The Spectator

More poll woe for the Tories

More poll woe for the Tories
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Today’s Telegraph poll is disastrous for Cameron. That the Tories are 9 points behind Labour is not even the worst news in it for him; what should worry him most is how his personal ratings have plummeted. In February, 43% of the electorate thought he was proving a good leader and 27% that he wasn’t with 30% undecided. Those numbers have now been reversed. Today, 44% think he is not a good leader compared to the 27% who view his leadership positively (29% remain undecided).

How to pull out of this nosedive is now priority number one for the Tories. Toby Helm reports this morning on a love bombing of the press by Cameron strategists and writes that: “Those close to him say the task now is to promote Mr Cameron as just as serious as Mr Brown because seriousness is in fashion.” But this strikes me as poor tactics: Cameron will never out dour Brown.

What he really needs to do is show the public that he is more than a PR man. He needs to take a position on an issue and say “here I stand, I can do no other.”

My pick would be Darfur. If Cameron wants to show that the trip to Rwanda was more than just a photo opportunity, he should give a speech on ending genocide in Darfur that is substantive—he shouldn’t bang on about UN resolutions and sanctions that will never happen but set out how he would actually stop it. As Joe Biden, the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said this week, “Those kids will be dead by the time the diplomacy is over.”

If Cameron won’t do this, those who claim that the Tories adoption of Project Umubano was just gap year politics will have been proved right.