James Forsyth

An unhealthy dependence

An unhealthy dependence
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Few columnists are read more carefully in Conservative circles than Danny Finkelstein. He is extremely well connected in the Cameron circle and enjoys something of a mind-meld with George Osborne. Danny’s column today is the argument for sticking to the modernising message. It does, though, contain one significant criticism of the party, its dependence on David Cameron.  

This Cameron dependence has been a problem for a while. But the leadership itself must take most of the blame for this. They have used Cameron for almost every announcement that they view as important and that has sent a message to the media that if it doesn’t come from Cameron the party doesn’t view it as important.

There has been no systematic effort to build up the profile of the more impressive members of the shadow Cabinet. The leadership have even programmed Cameron against major policy announcements from shadow Cabinet members, drowning them out.

Danny is right that the electorate needs to see that the party has changed not just the leader. But the leadership need to give shadow Cabinet members the space they need to get this message across.