James Forsyth

Cameron kicks off his campaign

Cameron kicks off his campaign
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David Cameron held, what he called, his ‘first election rally’ this evening. In a trendy venue in Shoreditch—lots of exposed brick and video screens, Cameron—tieless and noteless—debuted his stump speech. It is a speech that strikes the right balance between attacking Labour’s record and promoting the Conservatives’ own policies.

The economic message still needs to be related more to peoples’ lives, though. It is too much at the national level at the moment. However, I have never heard Cameron talk as well or as passionately about his education policy as he did today. He gave a real sense of what the Tory plans to let parents, teachers and other group set up independent state schools would actually mean.

Tonight was another reminder of how much more impressive a speaker Cameron is when he does haven’t a script or a lectern. He just sounds much more authentic and passionate when he is speaking without notes. Encouragingly, he said that this is what he is going to do throughout the campaign.

An ICM poll for the Guardian tonight has the Tories nine points ahead and tonight’s event was a reminder of what an asset Cameron will be for the Tories when contrasted with Brown, as he will be throughout the campaign. There are also signs that the Tories are beginning to get to grips with the problems that have bedevilled their campaign since the turn of the year. All in all, there are grounds for cautious optimism that we are about to see an upturn in the Tories’ fortunes.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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