Wednesday, October 05, 2005

More than Soundbites

David Cameron is obviously an intelligent guy. By the sounds of it, he's a personable guy too. Certainly he seems to know all about carving out an image for himself that gets himself away from the supposedly negative connotations of his past. Yet whenever I see him speak, I can't help but think that image is all that he knows.

Today's speech to the conference was a classic case in point. The soundbites were great, even if at times the applause he was given seemed more because he'd left a pause, rather than spontaneous agreement with what he had said. However, they seem utterly devoid of policies.

It is a well-known fact the Tories need to modernise their image. All five leadership candidates agree on that. Indeed, it's hardly something radical at all. Still less is it pretty much the sole plank around which a leadership bid can be based. Politics isn't just about presentation. There needs to be something there to present. And however much the Tories try and pretend otherwise, the one home truth they have to face up to is that the policies they used at the last election didn't work.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - they were presented brilliantly. Anyone following the campaign couldn't help but know what the Tories stood for in 2005. And they were rejected - indeed, they failed to garner much more support than the sleaze-ridden Major government did in 1997. That's the problem that's at the heart of the Tory slump. And electing Cameron to the leadership won't help.