thecredo

Telegraph’s friendly fire fuels Clegg campaign

In David Cameron, editorial, ge2010, Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg, the conservatives, The Great Debate on April 23, 2010 at 09:55

With great thanks to The Daily Telegraph, Nick Clegg got just the boost in exposure he needed to come very close to clinching the second of the leadership debates in Bristol, last night.

We were left puzzled over why the Telegraph decided to run with the story they did, yesterday, mainly because there really isn’t much of a story there at all.  It was intended to – evidently – depict Clegg as just another one of the boys.  It back-fired though into a massive crash as Clegg looked – once again – more the victim and outsider to traditional ‘jobs-for-the-boys’  politics, surging ahead in many polls following the debate.

The Lib-Dems played the scandal perfectly, not giving it the purchase that was intended by simply brushing it off as nonsense and by not reacting in any substantive way at all, really.  It was a master stroke by the Clegg handlers and an inspired bit of public relations.

What it will mean for the Tories is yet to be seen, with Cameron coming across much stronger last night – though still falling short of the target of ‘knock-out punches’ in the Sky debate.

Dave does seem to be loosening up a bit, but the Tories need to concentrate on letting him be himself as the election looms ever closer.  PR is about taking calculated risks, and so far the Tories seem – with a few exceptions – reluctant to do this, opting instead to stay in the safe, calmer waters of generalization and vagueness.

All is not lost, though, as Cameron has proven himself more than capable of serious political discourse in the past.

We think he needs to 1) stop assuming the electorate to be incapable of grasping complex political concepts, 2) open up all the stops on the console of the Cameron organ – let fly, be passionate, take the risks, 3) hammer away at the Lib-Dems and Labour – concentrate on policy, not personality.  The electorate is much more intelligent and informed than – we think – any of the leaders appear to believe.

Bring it home, Dave.  We know you can do it.  The question is, do you?

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