Messages from a Right Wing UK Election Bunker #6 – In Final Debate Cameron goes Palin instead of Frum
Yesterday evening the third and final party leaders TV debate took place at Birmingham University with one week now remaining before voting on Thursday May 6th.
Most pundits seem to agree that David Cameron came out the winner and the post debate polls appear to show the public reaching a similar conclusion. Certainly that is the message being carried by most of the media – and it’s good for Cameron because a lot of people either didn’t watch the debate or dipped in and out of it and will therefore rely on the media’s reporting to mould their own impressions.
|WHO WON THE THIRD DEBATE?|
Why did Cameron do better this time? Partly because his opponents didn’t sparkle. Clegg was still a pretty boy but his “the other two parties” riff, so effective in the first debate, lost its novelty value, he did a fair bit of reading from prepared notes and, more significantly, on Immigration and Europe he was playing from Liberal Democrat positions that simply do not resonate with the view on the streets.
Brown just looked like a dead man walking, pale and tired and reduced to attacking the records of previous Tory governments (after thirteen years of Labour rule not even the most dim witted of cats would drink from this ancient bowl of milk) and endlessly regurgitating swathes of statistics in the manner of some minor Soviet official lauding the achievements of an obscure ball bearing factory beneath the brooding portrait of Stalin during the second five Year Plan.
Cameron, however, scored because, as Guido Fawkes pointed out, for this debate, instead of Frum he went Palin.
There were no mentions of worthy ‘Big Society’ concepts, no vacuous ‘vote blue, go green’ slogans. Time worn, winning Tory messages were pitched; tougher immigration rules, tackling welfare dependency, lower business taxes, sound money and smaller government. Result? Clear win for the Tory leader.
In the first two debates Cameron had played safe, appearing to adopt a David Frum strategy of avoiding treading on the sensitive toes of the cultural “elite”. But this time he went ‘Cuda, hitting on those hot button issues that resonate with the man and woman in the street but embarrass those who fancy themselves as intellectually superior.
Like Palin in America he didn’t pitch for the approval of the chattering classes in London NW1 – the BBC panjandrums, the Guardianistas and all the well heeled high earners who care so much for the downtrodden but holiday in their Tuscan villas and send their offspring to expensive fee paying schools. His message was aimed at those ordinary mortals whose lives and aspirations have suffered by the imposition of policies designed mainly to allow the guests at North London dinner parties to bask in the glow of their own self righteousness – and it worked.
Will this translate into enough votes next Thursday to ensure a working overall majority for the Tories? That’s the difficult question because the dice have not yet finished rolling and nothing should be taken for granted. But, after this performance, Cameron and his party would appear to be in a better position as they enter the final strait than they were a fortnight ago after that initial eruption of Cleggmania.