I think I have now read every word David Cameron has ever spoken (well, every word he has spoken which has been recorded). Heir to Blair he ain’t. Go back and read TB speeches way back when, and then the last speeches he made as PM, and it is possible to discern the same big themes and priorities.
Cameron is a strategic jack in the box. I have lost count of the number of issues that he has described as his biggest priority. I had totally forgotten that little phase he had when it was all about the environment.
Most people tuning in to the first televised leaders’ debate tonight will already feel they know GB. Some will have good impressions, some bad, but nobody will be unaware of who and what he is.
Yet after four years as leader of the Tories, DC still cuts an unsure figure in many ways. He is very good at presentation, but he has presented many different facets without a coherent whole coming through. He hoped his Big Society theme would do it, but if the polling I have seen is anything to go by, far from energising the public, it seems to have alarmed them, particularly this idea that in addition to doing jobs and raising children, people are also expected to run public services.
Anyway, not long to kick-off now. It seems so long ago that we almost agreed to these debates, in 1997, and now here they are finally upon us. I have not been over to the media centre here in Manchester but those who have tell me the circus is in full swing. I really hope we get the viewing figures, and the debate, to match.
If people really don’t want to watch, they can tune in to BBC1. DIY SOS is on, which I assume is a Tory party political broadcast about the Big Society.
And while we’re on the subject of politics and broadcasts, may I commend for your viewing something that normally has everyone reaching for the off button on the remote – tomorrow’s Labour election broadcast fronted by Eddie Izzard. It is brilliant. Honest. Trust me, I’m a doctor. It is on BBC2 at 17.55, BBC1 at 18.55 and ITV at 18.25.
** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour http://www.alastaircampbell.org/bookshop.php.