spoken to since the Hustings commenced.

What can we put this down to? Is it a 'David Cameron is home and dry, so it doesn't matter?', from a rather deflated David Davis, or 'Don't say too much - it's served me well so far, so why be held to account later for a rash promise I made in Bolton?', from a rather relieved David Cameron.... or maybe a combination of both?

……Or do they both lack the panache that was warmly anticipated by the wider ‘rank and file’ following the excellent, but isolated, speeches earlier in the campaign?

Moving forward and to more positive ground, engaging with anyone under 20 should be the overriding aim over the approaching week – this is the new generation of voters at the next General Election.... few will have previously voted, even if eligible. If the Conservative Party has the attention of this demographic segment, we will have gone a long way to reaching out to the 20 - 30 year olds too.

So far, this leadership contest has made the party feel good. Let’s not deflate the party bubble, just is it starts to inflate again.

henry curteis

hustings offer more in potential loss if a candidate stumbles than gain due to lack of TV coverage. so they play it safe.

James M

Good summary,

I was there and really cannot disagree with how Adrian has summed up.

I felt a distinct lack of energy tonight from candidate or audience. I feel for those at the last hustings, it is going to be subdued!

How anyone has ever judged these events with a winner, is beyond me. It is not really a debate and the issues and questions were not testing.

It was positive for the party that we had two good candidates - but the husting as Adrian notes were unlikely to change minds.

James Hellyer

"How anyone has ever judged these events with a winner, is beyond me"

Through obvious partisanship. Phrases like "Cameron delivered his message of change, optimism and hope" (not in this one!) are subtle clues!

James M

Just to add - one thing that really interested me was when David Cameron said he felt the party had to be better at "customer relations" - a phrase he admitted he did not really like in this case. He said the party need to improve its communications with its members and improve the quality of information it sends out.

This reall appealed to me. I have often been annoyed and frustrated with how the party often does not even sent courtesy letters back to people who write to them. To me it is polite to do this and if either David sorts this out, it will be welcomed by this member.

James M

Well James I am glad to be different!

Neutrality - or at least its veener, is my middle name!

Daniel Vince-Archer

"Through obvious partisanship. Phrases like "Cameron delivered his message of change, optimism and hope" (not in this one!) are subtle clues!"

I think we lucked out with this one in terms of balance. IIRC, John Coulson's pal Iain Lindley (a fully paid-up member of the axis) was going to be reporting on this hustings.

Cllr Graham Smith

Assuming you're referring to my earlier report Mr Hellyer, you might get the quote right:

"Casting aside his notes, he stepped out from behind the rostrum to set out his message of hope, optimism and progress, earning a much-deserved standing ovation from sections of the audience."

James Hellyer

"David Cameron arrived to be greeted by a chorus of angels..."

Yes, that would heve been good.

James Hellyer

"Assuming you're referring to my earlier report Mr Hellyer, you might get the quote right"

Yes, because that non-partisan excerpt so undermines my point.

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