Conservative Party leader David Cameron was everywhere at one point, wasn’t he? The day after New Year, when I was still nursing the mother of all hangovers and a magnificently bruised foot (I mean four shades of purple at least), up he popped in Oxfordshire to launch the Tory campaign for the general election. Bright and breezy and raring to go, he said “we are starting our campaign to win the general election today, and we’ll be spelling out exactly what that will mean every day from now until polling day“. A new policy announcement or press briefing every day for potentially 153 days. How exciting? Rosa Prince was apparently close to fainting and Michael White was seen to do a little dance*.
In fairness, Dave was as good as his word. He launched a billboard marketing campaign across the UK with his face 12 feet high on a lot of main roads with
some platitudes , er, well-tested soundbites, er, a policy statement next to it. And he hosted a couple of press conferences to bring the lobby up-to-date with all the Conservative plans, policies and politicking. All good stuff. The media couldn’t get enough of it all. Cameron was the face of the Tory party and a lot of people knew that was good strategy, to hide the shifty sods in his shadow cabinet. Ok, so the posters backfired. Some things can’t be predicted. I mean who would’ve guessed that a poster with a politician’s face on and a load of blank white space would’ve attracted graffitti artists? Seriously, who? But Cameron is still the most saleable thing about the Tory Party, especially when they’re wanting to trick show the public they’ve changed. So David still got sent round the TV studios to do the politics shows. Lots of times. Including last weekend, when he buggers up right royally performs a massive u-turn on economics policy……
Then this week, there was a big relaunch of the Conservative economics policy with several shadow cabinet members and a handful of city CEOs, fronted by George Osborne. With absolutely no sign of David Cameron. Then there came Chris Grayling trumpeting Tory crime policy. Again, Dave not involved at all (though he’s probably grateful considering the outcome). Gordon Brown has announced his Damascene conversion to AV in what could appear to some to be motivated by partisan electioneering, and not a peep from Cameron about it. The only time we’ve heard from him, except his Parliamentary obligations, is in a one-on-one interview with the key talking point that a Tory government won’t be introducing any more gay rights.
It’s a big change to go from the face of the campaign to almost invisible. Especially when you’ve only got the Keystone Cops as back up. So where’s
* Michael White didn’t really dance and Rosa Prince merely shrugged, but you get the point.